The 17th of May is our national day, the day we got our constitution (17th May 1814). There are parades with schoolchildren and school bands playing brass music, all over the country. In big cities and on the countryside. Prior to this day there was a big discussion about our flag, and about nationalism: is it good, is it bad? Some think this is bad in a modern world. And Norway has now one of the fastest growing population in Europe, thanks to immigration. Personally I think we have a challenge when there are more immigrants than there are children born. Because the changes are happening so fast. Others want no discussion, it is not a topic.The Swedish author Henrik Arnstad even claimed that Norway is characterized by extreme nationalism – and are therefore particularly susceptible to fascist ideas. Claims that were well contradicted by the Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård, among others.
We also had a big discussion about a school with school children from all around the world who wanted to use flags from a lot of countries in their 17the May parade. I don’t want a flag ban. I just agree with those who say that our flag is an important symbol. We are a small country and it is nice to be able to celebrate freedom, democracy and our constitution. Together. Hopefully it will last. And I hope for peace and freedom in countries were this simply does not excist. More pictures from out national day on this link.