The following people are amongst the Norwegians that have made an impact in the world and represent Norwegian values.
The Vikings, Leif Erikson and the discovery of America (950-1000 add)
The Vikings are known for their reputation as plunderers and warriors, but they were also businessmen and skilled sailors. Eirik the Red is one of the big Viking heroes. After his father was exiled from Norway, his family moved to the Norwegian Viking colony at Iceland. Later Eirik was exiled from Island, and sailed west and become the first permanent settler on Greenland.
Eirk’s son, Leif Erikson, became the first European to set foot in America when he sailed to Newfoundland. Archeologists have found the remains of the Viking settlement in Canada. However the colonies in America did not survive. We are not sure why there was no further Viking settlements in America, but it is reasonable to think that the distance between Norway, Island, Greenland and America was too large.
More info about the Norwegian Viking era can be found on the Viking Ship Museum’s website.
Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930): Archetypical Norwegian
Most famous for his Greenland expedition in the 1890’s where he took a ship into the Arctic, where he spent 3 years on the ship frozen in the ice arctic ice and tried to reach the North Pole on skies. When he returned to Norway he was received as a celebrity. Fridtjof Nansen also led the ski expedition that was the first documented crossing of Greenland.
In addition to being a scientist, researcher and explorer, Fridtjof Nansen was also a statesman, a diplomat and a humanitarian that exemplified the Norwegian spirit in almost everything he did. He also received the Nobel Peace prize in 1922 for his great international work with refugees after WWI.
Roald Amundsen (1872-1928): Arctic Hero
2011 was the year of Nansen, and Amundsen. For more info follow this link: NansenAmundsen
You can learn more about the Norwegian Arctic heroes at the Fram Museum in Oslo which is dedicated to the Norwegian Arctic heroes.
Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002): Island Adventurer
The work and exploring of Thor Heyerdahl is world famous. One of his greatest achievements was sailing from Peru to the Polynesian Islands in a handmade balsa wood raft, to prove his theory that the islands could have been populated from the Americas, rather than Asia as was commonly believed.
Thor Heyerdahl had a long career of adventure, study and advocating for unity among nations.
The Kon Tiki Museum in Oslo is dedicated to Thor Heyerdahl’s expiditions.
Nils Henrik Abel (1802-1829): Mathematical Genius
Though he lived to be only 26 years old, Nils Henrik Abel left a significant mark on the world of mathematics and on Norwegian culture. Already at the age of 16 he was creating complicated proofs, and his brilliant mind has given Norway another true hero.
His legacy is long lasting as Abelian functions are now common practice in mathematics. Parallel with the Nobels Peace Price the Abel price is rewarded in Oslo for outstanding mathematical achievements.
You can find more information about Nils Henrik Abel and the Abel Prize at Abelprisen.no