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What’s open and closed in Norway over the May 17th and Pentecost weekend?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
What’s open and closed in Norway over the May 17th and Pentecost weekend?
Shops and services in Norway will be disrupted by May 17th and Whit Monday. Pictured is a parade in central Oslo. Photo by Marta Stefańska on Unsplash

Norway’s national day, May 17th, falls on a Friday this year, followed by another public holiday, Whit Monday, after the weekend. Here’s what’ll be open over the long weekend.

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Constitution Day in Norway commemorates the signing of the Norwegian Constitution, which was passed by the Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll on May 16th, 1814, and signed the following day.

Norway’s constitution is the second-oldest written constitution in the world, and it still exists.

The day is the most widely celebrated day in the country, with residents taking to the country’s streets in folk costumes to watch parades and marching bands. 

Given the strong ties to national identity, many Norwegian traditions are intertwined with the day. 

READ ALSO: Why does Norway celebrate May 17th?

Given that the day is a public holiday, you can expect plenty of places to be closed, all children to be off school, and most workers to be off rota for the day. 

What’s closed on May 17th 

Most people will be off work, and all schools will be closed for the day so children can take part in parades. 

Most supermarkets will be closed, and even in areas with a public holiday exception to closing, staff may be given the day off to celebrate. 

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 from the wine monopoly will be before 6pm on Thursday, May 16th. 

The last chance to purchase drinks under 4.75 percent in strength, like beers and cider, will be 8pm from supermarkets on Thursday, May 16th. 

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Public services, including public libraries, municipal swimming pools, sports centres, and GP surgeries, will be closed. 

Musuems and galleries will close for May 17th. 

Kids activities like football training or band practice will be closed. 

What’s open on May 17th?

Bars and restaurants will be open on May 17th. You may need to book in advance, though, as many mid- to high-end establishments will likely have a set menu planned for the day.

Most bars you will be able to just drop into though. 

While supermarkets will be closed, some convenience stores selling the essentials will be open. Some pharmacies may also remain open. 

Out-of-hours doctor services at the legevakt will be available, and emergency A&E clinics will also be open in case you need medical care. 

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Public transport will operate on a reduced timetable during the day, and you can expect route diversions to accommodate for parades. 

Saturday offers a brief return to normality 

Following May 17th, Saturday the 18th offers a brief return to normality. Stores and shopping centres will reopen. 

However, other services will be restricted to weekend trading time. Still, Saturday should offer an opportunity to stock up on essentials before stores close again on Sunday and Monday. 

Facilities like gyms, museums and the like will reopen on Saturday and may remain open on Sunday, too. 

Saturday will also be the last opportunity for people to purchase alcohol before Tuesday, May 21st.

What’s closed on Pentecost / Whit Monday? 

Supermarkets will close again on Pentecost / Whit Monday, and people will be off from work and school. 

Similarly, most activities for children and adults will be closed, as will services like libraries, swimming pools and sports centres. 

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GP clinics will close, and it will be “generally prohibited” to disturb the peace on holidays such as Whit Monday. This means things like mowing the lawn and playing loud music are not allowed. 

What will stay 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. Smaller establishments may choose to close to allow the staff who worked May 17th to enjoy some time off. 

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