In the 1880’s a number of informal rowing regattas in the three Nordic countries Norway, Sweden and Denmark took place. In 1901 the first coordinated Student rowing regatta was hosted near Oslo in Norway, which was the beginning of collaboration between Academic Student rowing in the Nordic countries.
At a regatta in Stockholm in 1909 the chair of the Swedish Rowing Federation, Niels Ljunggren succeeded in persuading the chairs from the other Nordic federations to work towards the creation of a more formalized cooperation between the countries. This ended up with the formal founding of Nordic Rowing Federation in 1910 in Copenhagen. The aim of the Federation was to arrange Nordic Rowing Championship which should alternate every year between the four founding countries Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Later on, the Faroe Island Rowing Association has also become a member of the Nordic Rowing Federation.
The Nordic Rowing Championship regatta has been arranged every year since the foundation in 1910 with the exception of the 5 years from 1940-1945 during WWII.
In the beginning all the Championship races at the regattas were only for national teams from the four countries. In recent times this has been changed so the regattas and the Championship races have been converted into Open Nordic Rowing Championship which allows for entries for club teams as well as national teams to race for the individual titles. Now it is also possible for crews from countries outside of the Nordic Rowing Federations to participate.
In addition to the individual races there is a prestigious competition between the four member countries which only include the national team boats.
Every year Junior rowers are racing to become Open Nordic Rowing Champions and every second year Senior rowers join the race for the Open Nordic Championship title.
The Nordic Rowing Federation is governed by a board. All chairs from the five member countries are members of the board. The board rules on the strategy for the Nordic Rowing Federation.
The daily business is run by the President and the Secretary.