Henrik Arnold Wergeland (1808 – 1845) was a romantic poet and an important historian. He worked for the independence of all nations, was an advocate for democracy, and an eager defender of freedom of faith and freedom of expression.
Wergeland realized that the young Norwegian nation was in need of active citizens in order for development to take place, and true power was to be found in knowledge. He thus made his home library available to everyone, working to make people proud of their own language and culture. Wergeland also wrote several speeches, poems and songs in connection with the Norwegian Constitution Day (the national day). Among other things he wrote the first national anthem for children.
Few other Norwegians have contributed so much to the amendment of the Norwegian constitution with respect to opening the country’s borders to Jews, and throughout his whole life he held an uncompromising focus on compassion and tolerance.