17th of May greetings from Norwegian Ambassador Kåre R. Aas

Kåre R. Aas

Photo: David Pedersen
Ambassador Kåre Aas joined the children of Seattle in the Ballard neighborhood 2018 Syttende Mai parade.

Ambassador Kåre R. Aas
The Norwegian Embassy
Washington, D.C.

Dear readers of The Norwegian American,

May 17, Norway’s Constitution Day, is upon us again. It’s a day Norwegians look forward to every year. Throughout our long and narrow stretch of land, we come together, people of all ages, from all walks of life, to celebrate our national unity, our democracy, and our traditions.

With children’s parades and marching bands, we rejoice at being Norwegian. We also recognize and commemorate those who fought to defend our freedom. And we honor the open-minded and forward-looking authors of the Constitution of 1814. Our “founding fathers” were, as many will know, strongly inspired by the revolutionary principles of the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

The focus on equality, inalienable rights, and freedom represented a revolt against autocratic monarchs and privileged nobility. At the time, few other nations had so publicly embraced such forward-thinking ideals.

Today, our friendship with the United States is a cornerstone of Norway’s foreign and security policy. Our countries have worked so closely and so well together for so long. It is a great comfort in this often-turbulent world to have a dependable, longstanding partnership to rely on.

But it also evolves, as new people and new ideas come onto the scene, and there are new global challenges to face. Our friendship with the United States is not something Norway takes for granted. We value it and continue to nurture it.

Because the United States and Norway work well together. We share many common values, such as a belief in the rule of law, and in basic human rights.

And of course it always helps to have a strong Norwegian-American community, a group of hearty people joined by a shared dual heritage, who are proud of both their Americanness and their Norwegianness. As I travel around the United States as part of my job as ambassador, I meet Norwegian Americans practically everywhere. People who share traditions and a culture that helps define them as part of this wonderful community. And yet each is an individual who brings something wonderful and different to the table.

So on this Syttende Mai, let us celebrate all the things that bring us together as a group, and all the things that make us individuals.

Gratulerer med dagen, Norge—Happy Birthday, Norway!

This article originally appeared in the May 3, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

Norwegian American Logo

The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.