Norwegian Constitution Day: 17th of May 2024
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Norwegian Constitution Day: 17th of May 2024

Source: VisitOSLO
Source: VisitOSLO

Today holds special significance for all Norwegians as it marks the Norwegian Constitution Day. The Royal Norwegian Embassy, in collaboration with the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce, takes pride in highlighting the celebration, a unique tradition, which commemorates the signing Norway's constitution 210 years ago in 1814.

Norway's Constitution Day or 17th May, is a deeply cherished celebration deeply ingrained in Norwegian culture. It serves as a powerful reminder of the country's independence, unity, and democratic values. On this day, Norwegians gather to express their national pride and honour their heritage. Central to the celebrations taking place all over the country are the children. This is their day and the many children’s parades where school grades march through local communities led by their school band are their way of celebrating the core values of the Norwegian society. Many participants don the traditional folk costume known as the bunad, which vary in style from different regions of the country. The sight of Norwegians dressed in colourful national costumes gathered all over Norway is truly magnificent.

The festivities of Norway’s Constitution Day are characterised by various joyful activities, including traditional breakfasts shared with family, neighbours and friends. People are dressed in their very best clothes. Buildings and streets are decorated with Norwegian flags and banners. Lively parades and performances are followed by joy and laughter across the country.

The longstanding friendship between Thailand and Norway dates back 117 years to King Rama V's visit to Oslo in 1907 as part of his European tour. King Rama V embarked on this journey to promote Thailand as a developing, independent nation, following the loss of significant territory, including Laos, in the 1893 Franco-Siamese War, also known as the Incident of RS 112. King Rama V's visit to Norway occurred just two years after the Nordic nation gained independence from Sweden on 26 October 1905. This historic encounter laid the foundation for the enduring bond between Thailand and Norway.

Today, Norway is a well-developed country. Abundant natural resources such as fisheries and hydro power laid the foundation for Norway’s early development. In the late 1960s oil and gas was found on the Norwegian continental shelf. The management of these reserves made it possible for Norway to build an advanced economy as well as one of the biggest sovereign wealth funds in the world. Norway has invested its wealth in many countries across the globe including Thailand where the sovereign wealth fund has invested USD 2.7 billion in Thai stocks.

Economic activity in Norway has stabilised. The manufacturing sector is showing robust performance, leading to strong profitability, and a tight labour market is anticipated to drive substantial wage growth this year. Major Norwegian-related entities such as Jotun, Yara, Norwegian Seafood Council, Bangchak, Norway Connect, Telenor Asia, and others that have long been established in Thailand continue to exceed expectations. This trend is reflected in the trade between the two countries, Norway's key exports to Thailand comprised of Norwegian seafood, mineral fertilisers, power-generating machinery and equipment, furniture and other products.

Source: VisitNorway/Fredrik Ahlsen/Maverix

Negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between the EFTA States (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and Thailand is ongoing and the ninth round was concluded in April. These discussions focused on resolving outstanding matters across various sectors, including trade in goods, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade in services, investment, government procurement, cooperation and capacity building, trade remedies, legal and horizontal issues and intellectual property rights. Both sides welcomed the advancements and maintained a positive outlook throughout the talks. The next round of negotiations, scheduled for August 2024, aims to further advance discussions with the aim of concluding negotiations before the end of the year.

And finally, to all of you, we are thrilled to have this opportunity to celebrate the 17th of May. May the ties between Norway and Thailand continue to benefit our well-being and happiness.

Let’s celebrate this day like a Norwegian “Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah! Gratulerer med Dagen!”

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