The Peaceful Revolts: 1968 in the Nordic Welfare States

Fredrik W. Thue, Else Hansen, Thomas Brandt, Sigridur Matthiasdottir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The student revolts of 1968 in the Nordic countries were peaceful in comparison with what happened in places like Berlin, Paris or Rome. Students in the Nordic countries were also protesting and revolting against the authoritarian traditions of higher education, but only rarely did they take to the streets like their German and French counterparts. As this chapter argues, the relatively peacefulness of the Nordic 1968 must be understood within a wider political context. The growth within higher education went hand in hand with the development of the welfare state. Students' demands for reform converged with university policy development, especially in terms of democratization in higher education. Still, by drawing on examples from Copenhagen, Oslo, Reykjavik and Trondheim, the chapter shows that there were many tensions and paradoxes related to the various ways these peaceful revolts were played out in the Nordic countries. A long-term effect of the student movement of the 1960s was, ironically, that it helped pave the way for the 'freedom revolution' of the 1980s and 1990s.
Translated title of the contributionDe fredelige oprør: 1968 i de nordiske velfærdsstater
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudent Revolt, City, and Society in Europe : From the Middle Ages to the Present
EditorsPieter Dhondt, Elizabethanne Boran
Place of PublicationNew York and London
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-04854-6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-17014-5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
SeriesRoutledge Studies in Cultural History

Cite this