Norwegian Constitution Day is the National Day of Norway and is an official national holiday observed on May 17 each year. Among Norwegians, the day is referred to simply as syttende mai (meaning May Seventeenth), Nasjonaldagen (The National Day) or Grunnlovsdagen (The Constitution Day), although the latter is less frequent.
The celebration of this day began spontaneously among students and others from early on. However, Norway was at that time under Swedish rule (following the Convention of Moss in August 1814) and for some years the King of Sweden and Norway was reluctant to allow the celebrations. For a couple of years in the 1820s, King Karl Johan actually forbade it, as he thought the celebrations a kind of protest and disregard—even revolt—against Swedish sovereignty. The king’s attitude changed slightly after the Battle of the Square in 1829, an incident which resulted in such a commotion that the king had to allow it. It was, however, not until 1833, that anyone ventured to hold a public address on behalf of the day. That year, official celebration was initiated by the monument of the late politician Christian Krohg, known to have stopped the king from gaining too much personal power. The address was held by Henrik Wergeland, thoroughly witnessed and accounted for by a Swedish spy, sent by the king himself.
After 1864 the day became more established when the first children’s parade was launched in Christiania, at first consisting only of boys. This initiative was taken by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, although Wergeland made the first known children’s parade at Eidsvoll around 1820. It was only in 1899 that girls were allowed to join in the parade for the first time.
By historical coincidence, the Second World War ended in Norway nine days before that year’s Constitution Day, on May 8, 1945, when the occupying German forces surrendered. Even if The Liberation Day is an official flag day in Norway, the day is not an official holiday and is not broadly celebrated. Instead a new and broader meaning has been added to the celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day on May 17.
The day focused originally on the Norwegian constitution, but after 1905, the focus has been directed also towards the royal family.
Read more about the 17 of May here: Wikipedia
Sunday February 17. was the end of a long, extremely nerve wrecking and – seen with Norwegian eyes – unbelievable week. I can hardly fathom the result after The World Championship in Biathlon in Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic. I asked the International Biathlon Union for permission to use a couple of their photos, but that was harshly and promptly denied. The Norwegian Biathlon Association on the other hand was very kind and gave me special permission to use the photo below. Thank you so very much! That made my day!
The championship exceeded any and all expectation for the Norwegian fans! Tora Berger beat Liv Grete Skjelbreid Poirée’s old record of a total of 7 gold medals in total. Tora has now taken 18 Olympic and World Championship Medals. In this championship alone – she took 4 Gold Medals and 2 Silver Medals… Emil Hegle Svendsen was the strongest Norwegian competitor on the men’s side with 4 Gold Medals and 1 Bronze Medal. Unbelievable…
In all – the Norwegian Team took 8 Gold, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze Medal in 11 different races…
The fantastic statistics can be found here in this Wikipedia Article.
A BIG THANK YOU to Norsk Skiskytterforbund (Norwegian Biathlon Association) for granting me permission to use this photo that represents the biggest I have ever witnessed in the World of Sports – ever. Please visit the Norwegian Biathlon Association here for som great photos and news (Norwegian)
And special thanks to Tora Berger, Tiril Eckhoff , Hilde Fenne, Ann Kristin Aafedt Flatland, Fanny Welle-Strand Horn, Synnøve Solemdal, Lars Helge Birkeland, Ole Einar Bjørndalen, Erlend Øvereng Bjøntegaard, Tarjei Bø Gull, Emil Hegle Svendsen and Henrik L’Abée-Lund AND last but not least – The Norwegian Support Team, trainers, ski-preppers, association representatives and fans who all made this a FANTASTIC event for a guy totally hooked on what must be the most thrilling sport in The Entire World!
I popped out a couple of days ago and captured this photo of our beloved companion in space. The old spellbinder and maker of romantic promises. The old natural satellite faithfully circling our home like a watch dog, gobbling up debris and preventing a lot of unpleasant collisions with Earth. This goddess Selene. Luna the treacherous – thought to have the power to turn people into luna-tics…
Whatever you wish to call her, she is beautiful, and still retaining “That ole Swiss Cheese Look”.
