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 […]

Bunad silver sales soar

This week’s 17th of May holiday has revealed another indication that the Norwegian economy isn’t doing as poorly as some might like to think. Sales of the decorative and expensive silver and even gold jewelry that adorns the traditional Norwegian costumes known as the bunad are soaring, along with sales of the garments themselves. “We’ve […]

Refugees joined in 17th of May celebrations

Not only did many refugees from Afghanistan and Syria join in Tuesday’s 17th of May celebrations for the first time, they also helped in preparations for the holiday. They joined volunteers from the Red Cross and the state refugee service (Flyktningtjenesten) in taking part in a city clean-up operation late last week. “There’s a lot […]

Kirkenes still eager to shout ‘hurra’

KIRKENES: Few cities in Norway have faced as many challenges over the past year as this far northern enclave close to the Russian border. Just months after suddenly needing to shelter thousands of refugees streaming over that border, and after suffering the bankruptcy of a major employer and other economic calamity, the citizens of Kirkenes and Sør-Varanger […]

Sights and sounds of the 17th of May

SEE THE VIDEO: The 17th of May in Norway’s northern city of Kirkenes offered some refreshing differences from the country’s larger celebrations in cities like Oslo or Bergen. Its children’s parade marched through residential areas instead of the city center, for example, and it was extra colourful with all the Sami celebrants wearing their formal […]

Celebrations, Kirkenes-style

PHOTO FEATURE: Local celebrations of Norway’s Constitution Day on the 17th of May have a lot in common, but they also feature regional variations. Here are some of the highlights of Tuesday’s celebration in the far northern city of Kirkenes, where people were brought into town by the busload to take part in the first of […]