There are only about 6,000 Norwegians scattered across London, but each year on May 17 we make ourselves known. That’s when we gather in Southwark Park to shout ‘hurra’ and parade around dressed in traditional costumes to celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day. The joyous festivities give the sense of a strong community: there are marching bands, waffles, ice cream and mountains of hot dogs.
Norwegian relations with the UK date back to the Viking era, when England had several Norse kings. We grew even closer during WWII; like many other European elites, the Norwegian government and royal family fled to London. As a thank you for Britain’s support and help against the Nazi occupation, Oslo sends a Christmas tree as an annual gift to London. The magnificent Norway spruce stands tall in Trafalgar Square to mark the beginning of the festive season and symbolises the friendship between our two countries. Cecilie Olsen
Cecilie’s favourite Norwegian spots in London
Southbank Centre’s Nordic Matters festival (on now) brings together music, dance, theatre, literature, design, fashion and gastronomy in a year-long exploration of Nordic culture.
Scandinavian Kitchen off Oxford Street stocks brunost (Norwegian brown cheese), cured salmon and liquorice. It’s the go-to place for Nordic groceries.
Award-winning, Norwegian-run The Kenton in Homerton is a gem of a pub.
The name of Oslo in Hackney is a tribute to its owner’s Norwegian roots, and the Nordic aesthetic shines through in the art, design and menu.
Young Norwegian singer Sigrid plays Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on Wednesday – a big night out for Constitution Day.
The best of Norwegian London, according to you
‘The Norwegian highlight of the year for me is the lighting of the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. And I get my baked goods fix from Ole & Steen on Haymarket.’ Tine GM via Facebook
‘The Norwegian church at Rotherhithe is worth visiting, especially when they hold their Christmas Fair.’ Robert W via Facebook
‘Norwegian Rain on Piccadilly for brilliant waterproof clothing.’ Agathe ST via Facebook
‘The Nordic Bakery in Soho. Excellent coffee and a world-beating cinnamon bun? Ja takk!’ Dan C via timeout.com