14. April is – according to the ancient Norwegian calendars, Runic Calendars (primstav) the first day of summer. Hence today would be the second day of summer. As you can see, the fjord today is calm like on a beautiful summer day – but the snow reveals that we still have som way to go before the spring feeling turns into a summer feeling…
On a weather worn flagpost the State and War flag of Norway is flying at half mast.
His Majesty the King of Norway, fellow officers and the chaplain has just finished the memorial service at the Evenes Air Force Base, commemorating the loss of five fellow officers.
My heart goes out to the families of the loved and lost crew. I also send my thoughts to all the personnel that have risked, and still are risking their lives in order to bring home the lost crew from an altitude of 2 kilometers. They have defied hurricane winds, snow, visibility of – sometimes just a few meters – dodging the avalanches that has come down the mountains, as they battled for days to rescue the lost crew.
Now – unfortunately – all hope is lost…
Caught this “little boat” the Hurtigrute ship “Richard With” just now. “Richard With” is small (121.8 meters) compared to the iron ore carrier “Vogerunner” (176,838 DWT) by pier 5 in the background.
Hurtigruten is a really old coastal route running continously up and down the coastline og Norway with 13 ships. Ironically the head quarters of this coastal shipping line is located in Narvik, but the ships doesn’t frequent this harbor. It would take too long sailing in and out the Vestfjord. Well, that’s at least the explanation I’ve heard.
So why is on of Hurtigruten in Narvik today. Well, the city celebrates the building of the iron ore railway (1898-1902) from the Swedish mountain and mining city of Kiruna and Narvik becoming a city in 1903. This Vinterfestuka (Winter Festival Week) is an annual celebration and each year one of the Hurtigruten ships is in port, serving as hotel and restaurants for the festival, and it takes small fjord cruises, as was the case when I caught it sailing into port today.
These days 16,300 troops from 14 nations are battling the cold climate of Northern-Norway in the biggest joint military exercise in ten years Operation Cold Response (well, the name says it all).
But they are battling a real, and very dangerous enemy. The 5. March 1986 a platoon of Engineers was working on a route for belt-vehicles through the Valley of Vassdalen. An avalanche started high in one of the mountain sides and came thundering down towards the soldiers.
I remember it like it was yesterday. My uncle – a police officer – was flown in with his service dog Arco, a highly trained avalanche rescue dog. They were in the middle of an exercise in Saltfjellet mountain region when the call came in. All day long an endless chain of hueys – Bell UH-1 – helicopters came from the valley, landed on the airport here, and then flew in again. After having spent several days without sleep, my uncle finally got som R&R.
I met him at the local police-station. Arco, his German Shepherd police dog just lay there, totally exhausted and my uncle was very worn. His face said it all. Digging all those victims out of the snow and seeing what terrible destiny had struck them down had, set a lifelong mark in my uncle. 16 soldiers were killed in that accident. The heaviest loss of Norwegian military personnel in peace-time.
And right now, 32,600 feet are really walking on eggshells. The Avalanche Warning is currently at its highest! Lots and lots of snow, combined with periods of mild weather earlier this month, and heavy winds, has set the scene for many new avalanches in the days to come. So I cross my fingers that the guys and girls out there tread lightly and stay away from the danger-areas. I am crossing my fingers that all the 32,600 coming into the area also will exit the area, unskaved, every last one of them.
You may not think too much about it, but almost every item you are in contact with every day, practically every second is impacted by one very essential thing: weather… Think about it, industry transport goods over the oceans or through the air. Maintaining a major road takes planning and is dependent on good weather forecasts. What is an almost dead-certain part of any news broadcast where ever you are on the planet? Weather forecasts… And the man that invented the science that makes modern, scientific weather forecasts possible, was the Norwegian Vilhelm Bjerknes. Until he did it, nobody thought it would be possible to predict weather with any accuracy.
In a country where you can always start a conversation with a chat about the weather – Norway – (we have a lot of it here) we celebrate the 150 year birthday of this remarkable man who contributed so much to making your modern, everyday-life possible!
