Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Sons Of Norway dinner held right here in Kingston. Sharing the German "Bergvagabunden" Lodge on Greenkill Avenue, the members gathered for the feast. Do we look hungry?

I was joined by members of my family (seen above) as well as some familiar faces around the City of Kingston. It is with great pride that I announce that my brothers and I are now members. And like the legendary Vikings of lore, we can eat!

My grandparents came over from Trondheim (pictured above) one of the numerous port cities in Norway. It may have been a smaller fishing port in the distant past, but today it is known as the Technology Centre of the country.

During the 8–11th centuries, United Norway was characterized by expansion and emigration by Viking Harald Fairhair who unified the kingdoms into one country after the Battle of Hafrsfjord, thus becoming the first king of a united Norway. Harald's realm was mainly a south Norwegian coastal region, but he ruled with such a strong hand that many Norwegians left the country to live in Iceland, Greenland and parts of Britain and Ireland. The modern-day Irish Limerick, Dublin and Waterford were founded by Norwegian settlers.

Upon the death of Haakon V, King of Norway, in 1319, three year-old Magnus Erickson inherited the throne as King Magnus VII. At the same time a movement to make Magnus King of Sweden proved successful. Thus, both Sweden and Norway were united under King Magnus VII.

Magnus ruled until 1350, when his son, Haakon, was placed on the throne. In 1363, Haakon married Margaret, the daughter of Danish King Valdemar. Upon the death of Haakon in 1379, their son, Olaf , who had already been elected to the throne of Denmark, united Denmark and united Norway under a single throne.

In 1814, the Kingdom of Norway broke away from Denmark after 400 years of being under Danish control. On May 17 of this year, a constitution was established by the Kingdom of Norway at the Constituent Assembly at Eidsvold, and, although a Norway was part of a kingdom with Sweden until 1905, Norway has chosen the Seventeenth of May (Syttende Mai) as its day of Independence.

There was a peaceful separation of Norway from Sweden in 1905. After a national referendum confirmed the people's preference for a monarchy over a republic, the Norwegian government offered the throne of Norway to the Danish Prince Carl. This marked the first time in over 500 years that Norway was independent again. Syttende Mai is celebrated in cities worldwide where larger populations of Norwegian immigrants still cluster.

Could we ever see such a Celebration in the City of Kingston? It would be a struggle to retain the locals who travel to Brooklyn each year, but maybe we could set aside a prior weekend festival downtown like we do for St Patricks Day and Cinco De Mayo. It would be interesting to see how much interest there might be for such an event.

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1 comment:

Lars said...

Hi Mike.
It was hoped that my father should emigrate to Kingston from Oslo, Norway in 1947. He took the boat from Oslo, but resigned in Bergen and took the train back to Oslo. He would start as a carpenter apprentice in Kingston. In a Norwegian family.

Best from
Lars Moe
Oslo, Norway.