|The Riksmaal Society was founded in 1907 on the initiative of Bjornstjerne Bjornson. The previous year the adherents of New Norwegian (Nynorsk) had founded their own organisation (Noregs Mallag) and won a significant victory when the Parliament resolved to include a compulsory essay in New Norwegian in the higher school leaving examinations.
The new Riksmaal Society took up the fight immediately, a fight that was to be reflected in the Norwegian cultural debate throughout most of the 20th century.
Between the wars, it became a political goal for the Parliament to establish Samnorsk, a merging of both official languages, through spelling reforms. This was first attempted on a voluntary basis, but from 1938 onwards the use of many Riksmal spelling forms was forbidden. This policy was reinforced in 1951 with the establishment of the Norwegian Language Board.
Opposing Samnorsk was the Riksmaal Society's most important task. In this it stood shoulder to shoulder with "Parents Against Samnorsk", an all-party folk movement that attracted many supporters in the 1950s. Among the most active in The Riksmaal Society were the authors Arnulf Overland and Andre Bjerke.
In 1972 the Parliament abandoned its policy of force. The Norwegian Language Board was replaced by the Norwegian Language Council which also included representatives from the Riksmaal Society. The Council achieved considerable harmonisation of Bokmal spelling, and Samnorsk was gradually phased out. In 2002, the Government confirmed that the work of merging the two languages was no longer part of Norway's official language policy.
The Riksmaal Society directs its efforts today at language use and language teaching in schools, working in this context for the removal of compulsory tuition in the secondary language. The organisation also works for the abolition of quotas for the use of the two languages, for example the rule stipulating a minimum of 25% New Norwegian in the civil service.