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What’s open and what’s closed on Ascension Day in Norway?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
What’s open and what’s closed on Ascension Day in Norway?
Ascension Day is a public holiday in Norway, meaning many things will be closed. Pictured is a church in Lærdal Norway.

Ascension Day, or ‘Kristi himmelfartsdag’, is a public holiday in Norway. Here's what’s open and what’s closed.

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Christ’s Ascension Day, often just called Ascension in English or Kristi himmelfartsdag, occurs 40 days after Easter and, for Christians, marks when Jesus ascended to heaven. The celebration dates back to the fourth century. 

This year, the day falls on Thursday, May 9th. Even though Norway split the church from the state in 2017, Ascension has remained a public holiday—as have other faith-based holidays. 

While there are many public holidays in Norway based on Christianity, not all of them have specific traditions that are unique to Norway. 

In fact, for most, Thursday will simply mean a day off work. The majority of offices around the country will close, and children will be off from school

As the holiday always falls on a Thursday, Friday is an inneklemt dag, meaning it is squeezed between a public holiday and a weekend. This means many who have planned ahead will have also booked the Friday off to enjoy four days off. 

What’s closed? 

As mentioned before, schools and offices should be closed. However, those who do work can expect a higher salary for their hours on a public holiday. 

Most supermarkets will be closed, although there are some areas exempt from this rule. 

Furthermore, Vinmonopolet, Norway’s state-owned alcohol store, will also be closed nationwide. This is because the sale of alcohol is prohibited on public holidays, meaning the last opportunity to buy beers, wines, and spirits will be before 6pm on Wednesday, May 8th. 

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Many other public services will also be closed or not operating on Ascension, including, public libraries, municipal swimming pools, and sports centres. 

If you have an urgent health issue, out-of-hours doctor services at the legevakt will be available, and emergency A&E clinics will also be open. Some GP surgeries may also remain open. 

Regular kids and adult activities such as football training or band practice will also likely be cancelled. 

One last thing to know is that it is prohibited to disturb the peace on public holidays such as Ascension, this means things like mowing the lawn and playing loud music are not allowed. 

What’s open? 

Small convenience stores of 100 square metres in size or less are allowed to remain open, as are petrol stations of less than 150 square metres in size. Even in these smaller convenience stores, the sale of alcohol will remain prohibited. 

Stores in areas that are allowed to remain on Sunday due to tourism will also remain open. These are typically rural areas, rather than the big cities though. 

Garden centres and florists are allowed to stay open. 

Duty-free shops at airports in Norway are allowed to stay open. 

Restaurants, hotels and cafes are allowed to stay open. 

Museums and galleries will probably stay open for business, too.  

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