WNS Newsletter December 2018

Dear members of Welsh Norwegian Society and friends.

Christmas is upon us once again and 2018 is coming to an end. The committee wishes all members and friends of WNS a happy and peaceful Christmas, and a fantastic New Year!

WNS Christmas party / Juletrefest

December 9th 2018

Members of the Welsh Norwegian Society gathered at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre in Cardiff Bay to celebrate Christmas with a traditional party. Old and young were at the venue to sample more than seven sorts of traditional Norwegian Christmas cakes, join in the singing and dancing around the Christmas tree and meet Father Christmas, who brought presents for the children.  More than 50 people attended the event, which also saw some members telling stories from their Norwegian Christmas experiences. Six exchange students from Hordaland county in Norway, which is twinned with Cardiff, also attended the event. 

The 2018 Juletrefest was a great success. Here is a short video of the festivities.

The Christmas party, or Juletrefest, is a key element of Christmas celebrations in Norway, usually organised by workplaces and community groups for everyone to attend. Tyra Oseng-Rees, chairman of the Welsh Norwegian Society, said: “An important part of the Society’s work is to ensure future generations understand and appreciate the Norwegian culture and strong historic links that Wales and Norway have. And there is no better place to do this than in the historic building of the Norwegian Church in Cardiff, which is an arts and cultural centre. Christmas is very important and special in Norway and being able to bring some of that magic to Wales is truly amazing.” 

The Welsh Norwegian Society has bought and decorated the 3-metre tall tree at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre this year after discovering the Church would otherwise not have a tree. Tyra Oseng-Rees, chairman of the Welsh Norwegian Society, said: “The links between the Society and the Church are historically strong and we wanted to ensure the Norwegian traditions were maintained so the tree is decorated in a traditional Norwegian way, including Norwegian flags and clip-on candle style lights. We also organise a Midsummer party every year and celebrate the Constitution Day on 17th May and with the ‘dugnadsånd’ we rely on volunteers helping and supporting the growing society, so there is plenty of opportunity to get involved.”


Future dates for your diaries

The dates of WNS events are below. All are held at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, unless otherwise specified.

  • Sunday 20th January 2019 2-4pm: Coffee and cake

  • Sunday 24th Feb 2019 2-4pm: Coffee and cake

  • Sunday 10Th March 2-4pm: Coffee and cake

  • Wednesday evening 24th April 2019 7pm onwards: Social evening, details TBC

  • Sunday 28th April 2019 2-4pm (cancelled if 24th April goes ahead): Coffee and cake

  • Friday 17th May 2019 (all day): Syttende mai

  • Saturday 22nd June: St Hans fest, venue TBC.

  • Sunday 28th July 2019 2-4pm: Coffee and cake, may be cancelled as it’s in the school holiday.

  • Sunday 22nd September: Time TBC, choir from Norway to perform. Possible date for AGM.

  • Sunday 20th October 2019, 2-4pm: Coffee and cake

  • Sunday 17th November 2019 2-4pm: Christmas tree decoration

  • Sunday 15th December 2019: Time TBC, WNS Christmas party

  • Monday 16th December 2019 (daytime): The Norwegian Church’s official 150th anniversary with officials and media invited.

The future of the Norwegian Church

There has been a fair amount of press coverage recently suggestion that the future of the Norwegian Church is uncertain. Members may want to have a look at the below articles, which give a good background to the Church and the challenges it might be facing going forward.


What kind of involvement, if any, would the members like to see WNS have in the debate on the future of the church? It is important that we seek the views of the membership if we as a society intend to publicly get involved in this debate. Please email your thoughts, suggestions and comments to contact@welshnorwegian.org, and indicate whether you would be able and willing to be involved in working on this matter.

WNS Newsletter October 2018

Dear members of Welsh Norwegian Society and friends.

The October '18 newsletter has information about the AGM, upcoming events, exciting opportunities and important information regarding your WNS membership.

