Alekk M. Saanders
Wednesday, 17 May 2023, 13:07
On 17 May 1814, the Norwegian constitution was established and signed. Although it still took 90 years before the Norwegians were totally free from the union with Sweden, Norway considered itself to be much freer for the first time in many years.
The adoption of the constitution became the symbol of a free and independent Norway. Since the 1820s, Norwegians all over the world have celebrated this day together and with a strong sense of unity. And the Norwegian community on the Costa del Sol is no different.
The Norwegian School in Benalmádena - Den Norske Skolen - traditionally organises a street parade every 17 May, which is also considered All Children's Day. For years local Norwegians have been celebrating the most important day in their country's history with their Spanish neighbours and other international residents.
More than 400 Norwegians are registered as resident in Benalmádena. As in previous years, the parade this Wednesday was attended by the mayor, Víctor Navas, and local councillor Pablo Centello.
The mayor, speaking in Spanish and English, stressed how the Norwegian community, with more than 400 registered residents, forms part of the wider international community in Benalmádena with more than 100 nationalities.
Navas thanked the school for inviting him once again to join their national day celebrations.
In her speech, Trude Jahren, headteacher at the Norwegian school, reminded her compatriots in Benalmádena not to take their freedom for granted.
"The absence of a serious conflict here in our small community can make it easy to forget that freedom for many people is not a given," she said. "Unfortunately, there are too many conflicts in the world today and, sadly, too many people who continue to fight daily for freedom and we all need to engage in solidarity with [them]," she added.
At the event outside the Casa de la Cultura the Norwegians stressed how they are "very lucky" to live in Benalmádena, a "generous and hospitable municipality" where representatives of many countries live together.
"Through generosity, tolerance and respect, let us be good role models for the young generation," continued Trude Jahren.
"Let us continue to learn from each other regardless of who we are, where we come from or what we believe in. Learning to get to know others, who are not necessarily like us, creates greater understanding and togetherness and is the key to a more just and peaceful society."
All participants were thanked by the Norwegians for helping them celebrate: from the Local Police to the musicians of the Benalmádena band for playing Norwegian traditional songs, and the Spanish school, Colegio Jacaranda.
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