Prints of the Norwegian Church for sale at Cardiff Food Festival in Landsea Square

Fri 5th-Sun 7th July, Cardiff Bay by the Cardiff Food Festival in Landsea Square next to the Weatherpersons.

Please pop by and have a look at the excellent work by artist KATHERINE JONES. Prints [and the original] of the Norwegian Church will be on display and for sale at various sizes and prizes.

Our long standing member and author of the letter "Church not part of council’s portfolio" published in Wales Online  will be at the stand selling the prints by the the artist and to have a chat about the future future concern of the Norwegian Church Preservation Trust.

Norwegian Church, Kathrine Jones.jpg

WNS attends the Cardiff/Hordaland exchange student farewell party.


The WNS was proud to be invited to attend the Hordaland - Cardiff student exchange farewell party on Saturday the 7th of June, in attendance was the Rt. Honourable Mayor Daniel De'Ath who was able to wish them all the best going forward, after enjoying their time here in #Cardiff.

Now they return to #Norway. The students are always welcome here in Wales, Cardiff and our special piece of Norway the Norwegian Church Arts Centre. It's why this place now exists as it does, not just an arts centre, cafe and museum but a hub for these wonderful events, long may this continue.


Here is to welcoming next years students and hope they to can find a second home in Wales with the wonderful host families.


Norwegian Ambassador visit to the church, hosted by the WNS

Yesterday, the Welsh-Norwegian Society welcomed the Norwegian Ambassador for the UK, his excellency Wegger Christian Strømmen, Reverend Cecilie Jorgensen Strømmen and Councillor of Domestic Affairs Stein Paul Rosenberg.


We enjoyed a short film on Cardiff bays amazing transformation throughout it's history, including the regeneration of Cardiff Bay. It was in the late 80s, the Norwegian Church Preservation Trust was formed to find money to save the derelict Norwegian Church from demolition when the new link road was to be built. The Norwegian Church Arts Centre, would never have been possible without the funding and help from the Norwegian County Councils Hordaland and Sogn and Fjordane and of course, the passionate supporter of the Norwegian Church Roald Dahl. He was even the very first president of the Norwegian Church Preservation Trust

With the traditional coffee and cake we were able to chat about Wales, Norway and Cardiffs twinning links to Hordaland County Council (now joined with Sogn and Fjordane to be called Vestland Fylkeskommune). We talked about the exchange program with Atlantic College and the Ambassador had a pleasure to talk to three Hordaland College exchange students about their experience living in Wales and the need for a continued strong friendship and co-operation between us all. They were even able to take in the delights of The Gallery Gift Shop at The Norwegian Church which has a wonderful showcase of hand made items by various local artists and designers.

We look forward to welcoming them back at Norwegian Church Arts Centre 150th Anniversary in December this year and hope they enjoyed their visit to not only Wales, but Cardiff Bay and the wonderful piece of Norway we have for all to enjoy, the Norwegian Church.🇳🇴🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Photos by PhotoMan Johan

Norwegian Embassy in London 
Hordaland fylkeskommune 
Sogn og Fjordane fylkeskommune 
Cardiff Council / Cyngor Caerdydd

#Norway #Norwegian #Cardiff #CardiffBay #Church #Wales #Welcome#VestlandFylkeskommune #CardiffCouncil #TwinningLink#NorwegianEmbassy

The History of the Norwegian Church Cardiff

Dear members of Welsh Norwegian Society and friends.

This newsletter is a reminder of the informative and fun evening coming up in 10 days. We hope as many of you as possible can join us!

The History of the Norwegian Church

An illustrated talk presented by Wenche Davies & Torill Heavens
Wednesday 24th April 2019, 7pm
at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre

Come and learn more about the fascinating story of this little bit of Norway in Wales.
Followed by a fun quiz. Free entry. 
Coffee Shop & Bar open from 6.30pm

unnamed (1).jpg

Future plans for the Norwegian Church

Important Update for WNS members & friends:

Notes on Cardiff Council’s decision (Nov 2018) and where the Welsh Norwegian Society fits in:

We hope this short report will keep all members informed about the latest news concerning the Norwegian Church. We will circulate more information closer to the date of the Extraordinary General Meeting (24th February).

In the meantime, please get in touch if you have any questions or can offer help with this issue.

WNS Committee


1. Cardiff Council: Future plans for the Norwegian Church

What we know:

In mid November 2018, the Cabinet of Cardiff Council agreed a proposal to seek a commercial tenant for the Norwegian Church, “subject to any issues relating to its current Trust status being appropriately resolved”.

It is part of a wider plan to find commercial solutions for heritage buildings in Cardiff including Cardiff Castle and the Norwegian Church. A BBC article stated there was ‘significant commercial interest’ in the Norwegian Church:

In December, a manager of the Tourism, Culture and Events section of the council (which includes the Norwegian Church) referred to the plans for a commercial tenant as ‘press speculation’.

Nonetheless, the Cabinet’s decision is definite – it is in the public domain and is online here:                                          [page 13 & 14 of the document]

What we don’t know:

·         We don’t know any details of what the council mean by a commercial tenant for the Norwegian Church. An officer in the council’s Property division has confirmed it will be for the whole building (so it doesn’t sound like just a new cafe franchise).

·         We also don’t know what they mean by “subject to issues relating to its current Trust status being appropriately resolved”.  Could it mean that the council hope to change the charitable objectives or wind up the trust, thus leaving them free to take a more commercial approach to the running of the Norwegian Church?

