The front page, 2 January 1879
Type Daily newspaper
Format Compact
Owner(s) Schibsted (99.99%)
Stiftelsen Tinius (0,01%)[1]
Editor Espen Egil Hansen
Founded 14 May 1860 (1860-05-14)
Political alignment Liberal conservative
Language Norwegian
Headquarters Oslo, Norway
ISSN 0804-3116

Aftenposten (Norwegian for "The Evening Post") is Norway's largest printed newspaper by circulation. It is based in Oslo. It had a circulation of 211,769 in 2015. It converted from broadsheet to compact format in March 2005.[2][3] Aftenposten's online edition is at

Aftenposten is a private company wholly owned by the public company Schibsted ASA.[4] At least 30% of Schibsted is owned by English and American investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Northern Trust.[5] The paper has around 740 employees. Espen Egil Hansen is editor-in-chief as of 2016.

History and profile

Aftenposten was founded by Christian Schibsted on 14 May 1860[6] under the name Christiania Adresseblad. The following year, it was renamed Aftenposten. Since 1885, the paper has printed two daily editions. A Sunday edition was published until 1919, and was reintroduced in 1990. The Friday-morning edition carries the A-magasinet supplement, featuring articles on science, politics, and the arts. In 1886, Aftenposten bought a rotary press, being the first Norwegian newspaper in this regard.[7]

Historically, Aftenposten labelled itself as "independent, conservative",[6] most closely aligning their editorial platform with the Norwegian Conservative Party. This manifested itself in blunt anticommunism during the interwar era. During World War II, Aftenposten, due to its large circulation, was put under the directives of the German occupational authorities, and a Nazi editorial management was imposed.

Aftenposten is based in Oslo.[6][8] In the late 1980s, Egil Sundar served as the editor-in-chief and attempted to transform the paper into a nationally distributed newspaper.[9] However, he was forced to resign from his post due to his attempt.[9]


In addition to the morning edition, Aftenposten publishes a separate evening edition called Aften (previously Aftenposten Aften). This edition was published on weekdays and Saturdays until the Sunday morning edition was reintroduced in 1990. The evening edition is only circulated in the central eastern part of Norway, i.e. Oslo and Akershus counties. Thus, it focuses on news related to this area, in contrast with the morning edition, which focuses on national and international news. The evening edition was converted to tabloid format in 1997. From April 2006, the Thursday edition of Aften also includes a special edition with news specific to a part of Oslo or Akershus, called Lokal Aften ("Local Evening"). This edition has eight versions, with each subscriber receives the version which is most relevant to the area in which he or she lives. In areas not covered by any of the eight versions (for example Romerike and Follo), the version for central Oslo is distributed. From May 2009, Aften is only printed and distributed Tuesday through Thursday.

Aftenposten started its online edition in 1995.[10]


Aftenposten opposed the Nobel Peace Prize to German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky in 1935.

In 1945, Aftenposten published an obituary of Adolf Hitler in which the 86-year-old Nobel-laureate novelist Knut Hamsun referred to Hitler as “a warrior for humankind and a preacher of the gospel of justice for all nations”.[11] However, Aftenposten was at the time under the censorship of the German occupying forces.

Historically, Aftenposten did not receive the same number of lawsuits and amount of attention from the Norwegian Press Complaints Commission as some of the larger tabloids. However, exceptions exist. In 2007, Aftenposten alleged that Julia Svetlichnaja, the last person to interview the murdered Russian national Alexander Litvinenko, was a Kremlin agent. London correspondent Hilde Harbo admitted to have let herself be fed disinformation from the Russian emigrant community, without investigating the matter properly.[12] Aftenposten eventually had to apologize, and pay Svetlichnaja's legal costs.

Editorial line

Aftenposten has a conservative stance and supported the political party Høyre[13] until the breakdown of party press system in the country.[4] Following this, the paper redefined itself as an independent centre-right.[4]

Right-leaning critics have often pointed out that the paper has become mainstream social-democratic after the end of the Cold War, thus in essence politically aligned with a large majority of Norway's press.


From its establishment in 1860 until 1923, Aftenposten was published in the common Dano-Norwegian written language used in both Norway and Denmark, which was generally known as Danish in Denmark and as Norwegian in Norway, and which only occasionally included minor differences from each other in vocabulary or idiom. In 1923 Aftenposten adopted the Norwegian spelling standard of 1907, which mainly replaced the "soft" consonants (e.g. d, b) characteristic of Danish pronunciation (but also used in some Norwegian dialects) with "hard" consonants (e.g. t, p) characteristic of Eastern Central Norwegian pronunciation, but which was otherwise mostly identical with Danish. In 1928 Aftenposten adopted the most conservative variant of the spelling standard of 1917, which is largely similar to the "moderate Bokmål" or "Riksmål" standard used today.

