Jeg onsker dere alle, “GOD SYTTENDE MAI!”*

All across the upper Midwest today, and wherever else we have roamed, you’ll hear the phrase above. It’s important to us, it’s also a good reason to drink Aquavit, one of the few good things we got from the Swedes. You see, as all the Ole’s and Lena’s know, the 17th of May is Norwegian Constitution Day, celebrated here and at home as well.

Many people mistake it for Norwegian Independence day which it is not.

On May 17, 1814, after ratification by the national assembly organized by the independence movement on May 16, the new CONSTITUTION for NORWAY was signed. The reality that this CONSTITUTION came in context with a very strong movement in NORWAY for INDEPENDENCE from SWEDEN. Unable to gain international support forced NORWAY after a short war to negotiate with SWEDEN. NORWAY was allowed to keep its own CONSTITUTION, but had to accept the KING OF SWEDEN as its monarch. For more historical information and perspective, read, “Constitution of Norway” in Wikipedia.

So we were stuck with loyalty to the Swedish Crown until 1905. It was never all that popular but Norwegians being rather stolid we soldiered on, and in good time…

This meant that NORWAY was subservient to SWEDEN under the KING of SWEDEN. The vision of and movement for INDEPENDENCE continued and was AT LONG LAST brought to fruition on June 7, 1905 when, having revoked the Constitutional amendments which ended the “personal union” with the King of Sweden, the NORWEGIAN PARLIAMENT took action to create an INDEPENDENT NORWAY with its own KING. This is a very complicated and interesting process with democratic ideas and processes pressing the whole process.

NORWAY did gain its own KING! The Parliament invited Prince Carl of Denmark to become KING. Understanding the NORWEGIAN movement toward democracy, he said he would consider becoming the KING only after a REFERENDUM of the PEOPLE of NORWAY to vote on whether they wanted a REPUBLIC or a CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY.

The PEOPLE of NORWAY voted 79% for the CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY. Prince Carl accepted election as KING of NORWAY. He and his family came to NORWAY. He was the MORE popular when he chose the historic name of NORWEGIAN kings, “HAAKON” and became King Haakon VII of Norway. King Haakon VII took the OATH as monarch on November 25, 1905 – 2 days after he arrived in Norway from Denmark. King Haakon VII was crowned KING of NORWAY at NIDAROSDOMEN (the cathedral in Trondheim) on June 22, 1906. Again, there are numerous interesting facets of the whole process, so I encourage you to read more in Wikipedia, “Haakon VII of Norway.”

Excerpted from:

TODAY is SYTTENDE MAI, the Norwegian CONSTITUTION Day, NOT independence day!

I suppose I could add here that my mother’s family is from Trondheim, the ancient capital, while my father’s is from Oslo, the current capital.

Coat of Arms of Oslo

I read a story, which I believe to be true, that when during World War Two, King Haakon VII was holding court, in exile in Scotland, a young man, a member of the Resistance, who had been injured by the Germans and escaped, was brought to the King. At the door, he straightened up and despite grievous injuries to his leg, walked without a limp to the King. Afterward, he remarked that “A man does not limp while his legs are the same length”. Such is the Heritage we have carried down from the Sagamen of the Viking age. And such is our reverence for freedom, independence, and written constitutions. We waited 90 years for a King of our own, who says perseverance, and steadfastness doesn’t pay.

O Valdres,  O Valdres, thou home in our hearts.

For immigrant families, an ocean apart.

Your valleys and mountains with lofty peaks high,

The mem’ries we cherish tho’ years have gone by;

O Valdres, your beauty is seen by day’s light,

Queen of the Valleys, a beacon at night.

For you now, O Norge, our hands cross the sea,

We all join together in one family.

Our homeland forever, our homage we give,

From all distant shores wherever we live,

O Norge, you call us from all walk of life,

In peace, love and joy, our hearts now unite.

Gretchen Dokken-Hellie

* I wish YOU ALL, “Good 17th of May!”


About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

9 Responses to Jeg onsker dere alle, “GOD SYTTENDE MAI!”*

  1. Reblogged this on Boudica2015.


  2. the unit says:

    I guess Norwegians believe in individual responsibility. says about aquavit:
    “Norwegians will tell you that their variety has the most distinctive character and strongest flavour. It’s up to you to determine if you think that’s a good thing or not!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Yep, and you know how I feel about it! Of course it depends if you like rye bread! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        I do and always did like rye bread.
        Leave it to Americans though to expand its use. According to two sources, George Washington made a fortune distilling rye into whiskey at his Mount Vernon estate. And by 1808 Allegheny County farmers were selling one half barrel for each man, woman and child in the country.
        I don’t know if those are facts or myths. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Washington made whiskey, that much is true, whether he made a fortune or not depends on a bunch of variables.

          Probably so. Whiskey in pre railroad America was portable corn (to a point rye, and wheat, as well), as were hogs. Can you imagine trying to float a corn crop, or worse flour, down the Mississippi on a flatboat. The way it really worked is the Old Northwest fed the Old Southwest which produced cotton for the world.

          If the south had seceded in 1850, likely Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois would have as well. Or had no market.

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          If I’d lived back in those days, 1808, I’d probably be the guy that a shyster sold the half empty barrel to, instead of the half full barrel. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Indeed! 🙂


        • the unit says:

          Maybe this describes why Washington wanted to retire back to Mount Vernon. 🙂
          ‘Nancy Whiskey’ (note source relates Nancy not a woman)
          As I walked into Glasgow City
          Nancy Whiskey I chanced to spy
          I walked in, sat down beside her
          Seven long years spent by her side.
          Whiskey, Whiskey, Nancy Whiskey
          Whiskey, Whiskey, Nancy-O
          I’ve got silver in my pockets
          And I’m going to follow wherever you go.

          The more I kissed her, the more I loved her
          The more I kissed her, the more she smiled
          I forgot my mother’s warning
          Nancy soon had me beguiled.
          Whiskey, Whiskey, Nancy Whiskey
          Whiskey, Whiskey, Nancy-O
          I’ve got silver in my pockets
          And I’m going to follow wherever you go.

          As I walked down through Glasgow City
          With a heavy heavy heart and an achin’ pain
          So many men all courtin’ Nancy
          I’ll not leave that lass again.

          Whiskey, Whiskey, Nancy Whiskey
          Whiskey, Whiskey, Nancy-O
          I’ve got silver in my pockets
          And I’m going to follow wherever you go.

          And repeat last two lines.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:



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