Norwegian Ambassador to Mexico Merethe Nergaard marked her country’s national day on Tuesday, May 17, with an afternoon reception at her residence.
“May 17 is a very important date for Norwegians, both for those at home and those abroad,” Nergaard said in a brief welcome speech.
“We traditionally celebrate the day with bunads (traditional Norwegian clothing), flags, orchestras, typical cuisine, ice cream and beer, because first and foremost, it is a day to celebrate our children, which is to say, our future.”
Nergaard went on to say that the official holiday commemorates the drafting of her country’s magna carta and is an occasion for Norwegians to step back and appreciate the fact that they live in a country of peace and democracy.
“We celebrate our good fortune and the fact that our prosperity is dispersed among all Norwegians,” she said.
“In Norway, our royals can use public transportation and we all attend the same schools. We believe and trust in our institutions and authorities. May 17 is a day to celebrate our democratic and egalitarian values and our tradition of tolerance and respect for human rights.”
Nergaard also spoke briefly about Norwegian-Mexican bilateral relations, which she said were excellent and increasing.
She likewise said that Norway fully endorses an updating of the multidimensional free trade agreement between Mexico and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) — composed of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland — with an eye to broadening commercial cooperation.
Currently, combined bilateral trade between Norway and Mexico amounts to about $282 million annually.
In 1319, Norway was linked with Sweden in a political union after surviving more than 400 years as a self-governing and independent realm.
Some 60 years later, Norway and Denmark were united under the same king, an act which eventually led to Norway being integrated into a single Danish-Norwegian unified state with Denmark as the realm’s dominant partner and Copenhagen as the unchallenged capital seat.
But under the Treaty of Kiel on Jan. 14, 1814, the Danish-Norwegian dual monarchy was officially dissolved and King Fredrik IV of Denmark was forced to cede Norway to Sweden.
On May 17, 1814, a constituent assembly called by then-Governor of Norway Christian Frederik met in Eidsvoll to draw up the historic document which declared total independence for the Scandinavian nation.
Frederik was then elected to the throne, but was forced to resign after a bogus 14-day war.