Aasmund Olavsson Vinje

Aasmund Olavsson Vinje bigraphy, stories - Norwegian writer

Aasmund Olavsson Vinje : biography

6 April 1818 – 30 July 1870

Aasmund Olavsson Vinje (6 April 1818 – 30 July 1870) was a famous Norwegian poet and journalist who is remembered for poetry, travel writing, and his pioneering use of Landsmål (now known as Nynorsk).


  • In 1918, a statue of Vinje was erected in Skien
  • In 1947, a bronze statue in full figure by Knut Skinnarland (1909–1993) was placed at the Vinjar community hall in Vinje, near Vinjestoga
  • In 1959, a memorial was raised to Vinje at Eidsbugarden where he had a private hut.
  • In 1968 for the 150th anniversary of Vinje’s birth the Posten Norge released a stamp with a portrait of Vinje
  • In 1968, a statue of Vinje by Dyre Vaa was erected in Sogn Student Village in Oslo
  • In 1984, Vinje was depicted on Norges Bank’s 50-krone

Other sources

  • Glienke, Bernhard (1999) Vinje in London (Frankfurt: Peter Lang in Metropolis und nordische Moderne) Norwegian
  • Vesaas, Olav (2001) A.O. Vinje. Ein tankens hærmann (Oslo: Cappelen) Norwegian
  • Langslet, Lars Roar; Jon H. Rydne (1993) Villmann, vismann og veiviser : en essaysamling om A. O. Vinje (Oslo, Cappelen) ISBN 82-02-14070-6 Norwegian
  • Glomnes, Eli; Øyvind T. Gulliksen; Olav Solberg (1992) At føle paa nationens puls : åtte artiklar om Aasmund O. Vinje (Oslo, Novus) ISBN 82-7099-196-1 Norwegian


Vinje was born into a poor but well-read family in Vinje, Telemark. He had a voracious appetite for learning and supported himself in part by teaching. He earned his university entrance exam after attending the same school as Henrik Ibsen, studied law, and became an attorney.


Vinje founded the periodical Dølen (The dales-man) in 1858, in which he published travel accounts, and editorial comments on art, language and politics that serve as records for the period in which he lived. Dølen ceased publication in 1870.

Vinje did much to articulate the difference between city and rural life in Norway and was among the sophisticated exponents of Norwegian romantic nationalism. Despite this, he was also known for his critical scepticism and double views (No: tvisyn) – that is, he advocated to embrace both pro and contra arguments to avoid confirmation bias. He was politically active to the extent that the government fired him from his work as an attorney for criticizing its foreign policy.

Among his writings, the Ferdaminni fraa Sumaren 1860 (A remembrance of a voyage in the summer 1860, not translated), rank in high esteem in Norwegian literature, describing a journey from Oslo to Trondheim in order to cover the coronation of King Charles in the Nidarosdomen cathedral for his periodical. It can be seen as a program for Vinje and the Dølen that the description deals more warm-hearted with his meetings with ordinary people along the journey, than with the royalties he encountered at the coronation.

In 1863 he wrote A Norseman’s View of Britain and the British, which was translated into Norwegian ten years later. Some of Vinje’s poetry is still very much alive in Norway, especially the poem Ved Rundarne (English: At Rondane), with its tune by Edvard Grieg.

Dying from stomach cancer, Vinje decided to spend his last days in the countryside. He died as a guest of his friend, minister (later bishop) Anton Christian Bang at Gran in Hadeland on 30 July 1870 and is buried nearby in the churchyard of the Sister churches at Granavollen (Søsterkirkene). In 1873, a large monument with a bust of Vinjes by Brynjulf Bergslien was erected at the site.

Today Aasmund Vinje paths exist in several Norwegian cities and towns including Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim, Moss, Fjellhamar, Corby, Hamar, Gjøvik, Rjukan, Skien and Mandal.