How you can easily access historical maps

Situation map of the siege of Fredrikshald from 1718, source: Kartverket (The Norwegian Mapping Authority ) (J. B. Homann, 1718).

Historical maps have become very accessible online. A Google search on historical maps will show a number of websites that have collected maps of many different areas in the world. Two web pages stand out as very good for general map searches in Norway. Maybe you want to look a little closer at how an ancestor’s world appeared in his or her time?

Thousands of old maps from the Norwegian Mapping Authority

Did you know that there are several thousand historical maps on Kartverket’s (The Norwegian Mapping Authority’s) website that you can download and use for free?

The Norwegian Mapping Authority has since 1773 had a national responsibility for geographical information. This has resulted in a huge collection of maps from across the country. Most of these are searchable on Kartverket’s website.

The Mapping Authority itself writes on their pages that they assume that maps older than 100 years are free to use for everyone. If the map is younger than 100 years, they are referring to the Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

The maps can be filtered by counties, map series and time. They can also be downloaded to the computer for digital use or print outs.

You will find the historical maps from the Norwegian Mapping Authority here.

Historical maps (and aerial photos) on

By clicking on and then entering “kart”, you can access historical maps. The menu button Historiske (Historical) appears first when you have zoomed in a bit on a map and will probably appear most in the urban areas.

If you want an aerial photo, click on “flyfoto” on the right side of the page.

Finn has had this service for many years and the web page contains everything from old aerial photos to historical maps.

Note that if you have a small screen, such as a smartphone, then the screen may be too small for the “historical” menu button to appear. A trick can then be to lay the phone horizontal. Even then, the service can be difficult to use. A PC or tablet is probably recommended for this service.

Many of the historical maps you will find on the’s “Historical maps” service are the same as you will find at the Mapping Authority’s web site.