Proudly brought to you by The Norwegian American and Norway House

Welcome to the Democracy Center!

The inspiration for this project was sparked when the editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, Lori Ann Reinhall, visited Eidsvoll, Norway, in 2022.

At Eidsvoll, both adults and children can learn about the history of the Norwegian Constitution signed there on May 17, 1814. Our editor learned so much there and was so impressed by all that she experienced that she wanted to create a “democracy center” to share with her readers, their children and grandchildren, and families and children anywhere.

An exhibit and a children’s activity corner took shape at Norway House in Minneapolis (May 3 – July 28) —and the same program can be enjoyed everywhere here online.

To start your journey, we’ve compiled a list of terms for you to think about. Download these definitions to discuss with your family, as they guide you along the way through our Democracy Center:

Norwegian Constitution Day

The 1855 painting “The National Assembly at Eidsvoll 1814” by Oscar Wergeland depicts the signing of the Norwegian Constitution. (public domain)

The 17th of May — syttende mai — is Norwegian Constitution Day. Like the Fourth of July is a national celebration in the United States, the 17th of May is Norway’s national day, a day of celebrations all around the country. It is a very special day for children, in fact, the 17th of May is called Barnas dag—Children’s Day—in Norway—and kids can even eat all the ice cream they want on that day!

Over the years, The Norwegian American has published many articles about the 17th of May for you and your family to enjoy:

How it all began

John Trumbull’s 1826 painting “Declaration of Independence” depicts the moment on June 28, 1776, when the first draft of the Declaration of Independence was presented to the Second Continental Congress. (public domain)

But first things first: how did it all get started? A good place to begin is with the very documents that laid down the foundations for our countries. As Americans, we can also be proud that the Norwegian Constitution was based on our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Ready to start?

Are you ready to explore the activities we have planned for you in our Democracy Center Kids’ Corner? Click on the button below to go inside with one warning: you’re going to have fun!