Resurgent economy fueled celebrations

HAUGESUND: Residents of this windy West Coast city turned out by the thousands to celebrate Norway’s national day on Thursday. Towering in the background was a huge new locally-assembled drilling rig that may well have boosted celebrants’ spirits this year as they smiled, sang and shouted hurra. Norwegians all over the country celebrate their freedom […]

Rowing is part of patriotic tradition

HAUGESUND: 17th of May celebrations can include some unique local traditions around Norway. In the West Coast city of Haugesund, not far from the historic Viking settlement at Avaldnes on Karmøy, rowing is a big part of the program. “Competitive rowing on Smedasundet (the sound through Haugesund’s downtown area) is Haugesund’s oldest tradition,” proclaims the […]

‘Gratulerer med dagen!’

This wreath in the colors of Norway’s flag was among the many that would be placed on monuments to notable Norwegians and the graves of fallen heroes on Thursday, as Norway celebrated its most important day of the year on the 17th of May. This wreath was placed early at a fisherman’s monument on the […]

17th of May loomed without NRK’s news

Norwegians were facing their most festive and important day of the year on Thursday without any photos, videos, interviews or documentation by state broadcaster NRK. It’s a huge loss of festive and traditional all-day coverage for the record books, but a proposal to grant NRK dispensation from the strike by 1,700 journalists has received little […]

Potholes threaten marching bands

Norway’s long and cold winter this year has left streets all over the country full of potholes and asphalt that’s buckled up. The situation is so bad in some places that it’s raising concerns for marching bands tuning up for parades on the 17th of May holiday. “We’re afraid some people will be injured,” Finn […]

Sweden hails Norway in rare broadcast

Relations between Norway and Sweden are officially excellent, but privately many Swedes and Norwegians have badgered and belittled each other for years. Most of the incessant ridicule is based on rivalry and even envy, but now Sweden’s national broadcaster SVT has sent some rare, genuine compliments and congratulations that have caught Norwegians by surprise. The occasion was Norway’s national day on […]

Police resorted to creative anti-terror methods

Police in Oslo and other Norwegian cities literally cordoned off major streets that were being used for the country’s 17th of May parades on Wednesday, to prevent any terrorists from driving trucks into crowds of people. They used both barricades and buses to block key intersections. Side-streets to Oslo’s Karl Johans Gate, for example, were […]

Celebrations warm the Svalbard chill

PHOTO FEATURE: While Norway’s royal family waved as usual to the 17th of May parade in Oslo, hardy residents of Norway’s main settlement on Svalbard braved the Artic chill and an uncertain economic future with a unique parade of their own. It included almost the entire town, neighbouring Russians from Barentsburg and visitors from around the world, in quite […]

Norway celebrates from north to south

LONGYEARBYEN: Flags were raised and events officially kicked off at 8am all over the country on Wednesday as Norwegians launched into their Constitution Day celebrations on the 17th of May. The holiday is known for its unabashed displays of patriotism, highlighted by children, flags, tradition and memorials to fallen heroes. Here in Norway’s most northern community on Svalbard, flags […]

Sounds from the 17th on Svalbard

VIDEO FEATURE: This was one of many busy brass bands in Norway on the 17th of May. Svalbard’s Longyearbyen Storband, all dressed in hardhats and working clothes from the state-owned coal company Store Norske, were out early for a wreath-laying at the town’s monument to miners, then marched in the parade and played at another tribute to […]