Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson: Yes, We Love This Land

Ranking along with author Henrik Ibsen, 1903 Nobel Prize winner for literature Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832-1910) has left part of his world behind at this old farmstead at Aulestad, which the public can now visit in Gausdal. The author is a towering figure in the history of Norway, having achieved fame as a poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, editor, public speaker, and theater director.

His immortality was ensured when his poem "Ja, vi elsker dette landet" ("Yes, We Love This Land") was selected as the Norwegian national anthem.

The son of a pastor, Bjørnson grew up in a farming community, later the setting for several of his novels. From 1857 to 1859, he became Ibsen's successor as artistic director of the Bergen Theatre, where he married the actress Karoline Reimers in 1858.

Later, from 1866 to 1871, he was director of the Christiania Theatre in Oslo. While in self-imposed exile between 1860 and 1863, he wrote some of his most enduring works. Some of his best-remembered works today are The Heritage of the Kurts, written in 1884, and In God's Way, written in 1889.

Later in life, he became an ardent socialist, working for peace and international understanding. Although he enjoyed worldwide fame in his life and his plays helped to bring "social realism" to Europe, his international reputation today pales when compared to his sometimes friend and always rival, Ibsen.

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