I had the unspeakable pleasure of visiting Skagen Museum – the home of the Danish Golden Age of Art. Skagen is the very northern tip of Jutland with two Oceans meeting. This gives a rare and quite magical light, which inspired the artist community, mainly of painters, but also poets, which steadily expanded in this area. Inspired by the new romantic era in Europe, where finding the “original” the “mystical” and mans struggle against nature became currents that dictated the art, Skagen was a perfect setting. A small community struggling to maintain the daily life, mainly by fishing in some of the wildest seas.
Skagen Museum is a must see! This Treasure Trove of fantastic art was a real eye opener for me. One thing is seeing all these famous paintings on TV or in magazines, quite another is to actually experience the light, the painters strokes and dimensions in “real life”… And being a public museum, they allowed photographing – without flash of course (flash-light will over time ruin the light-sensitive pigments in the painting). So I shot and looked and shot again. Mainly to perhaps pick up a few pointers for my own paintings.
Here are a few for you to enjoy – BUT like I said, this is a must see, so if you ever plan a trip to Denmark, make sure your calendar is open for a visit to Skagen, both to experience the nature first hand, but also see this – luckily – public display of some of the World’s Greatest Paintings!
I designed the logo on the front page of the new homepage for the aeroclub in Narvik. It says: Save Narvik Airport Framnes -fly for life!
A few politicians and moneymen in Narvik have decided to shut down this airport and effectively cut off the population from a vital air ambulance service which saves hundreds of lives every year.
Furthermore this airport, in spite of politicians trying to strangle it by restricting commercial flights, actually has a nearly 10% annual growth in passenger traffic.
And finally it is the hub for a vibrant aerosport club. Please visit their brand new website! http://narvikflyklubb.no/
Weser Stahl is almost fully loaded and ready to set the course out Vestfjorden. The orange and blue machine in the background is the loader weighing 4,600 metric tonns. Below the tip of the loader you can see the black stream of iron ore pelets which has come all the way from deep down in the iron ore mines up in the Swedish mountains by train down to the all-year-round ice-free harbor of Narvik. That black stream of iron ore pellets being dumped deep into the cargo bays of the carrier is being dumped at a rate of 1-2 metric tonns per second.
The northern part of Jutland is at the mercy of the eroding forces from both wind and seas. The lanscape has changed radically the pas few hundred years – and continues to do so, as these pictures will show you. There isn’t much resistance in compacted sand…
In the otherwise green northern parts of Denmark, sand is moving right across the country in the general direction of the wind from West to East. This flying sand is moving like a dessert, although the sand is quite moist. The moving sand has throughout history buried houses, farms, roads and churches and only after many years when the sand has passed the area, these abandoned farming community appears on the back side of this moving dessert. However, the sand erodes the fertile top soil and carries it away with the wind leaving barron marshes in it’s wake.
I shot this photo in a particular area called Raabjerg Mile (Råbjerg Mile).
On the very Northern tip of Denmark there are three distinct lighthouses – Grå Fyr (The Grey Lighthouse, still active) – Hvide Fyr (The White Lighthouse) and Vippefyr (The Tilt Beacon) which all signals the importance and necessity throughout history to guide ships safely around this northern point of Jutland.
I shot a thsi photos on Grenen (translated from Danish: “The Branch”), the very top of Denmark, where the North Sea meets Skagerag. It was bitterly cold with -7 degrees Celsius, moist air and wind so my wool underwear and sweaters was highly apreciated! The coastline is constantly moving and the seas and winds meets – often times – violently. This has been one of the most dangerous places on The Seven Seas, having lead in earlier times to numerous shipwrecks.
The SOPA and PIPA law proposals are postponed indefinately! Which means the World’s Population – not the Entertainment Industry – still has the democratic control over the internet! (For now)
So in order to join in the free expression of the world this entire blog is free under a CC – Creative Commons License – with the following limitations:
Commercial Use: NO (right back at you, greedy entertainement industry) Not without my written permission.
