Support our Nation today - please donate here

Norwegian community in Wales extends a warm ‘velkommen’ to all as ‘Syttende Mai’ comes to Cardiff

06 May 2024 3 minute read
Martin Price welcomes the 2023 procession – image by the Welsh Norwegian Society

The Welsh Norwegian Society and the Norwegian Church Cardiff Bay are inviting the public to join their annual celebrations of Norway’s Constitution Day on Friday, 17 May.

The Welsh Norwegian Society celebrates the relationship that exists between the two countries.

Members include Norwegians living in Wales and beyond, people with family links to Norway, and others who have a particular interest in Norway and enjoy some of the Scandinavian traditions that are celebrated in Wales.

Norway’s constitution was a declaration of independence signed in 1814 after four centuries of rule by Denmark.

At first it was unsuccessful, and Norway fell under Swedish rule. Norway finally won its freedom as a nation in 1905, but in 1940 was invaded and occupied by the Nazis, who banned all displays of national pride, including the ‘Syttende Mai’ – 17th May celebrations.

Understandably, Norwegians today are fiercely proud of their hard-won independence.


The event is a highlight of the Welsh-Norwegian society’s calendar and aims to bring a flavour of the celebratory mood to Cardiff Bay.

The celebrations in Cardiff will begin at 4:45pm with a colourful flag-waving procession from the Wales Millennium Centre to the iconic Norwegian church, led by members of the Salvation Army band.

There, the Norwegian flag will be raised and the national anthem sung. Everyone will then be invited inside the church to enjoy music and speeches from representatives from Norway and Wales, including the Lord Mayor.

Norwegian-style refreshments including waffles and traditional cakes will be on sale at the arts centre café which will be open until the evening.

2023 saw one of the largest celebrations of Norway’s Constitution Day in Cardiff for some years, with almost 200 people joining the procession from the Wales Millennium Centre via the Senedd to the Norwegian Church on the bay side.


This year there will also be a small programme of free events at the church on Saturday, 18th May.

At 1pm the church historian, Thomas Alexander Husøy-Ciaccia, will give a talk on the history of the Norwegian seamen who travelled to south Wales and the church mission which was set up to support them, resulting in the building of churches in Cardiff, Barry and Swansea.

Between 2.30 and 4pm there will be Norwegian-themed arts and crafts activities available for children. Upstairs in the gallery there will also be an exhibition on Vestland county, Cardiff’s twin region in west Norway, curated by Norwegian exchange students.

“The 17th May is a day of celebration in Norway with the festivities usually starting with champagne breakfasts and lasting until late into the evening,” explains Bethan Winter of the Welsh Norwegian Society.

“The streets are lined with crowds eagerly waving flags and proudly dressed in their colourful and unique national costume, the ‘bunad’.”

Further information about the Welsh Norwegian Society and the Norwegian community in Wales can be found here and further information about the Norwegian Church Arts Centre can be found here.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 days ago

Wow, So we should celebrate someone else’ independence and sovereignty while we still are denied our own, even going as far as accepting the UK’s position. The people of Wales really are “Special”

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.