During the Norwegian language struggle from the early 1950s, Aftenposten was the main newspaper of the Riksmål variety of Norwegian, and maintained close ties to the Riksmål movement's institutions, recognising the Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature as the sole authoritative body for regulating the Norwegian language as used by the newspaper. Due to its status as the country's largest and most influential newspaper, Aftenposten therefore had a significant influence on the developments that took place during the Norwegian language struggle. The "moderate" or "conservative" Riksmål language used by Aftenposten was mainly associated with a conservative stance in Norwegian politics, and was contrasted with the "radical" Samnorsk language, an attempt to merge Bokmål with Nynorsk which was promoted by socialist governments in the 1950s. By 1960 it had become apparent that the Samnorsk attempt had failed, and as a result, Aftenposten's Riksmål standard and the government-promoted Bokmål standard have in the following decades become almost identical as the Bokmål standard has incorporated nearly all of Riksmål. As a consequence, Aftenposten decided to describe its language as "Moderate Bokmål" from 2006, and published its own dictionary, based on Riksmål and Moderate Bokmål, but excluding "radical" (i.e. similar to Nynorsk) variants of Bokmål.

The online version of the paper for some years during the early 2000s had an English section. To cut costs, Aftenposten stopped publishing English-language articles in early November 2008. Archives of past material are still available online.[14]


Aftenposten (morning paper)

Aftenposten 1980–2015

Numbers from the Norwegian Media Businesses' Association, Mediebedriftenes Landsforening 1980–2009:

  • 1980: 223,925
  • 1981: 227,122
  • 1982: 230,205
  • 1983: 232,459
  • 1984: 233,998
  • 1985: 240,600
  • 1986: 252,093
  • 1987: 260,915
  • 1988: 264,469
  • 1989: 267,278
  • 1990: 265,558
  • 1991: 269,278
  • 1992: 274,870
  • 1993: 278,669
  • 1994: 279,965
  • 1995: 282,018
  • 1996: 283,915
  • 1997: 286,163
  • 1998: 288,078
  • 1999: 284,251
  • 2000: 276,429
  • 2001: 262,632
  • 2002: 263,026
  • 2003: 256,639
  • 2004: 249,861
  • 2005: 252,716
  • 2006: 248,503
  • 2007: 250,179
  • 2008: 247,556
  • 2009: 243,188
  • 2010: 239,831
  • 2011: 235,795
  • 2012: 225,981
  • 2013: 214,026
  • 2014: 221,659
  • 2015: 211,769

Aften (evening paper) - now defunct

Numbers from the Norwegian Media Businesses' Association, Mediebedriftenes Landsforening: 1989–2009:

Aften 1989–2009.
  • 1939: 78,700
  • 1989: 193,932
  • 1990: 192,896
  • 1991: 195,022
  • 1992: 197,738
  • 1993: 198,647
  • 1994: 188,544
  • 1995: 186,003
  • 1996: 188,635
  • 1997: 191,269
  • 1998: 186,417
  • 1999: 180,497
  • 2000: 175,783
  • 2001: 167,671
  • 2002: 163,924
  • 2003: 155,366
  • 2004: 148,067
  • 2005: 141,612
  • 2006: 137,141
  • 2007: 131,089
  • 2008: 124,807
  • 2009: 111,566, online newspaper

The online newspaper had an average of 827,000 daily readers in 2015, an increase from 620.000 in 2010.[15]

According to Alexa Internet, the global traffic ranking of the site was 3,000 in April 2015. By April 2016, however, the ranking had dropped below 6,000.[16]

See also


  1. "Aftenposten AS - Oslo - Roller og kunngjøringer".
  2. Brekke, Ingrid (May 4, 2013). "Tabloid i form, men ikke i sjel" (in Norwegian). Aftenposten. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  3. "Norway: leading daily's successful switch to compact". Editors Weblog. 22 March 2005. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 Stig A. Nohrstedt et. al. (2000). "From the Persian Gulf to Kosovo — War Journalism and Propaganda" (PDF). European Journal of Communication. 15 (3). Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  5. "Schibsted ASA - Oslo - Roller og kunngjøringer".
  6. 1 2 3 Bernard A. Cook (2001). Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. p. 935. ISBN 978-0-8153-4058-4. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  7. Svennik Hoyer. "The Political Economy of the Norwegian Press" (PDF). Tidsskrift. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  8. "Annual report 2012" (PDF). Schibsted Media Group. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  9. 1 2 Sigurd Allern (2002). "Journalistic and Commercial News Values. News Organizations as Patrons of an Institution and Market Actors" (PDF). Nordicom Review. 2 (2). Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  10. "Online Journalism Atlas: Norway". Online Journalism. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  11. Gibbs, Walter (27 February 2009). "Norwegian Nobel Laureate, Once Shunned, Is Now Celebrated". The New York Times. p. C1. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 8 December 2014. [I]n Oslo last week . . . at the National Library was the 7 May 1945, edition of a . . . newspaper whose lead article on Hitler’s death was by Knut Hamsun. As most collaborators lay low, preparing alibis, Hamsun wrote, ‘He was a warrior, a warrior for mankind, and a prophet of the gospel of justice for all nations’.
  12. "Svetlichnaja and Litvinenko: Clarifications". Aftenposten. 9 December 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
  13. Rolf Werenskjold (2008). "The Dailies in Revolt". Scandinavian Journal of History. 33 (4): 417. doi:10.1080/03468750802423094. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  14. "So long, farewell ...". Aftenposten. 5 November 2008. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
  15. "medienorge".
  16. " Site Overview".

Further reading

External links

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