Share alike/alter the work: Yes, you may alter and share my pictures, videos or texts from this blog, as long as you link back to the blog. But still, if for commercial use, you need my written permission.
This license applies to The Whole World!
Dette verk er lisensieret under en Creative Commons Navngivelse-Ikkekommersiell-DelPåSammeVilkår 3.0 Unported lisens.
- Do you prefer a safe Internet?
- Do you prefer a stable Internet?
- Do you prefer the old security of rights “Innocent until proven Guilty” to still be a golden rule in democratic societies?
- Do you support a free, prosperous Internet
- Do you oppose giving control over the World’s most significant tool for Prosperity and Freedom of Expression to the entertainment industry and dictatorius regimes?
Please, watch these film:
This has NOTHING to do with protecting artists’ Copyright! They are already protected through the law over most parts of the world – and I support the ones I like by buying their music and films.
This has EVERYTHING to do with giving the Entertainment Industry (and subsequently corrupt regimes) the TOTAL control over The Internet…
Still not convinced: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJIuYgIvKsc
- If you are a US citizen, please, contact your congressman today and protest!
- Do you know a US citizen, please urge him/her to protest!
On 1/24 it could be too late… The clock is ticking…
In accordance with tradition I purchased the annual Christmas Tree yesterday from the local Lions Club outside the local supermarket REMA 1000 on Ankenes. Lions Club Narvik/Ankenes is a fantastic club! Every year the comb the area for land owners with Christmas Tree sized spuces (Norway Spruce) to sell for Christmas. Once they have found areas suitable for Christmas Trees, they go up (it is usually up a hill side or mountain) into the woods and cut spruces, drag them down to the nearest road and transport them into town.
The spruce I bought yesterday, was a fantastic tree. It smelled just like a spruce is supposed to smell like! And the branches was so thightly packed, it was just amazing! And all the trees for sale looked amazing!
So – what’s the money used for?
Like any other respectable Lions Club, Lions Club Narvik/Ankenes work for free to earn money for humanitarian projects in the local area, nation-wide and internationally.
Today I stopped by with my camera. I would say -9 degrees is pretty cold for a lion, but not these Lions! Their hearts are plenty warm by the important job they are doing to help their fellow human beings (and environment!) to endure the cold winter weather! I took a few shots of the Lions on Ankenes in action.
Do you want to buy the very best looking and smelling Christmas Trees in Narvik? And do you want to help people in need? Here’s the Lions Club sales stand by Rema 1000:
The cutter “Ariadne” this evening in the port of Narvik. “Ariadne” is owned by Narvik Kystlag – an organization for the preservation of traditional vessels in the Ofoten area. Ariadne was taken over in 2005 by Narvik Kystlag from Nordnorsk Fartøyvernsenter og Båtmuseum – an organization for the preservation of traditional North-Norwegian sea-faring culture.
Classic clipper hull – stunningly beautiful lines – although it looks like tha hull has been somewhat rebuilt throughout the years.
I guess it’s in my Viking Blood. There are few other places I feel more at home than by and – especially – on the seas! And I know at least one place where the genes ran especially salty in the family – my Grandfather, Rolv Meyer Bjugn. Today I am sailing “just for fun” as 1st Officer on the proud Danish Jagt “Klitta” where I help teaching cub scouts about the joys of The Big Blue.
I just revisited some old pictures of my grandfather and the “modern” fishing vessel – the old N-5-Bø (N-5-Boe, in case the last letter in the registration doesn’t show correctly on your screen) – HAVLEIK. They later on bought a new, bigger wooden hull fishing vessel (63 ft.) and took the same registration number – N-5-Bø and the name Havleik. The “new” Havleik was later sold. She sank after a blazing fire off the coast outside Nesseby in Varangerfjord on the 25th of March 2008 – the entire crew made it in the rafts – but that’s another story. That fire put an end to the 89 year long Havleik era.
The first Havleik
- was built in 1919, with
- a 46 feet clipper hull – width 16.2 feet
- In 1920 she was registered with a Bergsund 28 hp engine. The shipping company owning the ship at that time was registered to Peder Bjugn from Lynghaugen, Bø (Boe) in Vesteraalen.
