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UiB professor receives German honours

Law Professor Ernst Nordtveit receives the Federal Republic of Germany’s Order of Merit for his work to strengthen cooperation on law studies between Norwegian and German universities.

Professor Ernst Nordtveit (left) was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany at a dinner in Bergen in September 2014. The order was presented by Germany’s ambassador to Norway, Axel Berg (right).
GERMAN INSPIRATION: Professor Ernst Nordtveit (left) was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany at a dinner in Bergen in September 2014. The order was presented by Germany’s ambassador to Norway, Axel Berg.
Photo:
Øystein Iversen

The Order of Merit is Germany’s only federal decoration. The order was established in 1951 and is awarded for “achievements that served the rebuilding of the country in the fields of political, socio-economic and intellectual activity, and is intended to mean an award of all those whose work contributes to the peaceful rise of the Federal Republic of Germany”, according to its decree.

“This was surprising and is obviously something I greatly appreciate. I am pleased that someone has taken notice of the work I have done and that this is being appreciated,” said Ernst Nordtveit humbly when presented with the order at a dinner at Radisson Blu Hotel Norge in Bergen on 30 September.

Inspired by Germany legal system

For many years Professor Nordtveit has devoted considerable time to develop collaborations with Germany. Through painstaking work, Nordtveit now has contacts at 10–15 German universities. Thanks to his efforts, Germany is now a popular destination for Norwegian law researchers and students, looking to go on international exchange.

“I tend to exaggerate by saying that you can not conduct proper research on law if you don’t read German, because the Norwegian legal system is based on the German one. The basic structure of our legal system, as we know it today, is German”, said the law professor.

Until World War II Norwegian and German law researchers collaborated closely. After the war the collaboration suffered for decades and the old collaboration had to be reconstructed brick by brick. Nordtveit was central to this effort.

“Nordtveit has contributed significantly to the German-Norwegian science exchange. Through his work he has supported a stronger orientation towards the German legal system and Germany,” said Axel Berg, the German Ambassador to Norway, at the award dinner.

Visiting professor in Germany

Nordtveit has contributed to the close contact with German universities in several ways. In 1999 he was a visiting professor in Germany, funded by the Research Council of Norway. He has also helped to organise joint seminars for German and Norwegian students and young scholars.

The law professor has also helped to allocate funds for exchange and research purposes at German universities. For many years he has been a member of the steering committee of the German-Norwegian scholarship fund Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft.

“It has been important to get researchers and students to apply for funding,” said Nordtveit, whilst emphasising that many other people have been central in developing Norwegian-German relations.

Germany is Norway’s main European partner

Nordtveit’s work is in line with the Norwegian government’s strategy for collaboration with Germany. In the government strategy, which was published in May 2014, Germany is referred to as Norway’s most important partner in Europe. One chapter of the strategy refers to research, innovation and education. Clearly Professor Nordtveit has been ahead of the curve for quite a few years.

(Translated from the Norwegian by Sverre Ole Drønen.)