Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Centennial Celebrations in Norway

Centennial Celebrations

Today, June 7th marks the centennial of the peaceful dissolving of the union with Sweden on June 7th 1905. There will be parades, festivities, concerts and other cultural events across the nation, and a special memorial session of Parliament, with King Harald and other members of the Royal Family present. This means that the King has resumed his official duties, following his sick leave due to his heart operation in March.

Sweden and Norway were "close to war"

The split has been viewed by history as being largely peaceful. In September 1905, in an atmosphere of suspicion, Sweden went so far as to send 5,000 fully-equipped soldiers to the Norwegian border. Norway responded with the partial mobilisation of its army. But with the posturing threatening to burst into conflict, Lundeberg met Norway's leader, Christian Michelsen and they reached a compromise.

Sun finally smiles on the Centennial

Tuesday's celebrations mark Norwegian politicians' decision on June 7, 1905 to break out of a union with Sweden that had existed for most of the 1800s. Before that, Norway had been under Danish rule for around 400 years, so the decision meant the formal beginning of an indendence process that lasted until late November, when Norway established its own monarchy and emerged as a sovereign nation.

New 'union' with Sweden takes shape

A key issue contributing to the dissolution was Norway's desire for its own consular service for representation overseas. Today, things have come full circle, with Norway and Sweden even sharing some embassies and consular services.


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