Sunday, 14th October, 2-4pm: Informal coffee and cake, Norwegian Church Art Centre

Friday, 26th October, Prisoner of War exhibition opens, Norwegian Church Art Centre

Friday, 9th November, 5-8pm: Decorating and tree-lighting ceremony at the Norwegian Church Art Centre

Sunday, 9th December, time TBC: Annual juletrefest (Christmas Party), Norwegian Church Art Centre

2018 WNS Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on 29th October at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay. A new committee was elected, with Tyra Oseng-Rees (chair), Alan Hall (secretary), Johan Butenschøn Skre (members secretary), Anne Kirsti Kirby all standing for re-election. Four new committee members were elected: Andy Smith (treasurer), Shuna Lovering, Mari Ropstad, Tony Parry and Craig Williams.

The new committee from left to right: Mari Ropstad, Tyra Oseng-Rees, Tony Parry, Craig Williams, Anne Kirsti Kirby, Shuna Lovering, Alan Hall, Andy Smith and Johan Butenschøn Skre.

The new committee from left to right: Mari Ropstad, Tyra Oseng-Rees, Tony Parry, Craig Williams, Anne Kirsti Kirby, Shuna Lovering, Alan Hall, Andy Smith and Johan Butenschøn Skre.

Some of the other items discussed at the AGM included:

  • The membership fee for the coming year will remain at £10. 

  • The Society receives a lot of emails with requests for translation work, tutoring and help with stories and artefacts for TV programmes. It was agreed that the possibility of having a member section on the website would be explored where these items could be posted for members to engage with.

  • The Norwegian Church will celebrate its 150th anniversary in December 2019. A sub-committee was formed [insert names] who will meet with Cardiff Council to plan the celebration events.

  • A Norwegian book library is now available at every Welsh Norwegian Society meeting. Members may borrow a book for 50p, which will go to the Society, and more Norwegian-text books are gratefully received.

  • Keep an eye out for Norwegian books in the new Doctor Who series! The Society lent 50 books to the BBC Wales for this purpose and they gave a £50 donation to the Society.

Membership renewals

All members and subscribers to our mailing list will soon receive a PayPal "invoice" for £10. This is only a payment link to make it easier for you, not an invoice as such. Should you choose to renew your membership you can use the link to pay with PayPal or card. BACS transfers are also fine, as are cash or cheque at the next social meeting. Please see details below.

£10 per adult per year, student discount is £5.

Cheques are made payable to The Welsh Norwegian Society and can be posted to:
Andy Smith
196 Gower rd, Sketty

Bank transfers are welcomed, contact us on contact@welshnorwegian.org for details.

PayPal payments to be made to contact@welshnorwegian.org

Enquiry from BBC Wales

The Society received an existing request for a family to share their culinary heritage in a new BBC series. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see some Welsh Norwegian cooking on TV?

Michela Chiappa is hosting the series, which aims to use people’s recipes to chart family traditions and history.  Has home cooked food always been an important part of your family’s life? Do you have recipes that have been passed down from your parents, grandparents, or even further back? What do those recipes reveal about your family’s culture and history? Or have you lost touch with your culinary heritage but would love to know more? 

If you are interested in taking part or for more information, please email contact@welshnorwegian.org and we will pass on your interest. The filming will happen during October and November so you need to be quick!

Artists wanted

The Anglo Norse Society is celebrating their centenary this November and has organised celebrations in London! Our chair Tyra has been invited and they are also looking for Norwegian professional artists based in the UK. Are you a practicing artist or do you know any UK based Norwegian artists, please email us at contact@welshnorwegian.org and we will pass on your details.

Translation and tutoring work

Do you want to know about requests the Society receives for Norwegian translation and tutoring work? In order to avoid bombarding members with items they are not interested in, the Society would like to create a separate mailing list for this purpose. If you want to be added to this list, please e-mail Tyra contact@welshnorwegian.org, stating the email address you wish to use.

