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The ambiguous memory of Nordic Protestantism (MEMORY) (completed)

MEMORY will study the topography of Nordic Protestantism with emphasis on the cultural role of specific places playing an ambiguous role for the secular/sacred divide.

Nidaros Cathedral 1762. National Library

About the project

MEMORY will apply a spatial perspective for analysing and interpreting the specific character of Nordic Protestant tradition. The concentration on three Nordic countries - Denmark, Sweden, and Norway - will supply a sufficient basis for an overall typological description of the case of Nordic Protestantism.

MEMORY will also give a contribution to the understanding of the specific profile of Nordic secularity. In this region of Europe, the extension of the secular sphere through deconstruction of Catholic sanctity prepared the ground for a new construction of secularity.

Compared to other European Protestant cultures, the secular sites in Scandinavia are not defined in sharp contrast to religious sanctity. Rather, Nordic secularity tends to be more open to including aspects of sanctity in itself. The ambition of this project is to contribute with new answers to a newly started discussion on this topic.


Theories from Cultural studies on lieux de mémoire (Erinnerungsorte) will serve as a point of departure for analysing:

  1. the reformation of religious topography in the 16th and 17th centuries, and
  2. elite and popular uses of Medieval and Reformation holy places especially in the 19th and 20th centuries within a Nordic context.


The Project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council (FRIPRO) for the period 2014-2018.

Tags: Protestantism, Nordic, Memory, Cultural History, Topography
Published Nov. 14, 2014 2:43 PM - Last modified Sep. 7, 2022 12:47 PM