The paper deals with the future of Norwegian higher education as part of a Nordic project on higher education futures. To identify future scenarios for Norwegian higher education (HE), the paper uses the theoretical lens of historical institutionalism to focus on scenario building. Like in the other Nordic countries, Norwegian HE and research are characterized by easily accessible and free public HE provision, high participation rates, and a high level of investment in HE and research. However, the question is this: If we look back at the development of Norwegian HE the last decades, to what extent can we expect present developments to persist and to what extent can we expect more or less sharp breaks and deviations from past and present developments? Departing from an institutionalist position, two historically grounded visions and related scenarios are identified: an academic excellence scenario and a national service scenario. The scenarios reflect tensions between different visions of the shape, emphasis, and orientation of HE and research. The empirical focus is on the developments of HE along five dimensions: growth, systemic integration, academic drift, labor market relevance, and governance. First, the conceptual approach is presented, outlining the use of scenarios and an institutionalist approach to thinking about the future of HE. Secondly, the paper outlines the five trends regarding past and ongoing developments. Third, some ideas about future developments are outlined, before the conclusion is drawn.