Til Dovre faller

Rapping it up for 17. mai

Til Dovre faller

Photo: Screen capture / YouTube / NRK
Til Dovre faller is a music video produced to commemorate the 2014 bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Norwegian Constitution in Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814.

Synneva Bratland
Editorial Assistant
The Norwegian American

The year 2014 marked the bicentennial of the Norwegian constitution, signed on May 17, 1814, in Eidsvoll. In commemoration, NRK Super, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation’s children’s channel, produced a music video outlining the history, context, and impact of the signing of the constitution.

The video Til Dovre faller features 112 local children—each child represents one of the original 112 men who were present at the signing of the constitution in 1814.

The children rap, sing, and dance in rooms throughout Eidsvoll Manor House, with the main action taking place in the hall where the constitution was signed.

The song recounts the more than 400 years that Norway was under Danish rule in a union with Denmark that began in 1524, following the dissolution of the Kalmar Union of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway  (1397–1523). When they were defeated in the Napoleonic War in 1813, Denmark was forced to surrender Norway to Sweden.

This transfer of governance wasn’t well received by many Norwegians who wished to govern themselves. As a result, men were gathered from across southern Norway to create a constitution.

At the end of the assembly, the men took each other arm in arm and pledged to be “enig og tro til Dovre faller”—“faithful and true until Dovre falls”—referencing some of Norway’s largest and most well-known mountains. This phrase, though not written in the constitution, has since become one of the most famous in Norwegian political history, and it is where the video takes its namesake from.

While the video is full of historical information, it also has something to say about modern politics and the ways that things have changed in the 200 years since the country’s founding.

Despite the fact that women were not allowed to be involved in official politics in 1814, many of the most prominent performers in the video are young girls, including the main dancer/narrator.  This shift highlights just how much has changed in terms of gender equality and representation in the centuries that have passed.

To watch the video, go to nrksuper.no/serie/musikkvideoer-nrk-super/MSUB04000114.

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

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