Virtual 17th of May Celebrations for Norway’s Constitution Day

Curious how you can celebrate Norway’s national day on Monday, May 17? With the pandemic still limiting how we can celebrate, organizations are hosting virtual events this year as well. Below you’ll find a sampling of virtual events from various locations around the U.S. with strong Norwegian ties as well as Norway’s own national broadcast. In this listing, all times have all been converted to Pacific Daylight Time for ease of planning.

On our national day, Norwegians celebrate the signing of their constitution which happened on May 17, 1814. However, Norway’s call for independence was not accepted and so it stayed in a union with Sweden and didn’t become independent until 1905.

It is known to be a day of children’s parades and marching bands, hot dogs and ice cream, speeches and songs, and bunads and flags. “The celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day is a party like no other.”


11:50 p.m. (5/16) – 7:00 a.m. (5/17) Pacific Daylight Time — NRK’s Gratulerer med dagen!

This is a tough one for folk on the U.S. West Coast to watch live due to the time difference, but you’ll be able to watch a recording at your convenience. Produced by Norway’s national TV station, program hosts Nadia Hasnaoui og Christian Strand will be filming from Oslo’s Akershus festning (Akershus Castle) overlooking the Oslo Harbor. In addition to seeing how Norwegians all over Norway celebrate, you will also get a glimpse of how the royal family will commemorate the day. There will be food and entertainment segments as well. For details on the program, visit Slik blir 17. mai 2021 på NRK (in Norwegian).

7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., and 1:00 p.m. PDT — Norway Day: A Virtual Celebration from New York City & Washington DC

Norway Day is a collaboration between Sjømannskirken in New York and Norwegian groups and organizations in New York and Washington, D.C. At 7:00 a.m. PT, join the Raising of the Flag ceremony which includes a speech by the Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S., Anniken Ramberg Krutnes, and music from Rockville Brass Band. This is followed by a church service from the Norwegian Church in New York at 8:00 a.m. PT (service in Norwegian). Finally, at 1:00 p.m. PT enjoy a 17th of May concert with musicians from both Norway and USA.

9:00 a.m. PDT – 17. mai Celebration at Pacific Lutheran University/Scandinavian Cultural Center

Join PLU’s Scandinavian Cultural Center in Tacoma, WA, for the premiere of their 17. mai – Norwegian Constitution Day celebration.

10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT — Virtual Kids’ Craft: Collage a Norwegian Flag for Syttende Mai

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, and celebrate Syttende Mai with a Norwegian flag art project! Make a Norwegian collage flag. Cost: Free; RSVP required to receive the link.

10:00 a.m. PDT — Syttende Mai with Vesterheim

Join Vesterheim in Decorah, Iowa, for a free webinar as they celebrate Syttende Mai with friends from Norway and the United States! First Norwegian storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen will join the webinar from Ryfylkemuseet at Sand, Norway, to tell the story, Schoolgirl and My Very First May 17th Parade in 1962. Next, Decorah musicians Beth and Jon Rotto (playing fiddle and rhythm guitar, respectively) will offer Norwegian and Norwegian-American tunes from the Bethania Church in Vesterheim’s Heritage Park.
Register to receive the free Zoom link.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PDT — Syttende Mai Celebration with Seattle

Join an online celebration from Seattle’s historic Ballard neighborhood. It will begin with a pre-program lineup of entertainment and fun from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Then a virtual program from The National Nordic Museum will feature remarks from Grand Marshal Mayor Marte Mjøs Persen from Seattle’s Sister City Bergen; Honorary Marshal Eric Nelson, CEO, National Nordic Museum; and Ambassador Anniken R. Krutnes, Royal Norwegian Embassy; and His Majesty King Harald V of Norway. It will also include memories from past Syttende Mai celebrations and Syttende Mai song sing-alongs.

5:00-6:00 p.m. PDT — Syttende Mai Celebration with Minnesota

Syttende Mai Minnesota will host an online event in honor of Norway’s Constitution Day. Connect with the Norwegian-American community and hear remarks from Her Excellency Ambassador Anniken Krutnes, Norway’s Ambassador to the United States. Afterwards, Ethan Bjelland from Norway House and Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program will lead us in singing a few celebratory songs! This event is complimentary and accessible to everyone. Register by May 16.

5:30 p.m. PDT — 17. mai feiring med Sjømannskirken i Los Angeles

Sjømannskirken in Los Angeles is hosting an in-person celebration with limited capacity. However, festivities will be live-streamed on their Facebook page for those who would like to follow along. The program includes speeches, music, song, Norwegian flags, and a raffle.


How will you be celebrating 17. mai this year?