Nordic Declaration on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education The Reykjavik Declaration (Revised 2016)

02.11.16 | Declaration
The Nordic region is an open area in terms of education, training and the labour market. Nordic co-operation in these fields is broad, deep and unique, and must be maintained and extended.



On 15 March 1971, the Nordic Council of Ministers for Education and Research (MR-U) signed the Agreement on Cultural Co-operation, which sought to improve opportunities by making it easier for higher education students and others to study and to take examinations at educational and training institutions in other Nordic countries, and to ensure the mutual recognition of degrees, partial qualifications and other documentary evidence of educational achievement.

On 9 June 2004, MR-U signed the Nordic Declaration on Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education (the Reykjavik Declaration). This was based on the Council of Europe and UNESCO’s Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region (the Lisbon Recognition Convention, 1997) and its appendices. The Reykjavik Declaration was designed to promote closer co-operation on the mutual recognition of qualifications in higher education in the Nordic region. MR-U has now decided to revise the Declaration.

According to the ministers for Nordic co-operation (MR-SAM), one of the key challenges is  how to create the best possible conditions for the freedom of movement of people and companies in the region. With this in mind, the Nordic countries, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland will work together to ensure that new national legislation and the way in which the Nordic countries implement EU legislation do not create new barriers to freedom of movement in the region.

The Nordic countries have worked together for many years in the field of education and training, both in the context of the Lisbon Recognition Convention and as members of the European Higher Education Area.[1] As such, the countries have considerable confidence in the existing system of mutual recognition of higher education qualifications. The Nordic Recognition Network (NORRIC), which comprises the ENIC-NARIC offices[2] in each Nordic country, has actively addressed and solved problems related to recognition, and improved quality and efficiency in recognition practices in the region. As a result, the Nordic region has a unique opportunity to position itself as a pioneer in the field of automatic recognition,[3] which will facilitate even closer co-operation on joint assessment guidelines and good practice regarding the recognition of degrees, duration of study and prior learning.

The ministers for education and research established Nordic objectives and guidelines in the original Reykjavik Declaration. This revised version will lead to even closer co-operation between relevant bodies, serve as a basis for adaptation to changing circumstances and facilitate joint follow-up work on developments within higher education at both Nordic and European level.

The revised Reykjavik Declaration, will ensure that:

  • higher education qualifications from the region are recognised in  the other Nordic countries.
  • the Nordic countries work together in pursuit of the goal of adopting systems for automatic recognition of comparable qualifications in higher education in the region, as per the aims of the European Higher Education Area.
  • the Nordic countries continue to strengthen administrative and methodological co-operation on the evaluation of qualifications obtained in Nordic and other countries, e.g. by establishing working groups and the ongoing exchange of information and good practices in higher education, in particular via the NORRIC Network. The relevant ministries, authorities and higher education institutions in the Nordic region will be actively involved in the co-operation and information exchange.
  • national bodies continuously review the way in which the Declaration is implemented and applied, identify topical or actual developments that require special attention, and actively involve relevant stakeholders in this work.


MR-U will monitor how this Declaration is being applied in practice and adopt any measures necessitated by developments.

The 2nd of November 2016, Copenhagen

Ulla TørnæsMinister for Education and ResearchDenmark

Torbjørn Røe IsaksenMinister of Education and ResearchNorway

Sanni Grahn-LaasonenMinister of Education and CultureFinland

Helene Hellmark KnutssonMinister for Higher Education and ResearchSweden

Illugi GunnarssonMinister of Education, Science and CultureIceland

Rigmor DamMinister of Education, Research and CultureFaroe Islands

Doris JakobsenMinister of Education, Culture, Research and ChurchGreenland

Tony AsumaaMinister of Education and CultureÅland

[1] The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) was launched in March 2010, during the Budapest-Vienna Ministerial Conference.

[2] European Network of National Information Centres on academic recognition and mobility (ENIC), National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARIC).

[3] As defined by the EHEA Pathfinder Group on Automatic Recognition: “Automatic recognition of a degree leads to the automatic right of an applicant holding a qualification of a certain level to be considered for entry to a programme of further study in the next level in any other EHEA-country (access).”