The National Day of Norway, the Constitution Day, is celebrated every year on May 17.
Norway has one of the oldest constitutions in the world, it was also considered one of the most liberal constitutions in the world. It was inspired by the developments of the time, in particular the US Declaration of Independence and the French Revolution of 1789. The most important principles in the constitution of 1814 were threefold:
1) The principle of sovereignty: The right of the people to rule through elected representatives.
2) The separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial powers.
3) Human rights, including the freedom of the press and provisions regarding due process.
These principles have since been retained, while other provisions have been revised and rooted out over the years to bring the constitution up to date with changes of the times and the political system.
In May 2014, the Norwegian parliament (Storting) passed the most substantial changes made to the constitution since 1814. On the occasion of the bicentenary, parliament adopted a new chapter to the constitution that includes a more comprehensive catalogue of human rights. The changes include economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights. The revisions have made the human rights provisions in the constitution stronger and more visible, in line with existing legislation.
The 17th of May is a celebration that centres around children, demonstrating how children are the nation’s pride and its future.