Mid-Proterozoic calc-alkaline granitoids from southern Norway, and their extrusive equivalents have been dated by LAM-ICPMS U–Pb on zircons to ages ranging from 1.61 to 1.52 Ga; there are no systematic age differences across potential Precambrian terrane boundaries in the region. U–Pb and Lu–Hf data on detrital zircons from metasedimentary gneisses belonging to the arc association show that these were mainly derived from ca. 1.6 Ga arc-related rocks. They also contain a minor but significant fraction of material derived from (at least) two distinct older (1.7–1.8 Ga) sources; one has a clear continental signature, and the other represents juvenile, depleted mantle-derived material. The former component resided in granitoids of the Transscandinavian Igneous Belt, the other in mafic rocks related to these granites or to the earliest, subduction-related magmatism in the region. Together with published data from south Norway and southwest Sweden, these findings suggest that the western margin of the Baltic Shield was the site of continuous magmatic arc evolution from at least ca 1.66 to 1.50 Ga. Most of the calc-alkaline metaigneous rocks formed in this period show major- and trace-element characteristics of rocks formed in a normal continental margin magmatic arc. The exceptions are the Stora Le-Marstrand belt in Sweden and the Kongsberg complex of Norway, which have an arc-tholeiitic chemical affinity. The new data from south Norway do not justify a suggestion that the crust on the west side of the Oslo Rift had an early to mid-Proterozoic history different from the crust to the east. Instead, they indicate that the different parts of south Norway and southwest Sweden were situated at the margin of the Baltic Shield throughout the mid-Proterozoic. Changes from arc tholeitic to calc-alkaline magmatism reflect changes with time in the subduction zone system, or lateral differences in subduction zone geometry. The NW American Cordillera may be a useful present-day analogue for the tectonomagmatic evolution of the mid-Proterozoic Baltic margin.