Syttende Mai Celebration
- Free museum admission from to
- Children's Parade through Decorah led by Decorah's Nordic Dancers. The route starts on Main Street in Decorah at the Winneshiek County Courthouse, then travels north along Washington Street to Water Street, then west on Water Street to Mill Street. Everyone is invited to march along, or cheer from the sidewalks. Norwegian flags will be provided for everyone marching.
- Decorah's Nordic Dancers perform on Mill St. at the museum following the parade.
- Tour of the Open Air Division at
- John Yilek, teacher of the popular Norwegian history course each fall at the Mindekirken in Minneapolis, will help Vesterheim mark the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution with a presentation exploring the forces that led to Norway's independence from Denmark and the signing of the constitution at Eidsvoll in 1814. This engaging presentation will reveal stories of the people and events of that period, including the first celebrations of Syttende Mai.
- Street dance with Decorah's popular Scandinavian-American old-time dance band, Foot-Notes. Come to Mill St. next to the museum and join the fun.
Syttende Mai, May 17, is the day Norway ratified its constitution in 1814 at Eidsvoll. This year is the bicentennial anniversary of the signing of the consitution and there are special celebrations all over Norway and the United States.
“Norwegians did not become independent from Sweden until 1905 and until then Syttende Mai celebrations were frowned upon and even forbidden,” Martha Griesheimer, Event Coordinator, said.
“Now, Norwegians celebrate their independence with excited crowds, especially of children, marching through the streets waving flags, singing songs, and celebrating their nation’s independence,” she continued.
“Syttende Mai at Vesterheim is a great opportunity to celebrate freedom wherever it occurs,” Griesheimer added.