Friday, 9 May 2014

Norway's Constitution bicentenary coming up

Norway celebrates the bicentenary of its independence this year and next week will be filled with events to mark the bicentenary of the Constitution, which was passed at Eidsvoll on 16 May 1814 and signed and dated the following day, when Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark was elected King of Norway.
The main events will obviously take place on 17 May. In addition to the usual National Day celebrations there will be a televised gala from the park at Eidsvoll Manor, where the Constituent Assembly was held. For this event the King and Queen and the Crown Prince and Crown Princess will be joined by the Queen and Prince Consort of Denmark and, very reluctantly, the King and Queen of Sweden. For a few hours this day the original Constitution, which is usually kept under lock and key in the Parliamentary Archives, will be brought back
Two days prior, at noon on 15 May, Parliament will hold a special commemorative meeting. This will be one of the rare occasions when the King is present in Parliament (the Constitution forbids his presence during parliamentary deliberations, a remnant from the days the King might try to coerce Parliament into doing what he wanted), and the King will be accompanied by the Queen, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess and Princess Astrid. At previous such events the children of the royal family have also attended, but it remains to be seen whether Princess Ingrid Alexandra and perhaps also Prince Sverre Magnus will make a first appearance in Parliament. Afterwards a public celebration will take place in Eidsvoll Square in front of the Parliament Building (while the King and Queen host a reception for mayors from across the country at the Palace).
On 18 May a statue of King Christian Frederik by the sculptor Kristian Blystad will be unveiled in Eidsvoll Square by Queen Margrethe in the presence of the King and Queen and Prince Consort Henrik.
Among other events is a banquet in the City Hall of Oslo on 14 May and an ecumenical service in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on 20 May, as well as several exhibitions at museums in Oslo as well as other places.

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