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Home* News and Stories → May 17th: Nor­we­gi­an Con­sti­tu­ti­on Day is also cele­bra­ted in the Arc­tic

May 17th: Nor­we­gi­an Con­sti­tu­ti­on Day is also cele­bra­ted in the Arc­tic

May 17th is the Natio­nal Day of Nor­way. On this day Nor­we­gi­ans cele­bra­te the Nor­we­gi­an Con­sti­tu­ti­on which was adop­ted on May 17th in 1814 by the recent­ly estab­lis­hed Con­sti­tu­ent Assem­bly at the small place of Eids­voll in sou­thern Nor­way. A con­si­derable act for the coun­try and cou­ra­ge­ous as well, as Nor­way befo­re was gover­ned by the Danish crown for almost 300 years. Offi­cial­ly Nor­way was part of the Danish king­dom, the important posi­ti­ons were held by Danes and by the impact of cul­tu­re- and school-poli­tics Nor­we­gi­ans should beco­me Danish.

In 1814, at the end of the Napo­leo­nic Wars, as the ter­ri­to­ri­al reor­ga­niz­a­ti­on of the Scan­di­na­vi­an coun­tries was nego­tia­ted in the Trea­ty of Kiel, the Nor­we­gi­ans took the oppor­tu­ni­ty: They estab­lis­hed a natio­nal assem­bly, gave them­sel­ves a con­sti­tu­ti­on and elec­ted an own king. Yet, it did not work that easy. Nor­way was pres­sed into a uni­on with Swe­den ins­tead and the Swe­dish king also beca­me king of Nor­way in per­so­nal uni­on. But at least Nor­way was a sepa­ra­te king­dom again, the natio­nal assem­bly was trans­for­med into a par­lia­ment (Stor­ting) and the con­sti­tu­ti­on, cele­bra­ted on May 17th, was main­tai­ned. Nor­way beca­me com­ple­te­ly inde­pen­dent in 1905 when the uni­on with Swe­den was sus­pen­ded.

Tra­di­tio­nal­ly the Natio­nal Day is cele­bra­ted with a para­de inclu­ding music, lots of Nor­we­gi­an flags and a diver­si­ty of tra­di­tio­nal cos­tu­mes from the dif­fe­rent parts of the coun­try. In the capi­tal Oslo the para­de moves along Karl Johans Gate and pas­ses the Roy­al Palace. All over the coun­try peop­le rai­se the Nor­we­gi­an flag.

In the Nor­we­gi­an Arc­tic May 17th was cele­bra­ted as well, not only on Spits­ber­gen, in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, among the rese­ar­chers in Ny Åle­sund and in the mining sett­le­ment of Sveagru­va, but also at the meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal sta­ti­ons on the remo­te islands of Bjørnøya, Jan May­en and Hopen. Even the crew of the rese­arch ves­sel RV ´Lan­ce´, fro­zen in the ice north of Spits­ber­gen, orga­ni­zed a para­de: across the ice, once around the ship. After­wards the­re was a par­ty onboard. The sta­ti­on on Bjørnøya was visi­ted by the crew of the coast­guard ves­sel KV ´Har­stad´, incre­a­sing the num­ber of par­ti­ci­pants at the para­de signi­fi­cant­ly. It is also said, that they could win some new mem­bers for the Bjørnøya Nude-Bat­hing-Asso­cia­ti­on. The smal­lest May 17th cele­bra­ti­on was held on Hopen. At least with 4 per­sons (and the 4 sta­ti­on dogs) all inha­bi­tants were pre­sent.

The para­de in Lon­gye­ar­by­en stops at the war memo­ri­al.
Pho­to: © RS

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In Lon­gye­ar­by­en the para­de moved from the church to the city cen­ter and fur­ther to the war memo­ri­al whe­re flowers were laid down and spee­ches were held. The spea­kers were Robert Her­man­sen, for­mer CEO of the mining com­pa­ny Store Nor­ske Spits­ber­gen Kul­kom­pa­ni and the Rus­si­an Con­sul Gene­ral in Bar­ents­burg, Jurij Grib­kov, who congra­tu­la­ted the Nor­we­gi­ans to the cele­bra­ti­on of their Con­sti­tu­ti­on. After­wards the para­de moved to the Sval­bard­hall whe­re a meal was ser­ved and the cele­bra­ti­on con­ti­nued with several events, espe­cial­ly for the child­ren. In his speech the Sys­sel­man­nen Odd Olsen Ingerø empha­si­zed Norway´s sov­er­eig­n­ty over Sval­bard and con­fir­med the vali­di­ty of the Spits­ber­gen Trea­ty.

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (1): Spitz­ber­gen – vom Polar­licht bis zur Mit­ter­nachts­son­ne”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!

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last modification: 2015-05-28 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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