In 2017, the Minister of Culture of Norway, invited key persons from various faiths, volunteer unions, tourism and industry for a pilgrimage from Oslo to Trondheim. The pilgrimage was a planned event consisting of walks, talks, concerts, food-experiences and meetings with local communities. Following the pilgrimage, the Minister of Culture announced the need for a revision of the Pilgrimage Development Strategy, with the intention to strengthen the politics on culture and cultural heritage with a high emphasis on sustainable development and mutual collaboration between various faiths, departments, organisations and industry.

The revision was expected to be launched early 2018, but was delayed. A revised version of the Pilgrimage Development Strategy was presented by public hearing early March 2019 with a deadline of response set for 1st of May2019.

As partner of Green Pilgrimage, we submitted a response with emphasis on the need for statistical tools to measure the amount of pilgrims, their impact on the environment, health benefits, financial benefits etc. Without proper statistics, we believe it will prove difficult to document the effect of a national investment, like the one we have in Norway. To document the pilgrim effect, so to speak, was discussed during the Green Pilgrimage Study Visit in Galicia, Spain. It is a topic we have carried with us through the project and discussed in further detail at the Study Visit in Norfolk, UK. To find a universal model for documenting pilgrim’s effect on the local economy and vice verca, the pilgrimage effect on the pilgrim, is difficult. The answer is probably to study various sets of available statistics. That is why we are stressing the need for statistical material to compare with.

We were pleased to see that the revised version had embraced UN´s Sustainable Development Goals, Tourism and the IY, as a foundation for future development of pilgrimage.

The proposed revision was ratified by the Governing Board of Nidaros Cathedral Restoration Workshop and formally handed over to the Ministry of Culture. It now remains to see if the Ministry of Culture will follow up on the plan with increased funding and focus.

For more information, you can download the Long Term Plan from over Green Pilgrimage Library.