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scattering in the Norwegian mountains

Cremation in Norway – not what you would think


A Nordic send-off conjures up images of iconic Viking pyres, right? Wrong,  turns out they are not big fans of cremation

There is something of odd here, the percentage of Danes and Swedes opting for cremation is circa 70%+, nothing surprising there comparable with many secular progressive democracies, but Norway figures range from 36% (Wikipedia) to 41% (recent survey conducted in Norway), why? No idea, sorry, but I have to admit I was surprised. Apparently cremation is the norm in urban centres

As for those that chose to to be cremated and then wished to be scattered the majority want to be spread over the beautiful mountain landscapes after that the sea was the next most popular choice.

The survey results come from this article I found – the stats are presented in a fairly confusing way I have to say

One more thing it did reveal – something rather interesting about the law on scattering in Norway, if you want your cremation ashes scattered in the countryside you need to apply for a permit before you die. The next of kin can also apply for the right on behalf of the deceased, but he or she must have proof that it was what the deceased wanted.

The article reported that in 2013 – 0.9 per cent of those who died in Norway (354 people) had their ashes scattered, revealed the Norwegian Association of Churchyard Culture. Call me Sherlock but I sense not everyone who scatters get a permit…




5 thoughts on “Cremation in Norway – not what you would think

  1. Reply
    Sushma Pabari - 26th February 2023

    I live in UK but want to scatter my daughters ashes in Tromso. Is this possible

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 10th March 2023

      Dear Sushma

      I have had a look but I can’t find any translation that talks about the scattering law in Norway, I will have another look and if I find anything I will post it.



  2. Reply
    Kevin Burden - 1st April 2017

    According to the Encyclopedia of Cremation (Davies and Mates), there’s long been resistance to cremation in Norway – so much so that special societies have had to be established to promote the practice. Although cremation is now more widely accepted, society favours burial, for historical and practical reasons.

    The law in Norway ( mandates that every local council must provide burial places free of charge for residents. The same law says that cremation can be charged for. Crematoria are few and far between, so families in rural areas (which is after all, most of Norway) may have to travel a long way from home for a cremation service. Cremation must take place within 10 working days of death. Ashes must be kept in a sealed and marked urn, which must be kept by the crematorium or at the registered burial site. Ashes may be scattered on open land or at sea, but permission must be granted by the fylkesmannen (county governor’s office), which will require proof that this is what the deceased wanted. Brief information in English is available at . As you noted, it does seem as if wild scattering of ashes is quite rare in Norway, with less than 1% of disposals taking this form.

    1. Reply
      Richard - 11th April 2017

      Dear Kevin – thank you so much that is really informative and helpful! We really appreciate the effort you have gone to inform us and others.

    2. Reply
      Helene - 26th October 2019

      Dear Kevin
      Thank you very much for looking into this. I am thinking of relocating to Norway (for work then possibly retirement) and as I want to be cremated with dispersal of ashes at sea, I’ve started looking for information as to whether this was feasible over there!

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