Every year on the 17th of May, Norway celebrates the anniversary of its constitution by holding huge parades all over the country with the biggest being held in the capital, Oslo. These parades usually involve school children who walk through the city centre waving Norwegian flags and trying to spot their parents in the crowds lining the street. Onlookers also play a huge part in the proceedings, often dressed in national costume, cheering the children on - a real party atmosphere! In Oslo, the parade snaked its way past the Royal Palace, where King Harald, Queen Sonia, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Ingrid-Alexandra looked on and waved to the crowds below.
This year the national day celebrations coincided with the first rehearsals for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest and NRK in partnership with Visit Oslo decided to involve the delegates and invite them to experience one of Norway's finest traditions in style!
The day started with delegates (including Serbia, Latvia, Finland, Lithuania and Moldova) gathering at the Plaza Hotel in centre of Oslo where they enjoyed a champagne breakfast. They were then handed Norwegian flags and ribbons before heading to the palace, where they were treated to amazing views of the parades and of course the royal family. Here, they were also met by this year's Norwegian entrant, Didrik Solli-Tangen, who looked smart in his national costume, which of course attracted a lot of media attention!
Following on from this the delegations were escorted through the streets of Oslo to the city hall, where the mayor held a reception with 1000 children. Here, hotdogs, ice cream, soft drinks and strawberries were the order of the day. As a final touch, hundreds of red, white and blue balloons were dropped from the ceiling onto the excited children (and delegates!) below.
Facts about Norway and Oslo
Norway is one of Europe's most stunning countries, boasting a varied landscape of deep fjords, vast pine forests, towering mountains and clear blue lakes. This makes it a popular holiday destination for people from all over the world. In the winter months the mountains turn into prime skiing territory, with cross-country and downhill skiers taking advantage of the excellent conditions. Many visitors also choose to venture beyond the Arctic Circle to experience the Northern Lights, which against the backdrop of snow-covered mountains, truly is a sight to behold.
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is not only the country's largest city with a population of 575,000 but also a cultural and economical centre, which plays an important role internationally. Located at the end of the 100km long Oslo Fjord, anyone arriving to the city by boat will be given a scenic view of the surrounding countryside and of course a spectacular visual introduction to the city. In recent years Oslo has changed a lot visually with new developments such as the award-winning Opera House, Aker Brygge and the newly rebuilt Holmenkollen ski-jump offering tourists and residents new ways to experience the Norwegian capital.