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NORWEGIAN NATIONAL

NORWEGIAN NATIONAL ROMANTICISM Forging a National Identity From 1537 to 1814, Norway was the lesser partner in a dynastic union with Denmark. This period of time saw Norway’s cultural and political influence erode as artists and intellectuals continually emigrated to Copenhagen, the seat of power to the south. Danish became the shared language between the two nations and the majority of political decisions invariably favored the crown over its more far-flung constituents. Things changed, however, toward the end of the Napoleonic Wars, during which Denmark was forced to cede Norway to the king of Sweden—paving the way for Norway’s independence. Following the signing of the nation’s democratic constitution on May 17, 1814 at Eidsvoll, Norway gained control of its domestic affairs, while foreign affairs were controlled by Sweden under a shared monarch, King Oscar II. With independence from Denmark came a new interest in a uniquely Norwegian identity among the nation’s artists, composers, writers and scholars—who, in turn, idealized rural and folk life, in which such an identity could be found. This movement to collect, define and celebrate what it meant to be Norwegian came to be known as Norsk nasjonal romantikk, or Norwegian National Romanticism. Fairy tales, folk songs, dances and traditional dress all attained May 17, 1814 Norway adopts the Norwegian Constitution at Eidsvoll, formalizing the nation’s independence after a 434-year union with Denmark. 1830 Violin virtuoso Ole Bull (1810–1880) writes his first compositions, inspired by poems by his friend Henrik Wergeland. 1826 Artist Johan Christian Dahl (1788–1857) makes his first return trip to Norway. 1842–1873 Nynorsk (“New Norwegian”) emerges as one of two official Norwegian languages. 1819 Painter Johannes Flintoe (1787–1870) takes a teaching position at the newly founded National Academy of Craft and Art Industry. 1829 Henrik Wergeland (1808–1845) publishes Digte: Første Ring (Poems: First Circle). 1841 Authors Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812–1885) and Jørgen Moe (1813–1882) publish Norske Folkeeventyr. 106 VIKING.COM EXPLORE MORE 2020

SCANDINAVIA elevated status in the people’s collective imagination. So, too, did the unique grandeur of the land—in particular, Norway’s majestic mountains and fjords. In total, the movement inspired creative breakthroughs in art, music, literature, architecture and even linguistics. Norwegian National Romanticism lasted for about half a century and contributed to Norway’s full independence movement, which ultimately led to the peaceful dissolution of the country’s union with Sweden in 1905. Diverging political views between the people of Norway and the crown of Sweden led the Norwegian parliament to declare full independence on June 7, making King Oscar the last king of unified Norway and Sweden. Subsequently, the Norwegian government identified Prince Carl of Denmark as a candidate for the throne—largely because he had descended from Norwegian kings. He agreed to accept only if chosen by popular vote and called for a referendum, in which he achieved a 79% vote of confidence. As an homage to his new country, he took the Old Norse name of Haakon and, upon swearing in as King Haakon VII, became the first independent king of Norway in 518 years and one of the world’s few elected monarchs. 1851 Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906) is hired by Ole Bull to work at the Norwegian Theater in Bergen. 1870 The Bergslien School of Painting is established. May 17, 1864 The national song “Ja, vi elsker dette landet” (“Yes, we love this country”) is first performed in connection with the 50th anniversary of the constitution. 1894 Dalen Hotel is built in Telemark, Norway. 1858 Ole Bull meets and encourages 15-year-old Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) to study music at the Leipzig Conservatory. 1877 The first construction phase of the Kviknes Hotel is completed in Balestrand, Norway. 1848 Painters Hans Gude (1825–1903) and Adolph Tidemand (1814–1876) collaborate on Brudeferd i Hardanger (“Bridal Procession on the Hardangerfjord”). 1867 Frognerseteren (The Heftye House) is built in Oslo, Norway. 1900 Hans Dahl (1849–1937) paints Crossing the Fjord in a Breeze. EXPLORE MORE 2020 VIKING.COM 107