Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images


The best places to celebrate May 17th

Get hold of a Norwegian flag, buy some ice cream, and join the party. You will never be far from a celebration.

Grand Hotel, Oslo

This old hotel is situated on the Karl Johan parade route. The children pass by and you can see all the way up to the Royal Palace. One of the very best locations to watch the parade is from the hotel roof bar, Eight.

Grand Hotel

Karl Johans gate 31, Oslo

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Photo: Shutterstock


“Did you see the sun yesterday?” “Yes, it scared me.” This classic Bergen joke sums up the weather here. It can rain up to 270 days a year in Bergen. However, the city is just as beautiful on a wet day, squeezed between spring green mountains. Bergen is famous for its buekorps, troops of marching children and teenagers, who join the ag parade on 17 May.


On the Arctic islands of Svalbard, halfway between Norway and the North Pole, 17 May is cele­brated against a backdrop of snow. Every year, there’s a salute, a flag raising, the laying of wreaths, and a parade. There are also family activities, exhibitions and festive performances. Minus degrees never put a dampener on the party mood, but if you do go there, take warm clothing.

New York

It doesn’t necessarily take too many Norwegians to organize a children’s parade and eat sausages and waffles on 17 May. New York is one of the cities where the national day is celebrated with pomp and circumstance. The Norwegian Seaman’s Church organizes an event consisting of lunch, speeches, a ­parade and a concert.

New York

317 East 52nd Street, New York, USA

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The Royal Palace, Oslo

The children’s parade terminates at the palace grounds where the royal family wave to parade-goers from the balcony. It’s ­always really crowded here on 17 May and you have to be quick to get a place in front of the palace.

The Royal Palace

Slottsplassen 1, Oslo

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Finse is 190km from Bergen, 1,222m above sea level. At Finsehytta, the 17 May celebrations start at 8am with a salute, the raising of the flag and the national anthem. Then, after breakfast, people strap on their skis and head for the Hardangerjøkulen glacier. Simple food is served at the glacier, then everyone heads back down again to Finsehytta for a buffet.


Rallarvegen 2612, Finse

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In the countryside

The novel Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun, is on the curriculum at all Norwegian schools. It’s about Isak Sellanraa who settles in a new area in the north of Norway. It’s a long way from the crowds in the capital, but many people love to celebrate their national day out in nature. “The best way to celebrate 17 May is by going fishing, with a red, white and blue maggot on the end of your line,” says ­Margrete Anti, who lives in the rural district of Karasjok in ­Finnmark, in the far north of the country.

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