Norwegian Government Ministries 1940 - 1945

Under legal rule outside Oslo

By provisional decree of 22 April 1940, the Norwegian merchant fleet was requisitioned and put under state administration by the Ministry of Provisioning. On 18 May 1940 the director of shipping was granted authority to manage the merchant fleet as trustee.

By royal decree of 8 May 1940, it was decided that all matters relating to the Church of Norway clergy, until then part of the portfolio of the Ministry of Church and Education, should until further notice be handled via the office of the Bishop of Hålogaland, in Tromsø.

By royal decree of the same day, a separate postal board and a separate telegraph board were established for North Norway. Also, a separate director of fisheries and a separate director of shipping were appointed.

On 18 May 1940 a director of agriculture and a director of veterinary services were appointed for North Norway.

By provisional decree of 31 May 1940, a separate administration for waterfalls and electricity was established for North Norway.

By royal decree of 7 June 1940, it was decided that Bank of Norway’s central office until further notice should be located in Great Britain.

Norwegian government system in London
When the King and the Government on 7 June 1940 had to leave the country and settle in Great Britain, they were accompanied by only a small staff of civil servants. Thus, the Government had to start more or less from scratch when organising its offices in London. Administrative branches directly linked to the war, had priority. Gradually, liberation and post-war plans became more dominant. In London the Government organised a full-fledged administrative system intended to easily link up with the remaining system in Oslo after the war.

By royal decree of 28 November 1941, it was decided that matters under the Directorate of Pharmaceutics should be presented directly to the minister of social affairs.

By royal decree of 3 July 1942, a separate Norwegian telegraph board was established in Great Britain.

By royal decree of 18 September 1942, the Ministry of Provisioning was from 1 October that year split in a ministry of provisioning and reconstruction, and a new ministry of shipping. The Ministry of Shipping was to handle all matters concerning state shipping activities. The Ministry of Provisioning and Reconstruction should also plan the development of Norway’s industry and commerce after the war. The present Directorate and Council of Provisioning were abolished, their activities taken over by the ministry. The ministry had the department of trade transferred from the Ministry of Trade.

On 1 October 1942 the ministries were:

Office of the Prime Minister 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Church and Education 
Ministry of Justice and the Police 
Ministry of Finance and Customs 
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Social Affairs
Ministry of Public Labour
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of Trade, Shipping, Industry, Craft and Fisheries 
Ministry of Provisioning and Reconstruction
Ministry of Shipping
Secretariat to the Council of State


By royal decree of 10 November 1944, it was decided to establish a state information service in Norway during the liberation.

By royal decree of 4 May 1945, it was decided to establish an independent directorate of labour.

Shortly before the German capitulation in May 1945, the leadership of the Norwegian Home Front was granted authority to represent the Government as the country’s executive power, until a government delegation would be able to take over. In the years since 1940, the Home Front leadership had developed into a main instrument for organised resistance against German occupation. Home Front chairman was Mr. Paal Berg, president of the Supreme Court.

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