Prisoner of War: Paintings and Poems

Norway and Wales Honour ‘Silent’ Heroes of the Air with Art and Poetry. October 2018 will see the official opening of an exhibition to honour the sacrifice of World War II airmen - focusing on the experience of one young Norwegian whose plane was brought down over Hamburg. WNS is supporting the exhibition which opens in The Norwegian Church Art Centre 26th of October, with the last day being November 13th.

The exhibition will feature around eight paintings, four poems, an aircraft sculpture and a small section from the wing of an RAF bomber.The exhibition is a powerful reminder of the suffering and sacrifice brought by war, and also of the long and close friendship between Norway,Wales and the rest of the UK.

If any WNS members are willing to help setting up the exhibition from noon on October 22nd, please email contact@welshnorwegian.org for further info.

Upcoming Norwegian concerts

If you fancy a bit of Norwegian musical culture, why not check out these two upcoming concerts in Cardiff?

Tord Gustavsen Trio play at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on Thursday, 1st November, at 7.30pm. Tickets and more information is available at www.rwcmd.ac.uk/whats_on/events/tord_gustavsen_trio.aspx.

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The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra play at St David’s Hall on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 7.30pm. Tickets and more information is available at https://www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk/whats-on/international-concert-series-2018-19/oslo-philharmonic-orchestra/

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St Hans Midsummer party- book now for space

St Hans Midsummer Party

Saturday June 23rd
Port Eynon, Gower

This event is a social gathering for members and friends of the Welsh Norwegian Society. We are a not for profit organisation, the cost to join will cover BBQ, charcoal, wood for the fire, coffee, tea, squash for children and some sweets after the food. You must bring your own food to barbecue, drinks, salad etc. Also plates, glasses, cutlery and chairs/picnic blanket to sit on.

Book a space through contact@welshnorwegian.org no later than Saturday June 16th. The price to join is £5 for adults and £2 for children. Payment will be taken on the day, so please bring accurate money as we might not have exact change with us.
We will send you the full address to the venue when you have booked a space.

We welcome you to bring music or any instrument if you play any. We would love some impromptu entertainment!!
The owner of the garden has welcomed people to camp but can only offer access to toilet and water.  Please note; there are no shower facilities. If you wish to camp, please let us know and we will give you more information. There is limited space for tents. 
We would like to highlight that this is not an official campsite with access to facilities such as showers or washing up area. However, the owner of the garden have given us access to toilets and also offered people to stay for two nights if they wish to. She has not given us a specific time to be packed up, but I would like to ask that we leave the garden in the same way as we found it, making sure that we take all rubbish with us.

There are also restricted parking facilities, so we ask that people who are camping could park in the drive, allowing those who are not camping able to leave in the night without moving any parked cars.


17th May 2018

Last Thursday, May 17th, Cardiff Bay came alive with brass band music and happy children waving flags, as the Norwegian contingent in South Wales took to the streets to celebrate their national day. It was a gloriously sunny day, and the Norwegians wearing traditional costumes and their very finest clothes, paraded in traditional fashion from the Millennium Centre to the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, where they celebrated their country’s independence.


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The Norwegian independence day is still celebrated with great enthusiasm all over Norway. It is impossible to overestimate how important this day is to most Norwegians. Norway is quite a young nation, having received its independence from Sweden is 1905, and it is after all not very long ago that Norway was occupied during the Second World War. So people feel it is most definitely worth celebrating that it is a free country in peacetime. You will see no guns and tanks in the streets in Norway during their celebrations, rather the streets are filled with happy children and adults carrying Norwegian flags and shouting hurray, accompanied by brass bands. It is the people's, and especially the children's day.

Norwegian groups all over the world celebrate in the same way, and in the UK there is a large and very popular celebration in Southwark Park in London, every year attended by thousands of Norwegians. In Cardiff, the celebration is led by the Welsh-Norwegian society, a society started to strengthen the Welsh-Norwegian relationship. People come from all over South Wales and the West Country to celebrate.

