17 of May – Norwegian Constitution Day
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 Constitution of Norway was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17 in the year 1814. The constitution declared Norway to be an independent nation.
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
What a fantastic World Championship!
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!
Still retaining “That ole Swiss Cheese Look”
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”.
Second Day of Summer
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…
Update March 18. 1200 zulu time – My Heart goes out
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…
Hurtigruten “Richard With” steaming in to the harbor bassin
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.
32,600 feet treading on “eggshells” – The Deadly White Monster
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.
This man touched your life profoundly today – Born 150 years ago
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/
The loader at LKAB
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.