Commemorative coin issues in 2023 and 2024
2023 marks 250 years since the establishment of the Norwegian Mapping Authority, and 2024 marks the 750th anniversary of King Magnus VI’s national legal code. Norges Bank has decided to commemorate each of these anniversaries by issuing a special edition NOK 20-krone circulation coin.
Norwegian Mapping Authority
The Norwegian Mapping Authority is one of Norway’s oldest scientific agencies, with roots going back to 1773. In that year, Norges Grændsers Opmaaling (Norwegian Boundary Survey), also called Norges militære Opmaaling (Norwegian Military Survey), was founded. The agency functioned for a long time under the name Norges geografiske oppmåling (Norwegian Geographical Survey). When the Norwegian Hydrographic Office and the Norwegian Geographical Survey were merged in 1986 after 54 years as separate institutions, the agency became known as Statens kartverk (Norwegian Mapping Authority). The agency’s establishment in 1773 was the beginning of the systematic mapping of Norway. Today, the Norwegian Mapping Authority is the central authority for mapping, geographical data and public registration of real property.
With the commemorative coin issue, Norges Bank wishes to mark the establishment of the Norwegian Mapping Authority as a significant national event at a time when Norway was not yet an independent state. The agency’s maps helped to define the nation, they supported the defence of its territory and the establishment of infrastructure and communications and they were instrumental in putting the land, coast and sea to use in new and safer ways. In a broad sense, the Norwegian Mapping Authority has shaped who Norwegians are as a nation and continues to play a crucial role in today’s society.
King Magnus VI’s national legal code
Norway was one of the first kingdoms in Europe to adopt a nationwide legal code, compiled by King Magnus VI Håkonsson (Magnus the Law-Mender) between 1274 and 1276 and approved by all the regional assemblies. The national legal code replaced the old regional legal codes and ensured uniform rules pertaining to property disputes and punishments for crimes throughout the country. It was a secular legal code, which did not interfere in ecclesiastical matters. A large part of the legal code concerned itself with land, which was the most important property type in the Middle Ages. Separate sections were devoted to detailed rules for tenancy, inheritance and purchase and sale. There were also sections dealing with crimes and punishments and with national defence, conscription for the coastal fleet. Magnus the Law-Mender’s legal code was repealed in 1687, but some principles and formulations remain in current Norwegian legislation.
With the commemorative coin issue, Norges Bank wishes to mark King Magnus VI’s national legal code as one of the first legal codes in Europe to apply to an entire kingdom. Magnus the Law-Mender’s legal code affected the way people lived in Norway for more than four hundred years and therefore occupies a unique place in Norwegian history.
The exact time of the commemorative coin issues and the coin motifs will be determined at a later date.
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