Nasjonaldagen (National Day) is a momentous day in the Norwegian calendar. In neighbour capital Stockholm, 10,000 people participate in the festivities every year. Here’s your chance to be one of them in 2013!
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A Brief History of the Constitution
Norway was on Boney’s side in the Napoleonic wars, which meant, when the wars were over, it was handed over to Sweden by the Danes. Nothing daunted and bent on forging their own destiny, the Norwegians (headed by crown-prince Christian Frederik) declared themselves an independent nation and Europe’s oldest single-document national constitution was signed on May 17th, 1814. Norway was no longer to be treated as a Swedish conquest but rather as an equal party in a union of two independent states. Both the principle and substance of the Norwegian Constitution were accepted, and Norway retained its own parliament and separate institutions, except for the common king and foreign service. This was considered radically democratic in its day, taking its inspiration from the French revolution and the United States’ Declaration of Independence.
Nasjonaldagen (National Day), or more simply, syttende mai (May 17th), therefore marks a momentous day in the Norwegian calendar. It is markedly non-military, usually involving parades of children. The longest parade is obviously held in Oslo, where some 100,000 people travel to the city centre to participate in the main festivities and to hopefully get a wave from the royal family, who observe the spectacle from the main balcony. It is also common for Norwegians living abroad to gather and celebrate, particularly in Stockholm, where some 10,000 people participate every year. This is your chance to join in the fun in 2013!
Norwegian Day Programme in Stockholm
09:30 Music in Kungsträdgården from Stockholm’s Police band
10.00 Official opening by Norwegian Ambassador Anne K. Lund, greetings from the mayor and a speech from Norway’s Prime Minister. Sing-along to “Ja, vi elsker” and “Du gamla, du fria“. A message from His Majesty, King Harald V.
11:00 The parade runs from Kungsträdgården to open air museum Skansen on the island of Djurgården (free entry to Skansen for all those in the parade)
12:15 Games for both children and adults at Tingsvallen, Skansen. Opportunity to eat laks and pølse i lompe.
13.00 Folk dance with dancers from the Norwegian Folk Museum
14.00 The program ends, but the fun doesn’t! Go to Naprapathögskolan* (Take bus 40 or 70 to Albano) at 10pm for a whopping 17 May celebration!
*Register in advance here.