Velkommen til oss!
Welcome to Mindekirken's Norwegian Language and Culture Program. This summer we are offering samtalestunder - conversation based classes taught by three of our enthusiastic language instructors. All levels of language learner welcome! Click here for more information and to register.
Language classes meet for two hours a week for 10 weeks and cost $165. We have 3 terms during the year that start in September and end at the end of May: Fall, Winter and Spring. Genealogy seminars are four hours and cost $20 when you pre-register ($25 at the door). Cultural classes and other events vary. Filmaften is FREE, but is on break for the summer. Look for more information in August for the fall term.
Spotlight: Norway in 1814
NORWAY IN 1814
By John Yilek, Mindekirken Norwegian Language and Culture Program
Why are we celebrating Norway’s Bicentennial in 2014, and why do we celebrate the 17th of May each year? This article briefly explains how Norway obtained its independence from Denmark and adopted its own constitution in 1814.
By the late 18th century, Norway had been ruled by the kings of Denmark in a union with that country for over 400 years. During that time, the Danish kings had exploited the Norwegians by charging high taxes and fees, by taking huge profits from Norwegian silver and copper mines, and by starting wars that cost the lives of many Norwegians and the loss of various parts of Norway. Since the 1500s, Norway did not even have its own government, and the language used in all official business and the church was Danish and not Norwegian. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Norwegians remained incredibly loyal to the kings of Denmark, and no one could have predicted that they would be seeking their independence within the next 20 years.
During the period from 1792 to 1815, Europe was ravaged by the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and France and their respective allies. The wars were named after Napoleon Bonaparte, who became the ruler of France in 1799. Until 1807, the Kingdom of Denmark and Norway was neutral and did not fight on either side of the war. This was of great benefit to Norway, which could export its dried fish, lumber and other products to both sides at high wartime prices.
However, Norwegian prosperity came to an end in 1807 when Britain invaded Denmark and bombarded Copenhagen. Crown Prince (later King) Frederik of Denmark joined the French alliance against Britain, and the British navy then blockaded the seaports of Norway. The Norwegian economy collapsed as Norway could no longer export its products, and many Norwegians starved to death because Norway was unable to import enough grain to feed its population. Also, Norway had to face a Swedish invasion when Frederik foolishly declared war against Sweden in 1808. Norwegians were still mostly loyal to the king, but they began to wonder why they were still in a union with Denmark that only brought them war and hardship.