This year, as is tradition by now, the group congregated outside the Millennium Centre, where they started off the day with some songs, then paraded to the Norwegian church and arts centre. Here the Norwegian flag was raised and the national anthem sung, accompanied by the Salvation Army band. The group moved inside where they this year were entertained by a string quintet from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, playing pieces by Grieg. Later there were speeches and a wreath laying ceremony in memory of the people who have fallen during the World Wars. The event was rounded off with coffee, cakes and waffles in traditional Norwegian style, and at the end there were children’s games on the lawn. Finally – the Welsh Norwegian Society had a Norwegian style buffet meal with a Norwegian twist for members. The Norwegian Church Arts centre is always very supportive of the 17th of May celebrations and do everything they can to support the event, something the WNS is very grateful for.

All in all it was a lovely day. Cardiff Bay showed off its best side, with sparkling seas, a warming sun and a clear blue sky. The parade livened up the streets with colourful national costumes, with sparkling traditional jewellery and red, white and blue flags. Outside the church, the Norwegian flag waved leisurely against the blue skies, framed by green leaves and the pretty white church, much like it might have welcomed the weary Norwegian sailor all those years ago.

Cardiff Council has launched a public consultation on the economic vision for the city

Dear Friends in the Welsh Norwegian Society,

Cardiff Council has launched a public consultation on the economic vision for the city, based on the Green Paper Building More and Better Jobs. The paper considers a range of issues for Cardiff, as well as proposed projects to help improve the city’s economy. It also outlines a proposed spatial strategy for the future development of the city.

We are seeking the views of people in Cardiff to help inform the development of a White Paper to be published this year.

Responses are welcome until the end of March from anyone and do not have to specifically answer the questions included in the paper. These are intended only as a guide to help shape discussion and responses.

Please click here for more details, including the full paper and how to respond:

As we would like to reach as many people as possible, please share this with friends and colleagues. 


Sommerakademiet visit

Artists and makers from Sommerakademiet is visiting South Wales at the end of April. If you like to join them on one of the days please get in touch for more info. Full itinerary will be sent to all members of WNS.

Sommerakademiet is run by the artist and textile maker Karin Flatoy Svarstad and is aiming to communicate arts and culture related activities from rural Norway. They are based at the West Coast of Norway, Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane og Møre og Romsdal and have had a focus on Shetland, Orknøyene, Færøyene, Hebridene og Island.

This is the first time they are visiting Wales, and they would like to develop stronger bonds with Welsh artists and makers. They will be will be bringing a group of about 30-40 felt makers and artists in wool and textile to South Wales and they have invited members of the Welsh Norwegian Society to join them.

They will be visiting Cardiff on the Saturday with Craft in the Bay, Millennium Centre and the Norwegian Church, at Wonderwool aon the Sunday, at the Ceilidh in Newport on Tuesday 1st May or West Wales on Wednesday. 


January Social round-up

All this cold and crisp weather is almost making our Norwegian members homesick! Our February meeting will warm you up! Speaking of warm, the January meeting was lovely, informative and hopefully resulted in some woolen creations. January’s coffee and cake meeting had a different activity with a focus on knitting and crochet. WNS member Dr Torunn Kjølberg delivered an interesting talk about Norwegian knitting culture and history, and we had a live demonstration on how wool yarn is spun by Gillian Thomas.

Dr Torun Kjolberg speaking about Norwegian history and tradition of Knitting, showing a Marius patterend jumper

Dr Torun Kjolberg speaking about Norwegian history and tradition of Knitting, showing a Marius patterend jumper

Gillian Thomas brought her spinning wheel and happily demonstrated how to spin wool for knitting 

Gillian Thomas brought her spinning wheel and happily demonstrated how to spin wool for knitting 

Concert with Engegård Quartet

On March 6th in St. David's Hall, Cardiff there will be a lunchtime concert at 1pm with the outstanding, multinational Engegård Quartet! They will be performing Haydn - String Quartet op.76 no.2 and Grieg - String Quartet in G-minor op.27. Members of WNS are invited to meet up before the concert for socialising and an informal lunch. Get in touch for more information or check out the quartet's homepage.

