Wales’ Norwegian community prepares to party alongside Beyoncé and her fans in Cardiff next week
Wales’ small but enthusiastic community of Norwegians will be partying alongside Beyoncé and her fans in Cardiff on Wednesday as they celebrate their national day at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay.
Norwegians in national dress will lead a procession from the Wales Millennium Centre to the Church, accompanied by the band of the Salvation Army.
Outside the waterside church the Norwegian flag will be raised and the national anthem “Ja, vi elsker dette landet (Yes, we love this land) – will be sung.
The Norwegian Church café will serve favourite food, such as waffles and cinnamon buns.
The 17th May is Norway’s Constitution Day – the day in 1814 that the country asserted its right to exist as an independent nation after four centuries of Danish rule.
It took a further 91 years before this was finally achieved.
In the century since then, however, Norway has become one of the wealthiest and countries in the world, helped by the discovery of oil and gas in the North Sea in the 1970s.
The government has managed to put away more than £200,000 in savings for every man, woman and child in the country as a result.
Norwegians originally came to south Wales as seamen and traders involved in the coal trade, bringing wood from Scandinavia to be used as pit props and taking Welsh coal for the country’s large merchant navy.
Author Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff to a Norwegian family of shipping agents. He was baptised in the Norwegian Seamen’s Church that was built in the Bute docks to serve visiting sailors, and which was relocated to the waterfront as part of the redevelopment of Cardiff Bay in the 1990s.
It reopened as a café, arts centre and venue exactly a year ago. The Norwegian Seamen’s Mission also established churches in Swansea, Barry and Newport.
A new exhibition telling the story of the Norwegian community in Cardiff and its church will open in the upstairs gallery to coincide with Norway’s National Day and the first anniversary of the church’s reopening.
It has been put together with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund by heritage officer and historian Thomas Husøy-Ciaccia, who has visited Norway gathering information from the archives, including despatches sent from Cardiff to Bergen a hundred years ago.
A full programme for the celebrations on Wednesday 17th May as well as information about the Norwegians in Wales is available on the website of the Welsh Norwegian Society here…….
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