Here comes the 17th of May!

Gratulerer med dagen!


Photo: Lars Idar Waage
The 17th of May is a day for children, and with this issue, we honor to the children of the world.

Dear readers and friends,

It seems like it was not so long ago that I was writing a 17th of May greeting to you, but on the other hand, so much has happened in the past year. Our economy has come back into gear and people are traveling again like never before, while at the same time global conflicts are escalating. We live in a time of fluctuation and uncertainty for the future. All of this has made putting together our Syttende Mai issue more meaningful than ever.

Someone once asked me how we can come up with new ideas for the 17th of May over and over. The answer to this is simple: we will never run out of ideas and content for a celebration that holds so much significance for us, for what could be more important than the basic fundamentals of our democratic and free society laid out in the U.S. and Norwegian constitutions? Every time we revisit these concepts, I am struck by their profound significance for our way of life.

Dedicated to our children

In our busy lives, it’s important to remember that we need to take time for our loved ones, not in the least, our little ones. That is one of the reasons why this Syttende Mai issue is dedicated to the children of the world—all of them—for they are our hope, our future. And, as many of you know, Norwegian Constitution Day is a day for children.

In connection with all of this, The Norwegian American has initiated a special project together with Norway House in Minneapolis to reach out to children and their families. Between May 2 and July 28, we will host our own Democracy Center to teach children about the basics of a democratic society, what freedom means, and perhaps most importantly, the importance of actively participating in the process as a voter. You can read more about this in a special feature article written by our spring intern, Maya Winkel from Luther College.

And then, perhaps the best thing about the Democracy Center project is that activities organized for its Kids’ Corner are available online at for children everywhere to enjoy.

Past and present come together

The 17th of May is a time to think about both past and present. At this time of the year, on May 8, we celebrate Frigjøringsdagen, Liberation Day in Norway, celebrating the end of World War II in Europe and Norway’s liberation from the German occupation from 1940 to 1945. We are always pleased to present content to commemorate the bravery of those who fought for freedom. With this issue, we are especially proud to present excellent articles by Jerry Pugnetti and Janet Oakley about two places where the patriotism and bravery of World II heroes is remembered.

And then there is all the content about what is happening right now—and what could be more exciting than a royal visit to the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle? Unfortunately, I was not able attend because of personal bereavement, but my colleagues really stepped up to the plate. Many thanks to  Professor Robin Strand and his graduate students at U.C. Berkeley helping to provide coverage of the California events, and huge shout-out to Eric Stavney for his work in Seattle. Be sure to check out Eric’s podcast at —it’s a wonderful resource for anyone interested in Nordic culture.

I also must give a special thanks to our Alaska corespondent Christie Ericson, who attended the Arctic Encounter Symposium in Anchorage. It is an event of major importance for global cooperation in economic development and climate issues, among other things. A busy academic, Christie has also brought us another Norsk 101 to enjoy.

I cannot thank everyone enough for all the work they have done on this issue. There is such a variety of content.  And, oh yes, we do have recipes for your holiday. Our Taste of Norway Editor, Kristi Bissell, and I had a blast  working on this for you, and a special thinks to Maggie Øyen at Mandel for her tips on how to make a perfect kransekake, the crowing piece for your holiday table.

At that, I wish you many hours of happy reading and a wonderful Syttende Mai!

Lori Ann 

Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American

This article originally appeared in the May 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.