Having already given us gravadlax, pickled herring, Jarlsberg, and a Christmas tree for Trafalgar Square each year, those kind Norwegian folks are throwing a 17th May party in London to celebrate their national day on Monday.
17th May 1814 was the date of a constitution granting Norway independence (from Sweden and the likes...) and 196 years on, the day is still the biggest date in Norway’s calendar. And those Norwegians know how to party. There’s flags, cakes, akavit, marching bands, open sandwiches and plenty more flags - plus it’s a national holiday.
Unfortunately, London’s celebrations will be slightly lower-key and we’re not going to get a day off work, but there will be a prominent gathering in Southwark Park with flag hoisting, people dressed up in national costume and mountains of the beloved Norwegian hotdogs (which aren’t dissimilar from the Swedish hotdogs you may have sampled at Ikea). Celebrations run from 9am through to the evening with an entrance fee of £3 (free for under 16s).
There’ll also be a celebratory dinner at Den Norske Klub at St James’ Square, but unless you happen to be a member of the Norwegian contingent, it will set you back a hefty 80 quid, so we think we’ve got some better suggestions.
Eat out at Scandi restaurant Madsen in South Ken, where they’ll be putting on a special menu for the occasion and temporarily turning their noses up at Denmark and Sweden. Or head down to Nordic bar on Newman Street for a bracing akavit cocktail.
Alternatively, celebrate at home. Pop into Londonist favourite Scandinavian Kitchen on Great Titchfield Street for supplies and create your own smorgasbord. Bread, prawns and mayonnaise is traditional but try and also include the toffee-like goat’s cheese gjeitost (you’ll either love it or hate it). If you’re really dedicated then you’ll knock-up a Kransekake for afters, but either way stick on some Odd Børretzen and enjoy.
Left wanting more? The next few weeks will see Oslo take centre stage as they host the Eurovision Song Contest and this year there’ll be a Norwegian garden at the Chelsea Flower Show for the first time ever. See you there.