Norway Day

It’s Norwegian Constitution Day (syttende mai) today, celebrating the 1814 constitution. The union Denmark-Norway sided with Napoleonic France against the sixth coalition. In the Treaty of Kiel (Kielfreden), January 14 1814, hostilities ended between Denmark-Norway and the opposition, mainly United Kingdom and Sweden. The coalition defeated the French at the Battle of Nations (Leipzig) in October 1813, and although Danish and Swedish battles continued, the result was inevitable. With the coalition poised to take Paris, the Danish surrendered.

The terms of the Treaty of Kiel were harsh for Denmark: Frederick VI ceded Heligoland to George III, and most of Norway to the Swedish King Karl XIII. Norway didn’t accept the terms, however, and with the Swedish army on the continent, the Danish crown prince and viceroy, Christian Frederick, helped set up an independence movement. Norway’s national assembly declared independence in Eidsvoll, May 17th. After a short war with Sweden, a union was agreed with Sweden with the Convention of Moss, and the Swedish King was elected as King of Norway.

If I remember correctly, this is my seventh syttende mai abroad. It will be celebrated by reading Peer Gynt and Knausgård (above) on the train. I even have a flag my dad sent me some years ago.

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