By sailing ship across the Atlantic
Most emigrants who traveled after 1836 crossed the Atlantic on Norwegian sailing ships. Kristiania (Oslo), Bergen and Stavanger became the most important emigrant ports. Some went via Gothenburg in Sweden, while others chose Le Havre in France. From the 1840s, Norwegian shipping companies participated in the emigration trade. After the repeal of the English navigation laws in 1849, Norwegian ships could transport emigrants to Quebec in Canada and return to England by timber. In this way, Quebec became the most important immigrant port for Norwegian emigrants. The journey across the sea was long and arduous, up to two months or more, depending on the weather and wind. The sanitary conditions on board were often poor, many became ill and some died during the crossing.

The steamships take over The transition from sail to steam revolutionized emigration. The ships got bigger, and the trip across the sea became much faster and more regular. Often food was included in the ticket price. It was the steamships that made the mass emigration possible. From 1865 to 1915, almost 677,000 Norwegians emigrated.

The emigration took place in three big waves: 1866-1873, 1879-1893 and 1900-1914. From 1879 to 1883, an average of 21,000 emigrated each year. There were almost as many people living in Trondheim, the country’s third largest city in 1875.

European emigrant
routes Steamship shipping and the development of the railways on the continent resulted in mass emigration from Europe. Many of the emigrants came from Central Europe, far from the sea. Many therefore had a long journey ahead of them before they could board the emigrant ship. The development of the railway in the 1830s made the journey easier, and at the turn of the century an efficient railway network ensured that emigrants could easily reach the largest port cities in Europe: Bremen, Bremerhaven and Hamburg in Germany, Liverpool and Naples.