Now that his thesis is done (like mine!) Anders has resurfaced with a delightful desciption of the arcane doctoral defence rituals of Norway. I think there may be tiny differences between the Bergen and Oslo versions of said ritual. In Bergen the candidate summarises his or her thesis at the beginning of the defence (or disputas as we call it – of course only Latin is used for such names) whereas Anders writes that this is the task of the first opponent in Oslo.
I would also like to add that once I witnessed a candidate who was permitted to sit during the disputas. She was 7 months pregnant, though, and the chair was wobbly and high so she was almost standing anyway. It did make me wonder whether non-pregnant but nervous candidates might get away with a chair.
Probably my adrenalin levels will be so high that sitting down will be the last thing on my mind.