Following discussions in cabinet session, the Norwegian Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry agreed on a joint strategy for the pilgrimage development in Norway. Due to changes in governmental structures and the division between the State and the Church, the strategy for pilgrimage development is now entirely owned by the Ministry of Culture.
The strategy’s overall goals are routed in four columns or themes. These are: Environment, Commerce, Church and Culture.
Heritage sites, cultural communities, landscape and nature is to be shared, maintained and made available as resources for the development of local communities. Nature, culture and landscape experiences, combined with outdoor life, are important components of pilgrimage. The pilgrimage is an environment friendly and gentle form of travel, making pilgrimage development desirable from an environment viewpoint.
From a national health perspective, there is potential in pilgrimage development. The more people walk the pilgrim trails, the more people engage in physical activity.
The pilgrimage tradition can form the basis for a number of initiatives within the tourism industry. It could contribute to the development of commerce and sustainable tourism along the pilgrim trails. In order to market the Pilgrim’s Route as a national and international tourism asset, it needs to be a continuous route of sufficient quality. Norwegian tourism is dependent on the development of experiences which support the overall Norway brand.
Reinvigorating pilgrimages will contribute to the Christian faith and traditions remaining important sources of human identity and sense of belonging. The Church of Norway, in cooperation with the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations, share a common will to engage in the reinvigoration of the pilgrimage tradition. Pilgrimage heritage and ethos can also be a way to engage with other faiths and none.
A reinvigoration of pilgrimage traditions should contribute to strengthening activities of an artistic and cultural nature along the trails. The status as a European Cultural Route offers a potential advantage in terms of international networking, exchange of expertise and cross border dialogue. These are arenas that will be facilitated.