Engegård Quartet, St David’s Hall, Cardiff, Mars 6 at 13:00 - 14:00

Engegård Quartet, St David’s Hall, Cardiff, Mars 6 at 13:00 - 14:00

God Jul, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

2017 WNS Christmas celebrations

Sunday December 17th the Welsh Norwegian Society hosted a Christmas party, known as Juletrefest in Norwegian, at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre in Cardiff. People from all generations; children, adults and seniors joined the Society and filled the Norwegian Church with lively and festive celebrations. Astrid Sandvand Dahlen from the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in London sang Norwegian Christmas songs such as Glade JulDeilig er Jorden and Nordnorsk Julesalme, and her beautiful voice really set the tone for Christmas!

Members of the Society joined in to decorate the Christmas tree and make traditional Norwegian cakes for the party so that we could serve pepperkaker (gingerbread), kransekakestenger, kakemenn, kokkostopper and krumkaker with whipped cream and fresh berries. There is nothing like home baked Christmas cakes!

The raffle tickets had an overwhelming amount of prices, consisting of a variety of Norwegian food and sweets such as marsipangris (marzipan), kransekake, gløgg (mulled wine), brunost (brown cheese), surkål (sauerkraut) and rødkål (red cabbage), as well as CDs with Norwegian Christmas songs. Father Christmas also took the time to meet all the children and he brought presents to every child as he told us the story of when he got stuck in the chimney. Very popular! (Thanks Paul!)

And as Norwegian traditions goes, we danced and sang around the Christmas tree with young and old joining in, showing that the old notes of ‘Nå går vi rundt om en einebærbusk’ are still well remembered, and the children of whom some have never experienced this old Norwegian tradition, really joined in with great enthusiasm. 

We would like to thank all those who came for contributing to such a successful event, let us do it again next Christmas!

The next meeting in the Norwegian Church will be on Sunday January 28th. We will be having the traditional social gathering with coffee and homemade cakes and this month’s activity for the young and old will be knitting and crochet. So bring some wool, your knitting needles or, if you do not have anything we will be using our hands to finger knit, and Wenche will give us an insight in the Norwegian long traditions of knitting through the dark winter months to keep us snuggled up by the fire in the cold winters.

February’s meeting will be hosted in Swansea at Cinema & Co. and further information will follow, so stay tuned into twitter @WelshNorwegian or look at www.welshnorwegian.org for more information.

If you haven’t already joined a member to the Welsh Norwegian Society we hope you will join us and take part in our community. To join or renew you have to pay a small membership fee. This contribution allows us to organise the social gatherings and run our website.




Cardiff Bay controversial Dolffin Quay development plans withdrawn

The Welsh Norwegian Society, having objected to the plan to build on a large scale in Cardiff Bay (which would overshadow the Norwegian Church) is very relieved that the plan has been dropped.

Norwegian Church Arts Centre, Cardiff Bay

Norwegian Church Arts Centre, Cardiff Bay

The Norwegian Seamen’s Church has been “a little piece of Norway” in the dock area of Cardiff for 150 years, and when it ceased to function as a seamen’s church, it first was adopted by Lutheran congregations around Cardiff but was eventually closed in the 1970s.  A Trust was formed so that the very characteristic church building might be saved, and in due course the Church was demolished and rebuilt on its present site, being reopened as the Norwegian Church Arts Centre by Princess Märtha Louise of Norway in April 1992.  Many people involved with the Trust helped to start the Welsh Norwegian Society which has met at the Norwegian Church since 1995 and has ever since been a means of promoting and  disseminating Norwegian culture and bringing together those with an interest in Norway, including many of Norwegian nationality and descent.  The Church and the Society alike have benefited from the Cardiff Hordaland twinning link.