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About the projectOwner: Nationalmuseum, Oslo

The digital humanities project “Historiske toll- og skipsanløpslister” makes accessible data on trade and ship traffic in pre-industrial Norway. The project has transcribed, modernized and standardized summary lists of goods and ships entering and departing by sea all Norwegian customs ports for 1686, 1731, 1733, 1756, 1786, 1794 and 1835. Additional years for Finnmark, Trøndelag and the Oslo fjord region are also accessible. This data is now accessible in two specially designed and searchable databases.


Two more databases are currently being developed. One details the copper exports from Trondheim. The other contains price data compiled from price currents compiled in the custom ports. As analytical tools are being developed for both, and more price data will be added to the price database, both must be considered to be beta-versions.

The data and databases provide new insights into what kind of goods, their quantities, and occasionally the value and country where they were led to / came from, as well as details about the ships arriving and departing.


The databases

List of goods

Lists of goods for Norwegian customs ports

All goods noted in the lists

Goods traded in Norwegian custom ports

Foreign places of trade

Ship traffic 

Ship traffic lists

Past and future destinations

Home ports


Traffic statistics- Norwegian ports

Trafic statistics - Countries

Copper exports (Beta)

Liquidation records

Owners (BETA)

Destination records


Owners (BETA)

Captains (BETA)

Price database (Beta)

Prices in customs ports and trading places


What are the lists?
The lists detailing  goods provide information concerning amounts, origins, destinations and sometimes values. The ship traffic lists detail ports of call, names of captains and size of ships.

The data was collected by local customs officials and submitted to the authorities in 18th century. The intention was to gain an overview of Denmark-Norways foreign trade, but trade with Denmark, the Duchies and Norway was also noted, albeit less detailed. Today the original data is stored in customs protocols at the National Archives.


The website and databases
This website consists of two databases; one for goods traded and one for ship traffic. It also contains webpages with information about the project and links to with additional historical background. Two more databases are available in betaversions; one for copper exports and one for prices. 

Currently the two databases consists of 509 summary lists of goods and 176 ship traffic lists. In total there are 8,560 standardized trade names (16,228 non-standardized) and 492 standardized place names (2376 un-standardized). This comprises a total 17 MB uncompressed data consisting of numbers and text.

The analytical tools available are primarily sorting tools. These enable presenting the data in ways which were impossible in the paper version. The analytical tools are continuously being improved in response to user feed back. Users can also download the data as Excel or CSV files to do their own analysis.


To read more: Ragnhild Hutchison: Norway 1731-1795, in Loic Charles and Guillaume Daudin "Eighteenth-century International Trade statistics. Sources and methods", Revue de l'OFCE, 140, Paris, 2015.



[1] It has not been possible to transcribe Trondheim copper exports by 1753, but the total amount of copper exports in the years that have been transcribed, as a provisional solution, therefore listed in the note field.

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