Småkraft celebrates Landslovjubileet 2024!


This year marks the jubilee of Magnus Lagabøte’s national law from 1274. For Småkraft, the law is still highly relevant, as it for the first time enshrined the right to harness waterfalls.

Image from Årvik power plant.

750 years ago, in 1274, Norway was unified under one law for the first time by Magnus Lagabøte. This was unique as it was the first functioning national law in Europe, which ensured, among other things, the right to hike freely in the nature. The law still forms the basis for how Småkraft AS creates renewable energy in a way that benefits local communities and owners of natural resources.

Collaboration with 900 landowners

Thanks to the law, which for the first time enshrined the right to harness waterfalls, farmers and landowners have for a long time had ownership of natural resources. In Sweden, a national law was drawn up shortly after, but ownership of natural resources is unique for Norway. At Småkraft, we do not buy the waterfalls but collaborate with over 900 landowners across the country who lease out the right to produce renewable energy from the flowing water, in exchange for sharing the profit during the rental period.

Significance for today’s legal system

Before the law, Norway was divided into four district courts with responsibility for each of its territories, consisting of Gulating, Borgarting, Frostating, and Eidsivating. When Magnus Lagabøte implemented the new law, it built upon the district court system, as well as being influenced by innovative ideas from Europe. This ensured, among other things, women’s inheritance rights and protected the vulnerable in society, where the poor in society should no longer be punished for stealing food.

The law, which was applied for over 400 years, made an impact and the groundwork for the democracy, settlement pattern and legal system we know in Norway today. The National Library have nationally the responsibility to convey the significance of the National Law throughout the coming year. Read more about it here.

We are proud to be part of a 750-year-old tradition, which can be traced back to Magnus Lagabøte. Happy jubilee year to all landowners, power owners, and energy consumers from us at Småkraft!


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