Norway National Day

Norway National Day Quick Facts

2024 Date17 May 2024
2025 Date17 May 2025

Norway National Day

Norway National Day in 2024
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Norway National Day History

Norway National Day commemorates the signing of the Norwegian Constitution on 17th May 1814. This pivotal event marked the beginning of Norway's journey towards independence, after many years under Danish rule. The occasion is marked by various events, such as parades, flag-flying, and other traditional festivities, all centred around the promotion and display of national pride and unity. It is considered the most important national celebration in Norway.

The history of Norway National Day dates back to the early 19th century. The Napoleonic Wars led to the Treaty of Kiel, which required Denmark to give Norway to Sweden. However, Norwegians decided to declare their independence and adopt a constitution before they were handed over to Swedish control. As a result, the process of forming a democratic nation was set in motion. Notably, Norway and the United Kingdom share a strong bond, both historically and today, with cultural, economic and political ties providing important aspects of their relationship. The observance of Norway National Day is yet another link that connects these two nations and their people.

In the United Kingdom, Norway National Day is observed by the Norwegian expatriate community and their British friends and colleagues. Various gatherings and events are organised by Norwegian clubs and societies, such as church services, traditional Norwegian meals, and receptions. These activities provide opportunities for those of Norwegian heritage to celebrate their culture and history in their adopted home country. The Norway National Day celebration takes place on the 17th of May.

Norway National Day Facts

  • In 1829, Norwegians continued to celebrate the Constitution of Norway despite the King of Sweden forbidding it. This lead to a skirmish between the public and the king's troops. It would later be known as the Battle of the Square. After this incident, King Charles XIV would lift the prohibition which had forbid celebrating the constitution.
  • Norway's national anthem is Ja, vi elsker dette landet, which means Yes, we love this country. It was written in the 1860s by writer and poet Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
  • One of the longest parades in the world is held in Oslo where about 100,000 people participate. The parade includes about 100 different schools from around the country.
  • The Constitution has been amended numerous times throughout its history, most notably in 1905 when the union with Sweden dissolved, and in 2007 when changes were made to ensure gender-neutral language and include protection of the environment.
  • The Norwegian Constitution is the second oldest written constitution still in continuous use, after the United States Constitution (which was adopted in 1787).
  • Norway's Constitution has served as a model for other nations, particularly during the 19th century, when newly independent countries adopted constitutions inspired by Norway's framework.

Norway National Day Top Things to Do

  • Dress up in Norway's traditional costumes. Called bunad, these costumes range from hundreds of different colours and styles. Different colours and styles represent different parts of Norwegian ancestry.
  • Enjoy traditional foods and snacks. It's common to eat a large breakfast the day of 17 May which can include baked bread, eggs, and smoked salmon. Later in the day many enjoy ice cream and hot dogs.
  • Watch a highlight of Norway's 2023 National Day parade.
  • Take this opportunity to deepen your knowledge about Norway's history, culture, and contributions to the world. You could watch documentaries, read books, or even learn a few Norwegian words and phrases.
  • Raise a glass and toast to Norway with traditional Norwegian beverages like Aquavit, a flavored distilled spirit, or enjoy some Norwegian beer or cider.

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