In 1927 the Norwegian ambassador to Paris, Fritz Wedel Jarlsberg took the first official initiative to arouse interest from the public and the Norwegian government to construct a Maison de Norvège.
The project began to materialise in the thirties when the main Norwegian industry at the time, Norsk Hydro, joined the project. After the war, in 1947, under the aegis of the Norwegian ambassador, a Franco-Norwegian committee was established with the goal of collecting all of the necessary funding.
On the 13th of June 1951, Princess Ragnhild of Norway laid the building’s first stone and it was inaugurated just shy of three years later on the 30th of March 1954 in the presence of the President of the French Republic, René Coty. Rather than the 50 original rooms planned by the Norwegians, 102 rooms were eventually constructed in accordance with the wishes of the Université de Paris and thanks to supplementary French donations. The Maison de Norvège was inaugurated in 1954.
The Maison de Norvège is managed by the Fondation nationale Cité internationale universitaire de Paris.
The work of the Norwegian architect Reidar Winge Lund, the building is representative of Norwegian modernism with clean lines, pure and rational shapes. The Nordic influence can be seen in the use of red bricks in the façade which were imported from Norway and light wood in the interior spaces. To preserve the Nordic spirit, particular attention was paid to the communal spaces. The house has 102 rooms.
The building has been restored several times since 1954. It was the object of an important restoration in 2010-2011. The aim was to improve the comfort of the rooms and communal spaces with respect to safety, long-lasting development and accessibility. Natural materials were used for the interiors. The installation of 80 m2 solar panels and reinforced insulation reduced energy consumption by 45%. Some of the original wooden furniture that was designed by the Norwegian designer Anne Lise Aas has been restored. In 2016 the sanitary facilities were also renovated thanks to a donation from the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.
Jon Elster, born in 1940 in Oslo is a Norwegian philosopher and sociologist. In 2005 he was elected to the Collège de France.
Per Spook, born in 1939 in Oslo, is a Norwegian fashion designer. He directed his fashion house in Paris between 1977 and 1995. He received the Dé d’or prize in 1979 and 1993.