- In 1936 she was registered with a Norwegian Wichmann 30 hp (the Wichmann was a semi-diesel engine – that is a two-stroke diesel engine).
- Havleik consists of the two Norwegian nouns “hav“, which means sea and “leik” which means “play” (or loosly translated, “joy”). Thanks to Inge M. Johansen – gamlebilderfravesteralen.origo.no – I found these older b/w photos of this classic beauty. Locally she was known as “The Big 5’er” – relating to the registration number N-5-Bø (N for Nordland – the thrid northernmost county – fylke – in Norway).
When the new Havleik was bought – the old one was sold to Kvæfjord outside Harstad. There she laid by an old peer year after year until her hull finally sprung a leak and she sank to the bottom. She was never recovered. An immensely sad way to treat such a gemstone of proud Norwegian culture and a classically beautiful ship.
So what about the fish?
After the fish was landed by the regional fishing vessels and preserved by freeze drying (known as tørrfisk in Norwegian meaning “dried fish” – stockfish), salting and/or – salting and sun drying (known as klippfisk), the produce was loaded onto bigger vessels known as Jekter or Nordlandsjekter. These are quite similar to my vessel – the Danish Yacht Klitta – only bigger. These sailed up and down the perilous Norwegian Coast, primarily to and from Bergen. In Bergen the fish was loaded onto even larger vessels and exported to Europe. Especially Portugal, Spain and Italy has historically been huge importers of Norwegian dried and salted fish.
The North-Atlantic fish (especially the species of cod and herring) is extremely nutritious and the cold, windy climate in the winter was perfect for freeze drying fish. The fish was hung on tall wooden racks and froze while at the same time dried (a process known as sublimation). Freeze dried fish – stockfish – has been known to be edible more than 100 years after being dried…
The other main method of preserving the fish, was salting it and sun drying it on the rocks. One Norwegian word for these rocks – and the same word as the English name “cliff” is “klippe” – hence the name “klippfisk” – “cliff fish” – clipfish.
Of course – fresh fish has been a primary source of nutrition for Norwegians since long before the Viking Period. But preservation has always been necessary for storage in case the weather didn’t allow for fishing. Later on these preserved and highly nutritious “protein bombs” became important sources for proteins in the mediterranean countries like Portugal, Spain and Italy. Later on canned Norwegian fish also became hugely popular in other European countries like Great Brittain.
You probably remember where you were on 9/11 2001? I was on my way to the pharmacy to pick up some drugs for my father. We had nursed him at home for some time at that point, due to the total incompetence of the local hospital. While driving to town I heard about the terror against the Twin Towers in New York. For the first few seconds I was convinced I had tuned into a film review program. It sounded unreal. The story was so fantastically unbelievable, that I was sure they in the next sentence would mention some director or actor. That was until I heard one of NRK’s famous reporters live from New York. That’s when it dawned on me – the world would never be the same again…
Three days later my dear, loving, wise father passed away from cancer. That is a week I’ll never ever forget – as long as I live. I guess the hurt and the sorrow from these so very evil days has become a part of me. They will never go away, they will probably never truly heal – but they are getting better and more integrated into who I am as a person for every passing day. And in the end – maybe that is what will matter.
By these beautiful – and so very true – words from the film “Dying to have known”, I leave this day and week in the hope of a better world with an end to naivety, stupidity and a prayer for all man kind to serve The Good and turn their back on evil:
For each of us eventually – whether we’re ready or not – some day, it will come to an end. There will be no more sunrises, no more minutes, hours or days. All the things you collected – whether treasured or forgotten – will pass to someone else. Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or owed. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear. So too your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do-lists will expire. The wins and losses – that once seemed so important – will fade away. It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived at the end. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured? What will matter is not what you bought but what you built. Not what you got but what you gave. What will matter is not what you learned but what you thought. What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered and encouraged others to emulate your example. What will matter is not your competence but your character. What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone. What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live on in those who loved you. What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.