Abstract Correlation between offshore geology and onshore morphological elements suggests that the enveloping summit level of Scandinavia originated as a peneplain in the Jurassic. Deep weathering profiles locally encountered in the mountainous areas are interpreted as relics of Mesozoic denudation. Late Cretaceous and Early Tertiary uplift of northern and western Fennoscandia caused deep erosion, and an erosional surface which marks a lower level of elevation was formed in the east. In northern Fennoscandia, this erosional surface was transgressed in the Eocene, and its present elevation is a result of uplift in the Neogene. The recognition of the Mesozoic peneplain and the Tertiary erosional surface has allowed a quantification of the two major phases of Cenozoic uplift. The Paleogene uplift phase had a maximum of almost 1500 m in northern Scandinavia, while the Neogene phase had its uplift centra in South Norway and Lofoten which were uplifted approximately 1000 m. The corresponding Neogene erosion of the coastal areas is estimated to have reached a maximum of 800–1000 m along the coast of southern Norway and slightly more to the north.