In 18C heat and bright sunshine, the annual National Day parade marched through Oslo’s Slottsplassen on Tuesday.
As per tradition, the entire Norwegian royal family was on the palace balcony to wave to the massive crowds who showed up to celebrate National Day.
Record-long children’s parade
Around 60,000 children from 119 schools filled the capital’s streets with songs, band music, banners, flags and cheers. According to Aftenposten, the turnout set an all-time record for participating schools. This year’s children’s parade even topped the bicentennial celebration in 2014 – albeit by just two schools
Tåsen School, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, was the primary school that received the honour of leading the children’s parade, marching behind the military band, Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen and a host of other local political leaders.
The record-long children’s parade began its journey at various locations in the capital before marching together past parliament and up Karl Johans Gate. The Royal Palace was the highlight of the three-hour march, which ended at City Hall Square at 1pm.
(L-R) Crown Prince Haakon, Prince Sverre Magnus, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Queen Sonja and King Harald. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB Scanpix
Royals in folk costumes
At this year’s May 17th celebration, Princess Ingrid Alexandra wore a bunad from her mother’s home county of Vest-Agder, while Crown Princess Mette-Marit sported a bunad from Hardanger.
Queen Sonja wore a bunad from Øst-Telemark, while Crown Prince Haakon and King Harald were both dressed in dark suits and top hats.
Young Prince Sverre Magnus was decked out in a dark blue suit and waved enthusiastically from the balcony to the long parade parade below.
According to broadcaster NRK, a full 66 percent of Norwegian women own a national costume. Crown Princess Mette-Marit owns seven different costumes, and this year she wore her Rogaland bunad while greeting schoolchildren from Asker early on Tuesday morning.
The royal family ended the ceremony on the balcony to music from the Royal Guard.
“Congratulations of the day [gratulerer med dagen],” the people yelled up to the royals, who waved one last time before retreating into the palace.
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Celebrating from mountains to fjords
May 17th was celebrated in different ways across the country. NRK’s broadcast from the top of Norway - Galdhøpiggen - showed a large group of revellers singing ‘Ja, vi elsker dette landet’ while dressed in bunads and hiking gear while waving their flags in the thick fog at the top of the mountain, the highest in Norway.
In Bergen, a boat race was held in the fjord harbour, but Prime Minister Erna Solberg was not looking on from her hometown so she has done in previous years.
“I have always tended to be in Bergen, but this year we have russ [Norwegian high school students’ annual celebration of their final spring term, ed.] so we arranged a russ breakfast at home in Parkveien in Oslo. We will primarily be parents this May 17th”, Solberg told NRK.
In Tromsø, citizens toughed out the lower temperatures, and the sun managed to shine upon the parade on an otherwise mostly cloudy day.