Ola Nordmann

Ola Nordmann is a name for the typical Norwegian person, a personification of the whole population in general.[1]

Caricatures of Ola Nordmann are quite common. This is a drawing from 1905 by caricaturist Olaf Krohn illustrating how Ola Nordmann had to carry the burden of two referendums (The Norwegian union dissolution referendum, 1905 and Norwegian monarchy plebiscite, 1905, both of which resulted in some of the most lopsided returns of a legitimate election) in one year, while an amused Europe is observing from a distance.


Usage of the name Ola Nordmann

As a national personification

The media often uses "Ola Nordmann" to describe trends in the population.[2]

For example: A headline in a newspaper that reads Norwegians consume less milk could be just as well read Ola Nordmann drinks less milk.

Caricatures of Ola Nordmann as a national personification of Norway usually depict him as a blond-haired man dressed in bunad-like traditional folk clothing and wearing a woollen red top cap - the traditional headwear of a Norwegian gnome or nisse. This headwear were also worn by the traditional Norwegian farmer, mostly in the old norwegian farm culture. In the romantic national period, the farmer often came to represent the Norwegian people as a whole, hence the representation.

As a collective pseudonym

Ola Nordmann is also used as a default name in examples used to guide people in how to fill in forms etc.(Similar to John Doe or John Q. Public).


Ola is a common male first name in Norway (derived from Olav/Olaf), and Nordmann is a demonym for a Norwegian, i.e. "Ola Norwegian".

Kari Nordmann

The female equivalent or variant is personified as Kari Nordmann, "Kari and Ola Nordmann" is often used together to describe the archetypical Norwegian family or household.

See also


  1. ^ Definition of Ola Nordmann from Nynorskordboka - Det Norske Samlaget - ISBN 82-521-5180-9
  2. ^ Forbruker.no May 2 2006 - Ola Nordmann has become a speculator - Article in Norwegian detailing how the number of private citizens trading stocks on Oslo Børs has skyrocketed in the last 12 months. - Referenced as an example of the media's use of Ola Nordmann as a national personification.