On Monday 5 May, The King and Queen, The Crown Princess Couple and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway attended a seminar to mark the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution and 200 years of Sweden at peace. The historical seminar was held in the Bernadotte Library.
The King opened the seminar, saying:
"The Norwegian Constitution and two centuries of peace are closely linked, and are an important part of the shared history of the Nordic people. Over the years, the Constitution has symbolised the freedom and independence of the people of Norway, and remains part of Norway's constitutional law to this day. The forefather of both our countries King Karl XIV Johan, a man of great experience, always emphasised the importance of peace for a nation's prosperity."
Bo Stråth, Professor of Nordic, European and World History at the University of Helsinki, then gave a talk under the heading "Two revolutions that changed the world and history: the American Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789". In addition to the American and French revolutions, he also spoke about the social impact of the Industrial Revolution. This resulted in new forms of wealth being created. Alongside this, there was also great poverty. Time moved on, and ideas about a rule of law and a welfare state emerged. The success and strength of Nordic politics included the ability to maintain peace and to create an effective social model. The Nordic region eventually came to lead the way in terms of industrial output, welfare and social structure.
Dag Michalsen, Professor at the Department of Public and International Law at the University of Oslo's Faculty of Law, spoke about the significance of the Norwegian Constitution, 1814-2014. The Constitution established Norway as a state. It also established the formal power of the people and the right of public information. The state was forced to become more open. The Constitution was soon translated into other languages, and became an example of a modern, radical constitution with democracy and limited royal power.
Olof Sjöström, Chairman of the Friends of the Bernadotte Museum, spoke under the heading "200 years of peace between the Nordic people". The union featured closeness between the individual countries. The foundation was laid in 1814 for peace which has lasted for 200 years, and for today's Norwegian and Swedish nations. During the union, growth increased in both countries, industry became more efficient and exports gathered pace. Mutual competition stimulated growth. The railways created jobs and mobility in the job market, with many Swedes working in Norway even then. Sweden has Norway to thank for the transition towards democracy moving more quickly than in many other countries. The Constitution served as a model for liberal forces in Sweden, and Norway introduced universal suffrage before Sweden, for both men and women. The union period was not always a happy time, and nor was its dissolution, but the period resulted in a great deal of good for both countries.
Crown Prince Haakon concluded the seminar by speaking about the strong ties between Norway and Sweden, saying:
"Norway and Sweden stand closely alongside each other, and the historic ties are incredibly strong. Today we enjoy excellent cooperation in all areas, and we strive to develop this even further."
In the evening, a concert was held in the Royal Chapel. F.A. Reissiger's Requiem for King Carl Johan was performed for the first time in Stockholm. The Caeciliaforeningen Oratorio Choir from Oslo, with one hundred members led by conductor Steffen Kammler, performed this historic work together with Court Singer Elin Rombo, Court Singer Ingrid Tobiasson, and opera singers Carl Unanader-Scharin and Nils Gustén. Members of the Royal Court Orchestra also performed.
Two 18th century revolutions proved to be highly significant: the American Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789. Both had a great influence on the Norwegian Constitution when it was drafted and then established on 17 May 1814. At the same time, Norway became an independent nation. Later that same year, Norway and Sweden formed a union between two independent states with a single monarch, King Karl XIII. The Norwegian Constitution became a symbol for Norwegians of freedom and independence, and still has great significance to this day.
A number of events in 1814 laid the foundation for peace, which Sweden has enjoyed for 200 years. This long period of peace has been invaluable to Sweden.
The seminar was organised by the Friends of the Bernadotte Museum and the Norwegian Embassy in Stockholm.