The Norwegian Labour Movement Archives and Library
The Norwegian Labour Movement Archives and Library (Arbark) is a documentation centre where you can find current and historical information about the Norwegian and the international labour movements, and about the political Left.
The institution was founded jointly by the Norwegian Labour Party (DNA) and the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) in 1908, and is still owned by these two organisations. Arbark is open to the public.
The archive collection also holds material from organisations and personalities outside Arbeiderpartiet and LO. As of 1972, Arbark has received government subventions, and our field of responsibility has been established through a cooperation agreement with the National Archival Services of Norway.
Arbark is a member of the International Association of Labour History Institutions (IALHI).
The library collection
The library is open to the public. Most books are available for lending. Borrowers outside Oslo should contact their local libraries in Norway or abroad.
The greater part of the books deals with the Norwegian and the international labour movements. In addition, the library holds material about, i.a., workers, working conditions, the women’s movement, economy, and political and social conditions in general.
A particularly valuable part of the library consists of the large collection of the labour movement’s own publications, such as periodicals, brochures, programmes, anniversary publications and written minutes. Most of this material is also available for lending, either directly from us, or through the libraries’ distance lending services.
The archive collection
A great part of the archive collection is available without prior agreement. You must, however, be able to give a valid reason for wanting to consult the material.
The records of the left-wing political parties are the most used material. In addition to the Norwegian Labour Party, this concerns first and foremost the records of the Norwegian Communist Party (NKP) and the more recent Socialist Left Party (SV). Arbark also holds the records of the German Socialist Workers' Party (SAP) for the years 1933-37.
Another key part of the collection is the records of LO, from its founding year in 1899, and of national unions and local unions affiliated to LO. Several of these records go back to the 1880'ies.
The archive collection also includes the records of organisations which in some way were affiliated to the labour movement or to the political Left. This includes, for instance, the records of cultural organisations, the women's movement and solidarity organisations.
A fourth section of the archive collection is the records of labour activists. This collection also includes the records of several prime ministers and government members.
The photo collection
Arbark has a photo collection consisting of about 4.2 million pictures. The photos cover the period from the 1870'ies up to until today and show, inter alia, workplaces, production processes, social life, trade union and political activities, and culture and leisure activities.
The larger part of the photo collection previously belonged to Arbeiderbladet, the principal newspaper of the Labour Party.
Arbark's banner collection and most of the poster collection are available to the public as part of the photo collection.
Search the collections
Please contact us
if you have any questions, or if you have any trouble locating materials.
May 15 - Sept. 15
Sept. 16 - May 14
*) until 18:00 by agreement
NOTE: For deviating opening hours, please check under "Åpningstider".