·         If the Norwegian Church were to have a commercial tenant, what does this mean for the current public uses of the building as a visitor attraction, etc, and also for the Welsh Norwegian Society?


2. The Charity Issues:

As many WNS members know, Cardiff Council became the sole corporate trustee of The Norwegian Church Preservation Trust in 2006. Although it is under the wing of Cardiff Council, it is still a charitable trust, and is subject to all the usual charity regulations and also the particular charitable objectives stated in the original deeds (essentially to preserve the building and maintain it as a leisure and amenity facility for the public).

When the Trustees were considering the handover to the Council in 2006, the Charity Commission wrote to remind them that “the property is impressed with charitable trusts and cannot simply be absorbed into the corporate property of the Council”. There was also a reminder about particular clauses of the original declaration of the trust, 1987, should the Trustees seek to wind up the Trust. (These documents are in the late Ewart Parkinson’s papers at Glamorgan Archives. Ewart was Chairman and later President of the Trust until the handover in 2006). (See Background Note 1)


3. Questions for the Welsh Norwegian Society:

Given WNS’s long history of connections to the Norwegian Church and our special status*, does WNS wish to act as a guardian of the Norwegian Church as we know it, and aim to protect it from the possible implications of a commercial tenancy? Do we also wish to protect our longstanding free use of the building for our WNS meetings?

We will formally ask members for their views at the Extraordinary General Meeting on Sunday 24th February.

WNS is in the unique position of having greater awareness and understanding of the issues than the majority of the public who use and support the Norwegian Church. It is likely that most people are unaware of the Cabinet’s decision. The Trust status and the associated charity issues are probably not widely understood.


First Steps

The WNS committee has decided to join Cardiff Third Sector Council as a member organisation. We have already asked C3SC for advice about the issues surrounding the Norwegian Church Preservation Trust.

We will also write to Cardiff Council and diplomatically ask for more detailed information about the council’s plans for the Norwegian Church. We will ask to be consulted on the future plans, and ask again for the Norwegian Church Advisory Committee to be reinstated, with WNS as a member.

*See Background Notes 2 & 3 at the end of this report


4. Purchase of the land – Britannia Park:

The Cabinet meeting in November also agreed that Cardiff Council will purchase Britannia Park from Associated British Ports (ABP). Cardiff Council will then become the ground landlord for the Norwegian Church, as well as the corporate trustee of the Norwegian Church Preservation Trust. This would seem to be a good thing, at least from the point of view that it removes the worry that the Norwegian Church’s ground lease from ABP was due to expire in a few years.

Cardiff Council does want to develop the land surrounding the Norwegian Church but, it seems, on a less extreme scale than the Dolffin Quay proposals put forward by ABP in 2017. The Council will of course be fully aware of the level of public opposition to the Dolffin Quay scheme.

Restaurant and leisure quarter plan for Bay area:

People involved in the Dolffin Quay campaign are naturally keeping their ears to the ground for news of future developments on Britannia Park, surrounding the Norwegian Church. Hopefully it will be development of a more appropriate, human scale, while maintaining the parks as recreation spaces. We’ve heard talk that some development will be proposed along the waterfront strip running north from the Norwegian Church towards the Senedd (the grass area with trees). The WNS Committee will ask to be involved in pre-planning consultations about this development.



Background Notes for newer members & friends

Background Note 1:

Short history of the Norwegian Church Preservation Trust:

The Norwegian Church Preservation Trust was formed in 1987 to preserve the then derelict Norwegian Seamen’s Church. Charitable donations were raised from Hordaland Fylkeskommune (£90,000) and Cardiff Bay Development Corporation (£50,000), and numerous other organisations. The Trust eventually secured a prime waterfront location for the reconstruction of the Norwegian Church at the heart of the Cardiff Bay development (the Norwegian Church was officially reopened in 1992). It was an independent charitable trust from 1987 to 2006.

In 2005, the Trustees approached Cardiff Council to ask if they were interested in becoming sole corporate trustee of the charity. The long-serving Trustees had various reasons for wanting to step down, including family and personal circumstances. They initially tried to find individual new trustees but did not find enough interested people. The transfer was agreed and took place in May 2006. Cardiff Council has been the sole trustee of the Trust since then.


Background Note 2:

Welsh Norwegian Society: Longstanding connections to the Norwegian Church:

After the reconstructed Norwegian Church had reopened in 1992 (as a visitor attraction and arts centre), the Welsh Norwegian Society was formed to maintain the community of people with connections to the old Norwegian Church and its congregation, and also to encourage cultural links with Norway, etc.

Several key people with connections to the old Norwegian Church were founder members of WNS and have been long-serving pillars of the Welsh Norwegian Society, and also the former Norwegian Community coffee afternoons.

Also, there was always a strong representation of WNS members who served on the Management Committee of the Norwegian Church itself - the management committee was appointed by the Trustees to oversee the day to day running of the building. Over the years, WNS members have given countless hours of (unpaid) time towards cultural activities and the general running of the Norwegian Church.


Background Note 3:

Welsh Norwegian Society’s special status in relation to the Norwegian Church:

Importantly, WNS is the only group to have always been granted free use of the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, due to its special status as a continuation of the old congregation and a promoter of ongoing cultural links with Norway*.

When the original Trustees of the Norwegian Church Preservation Trust handed over to the Council in 2006, they asked for this recognition of WNS to be continued. It was agreed that an Advisory Committee would be formed by Cardiff Council to guide the management of the Norwegian Church, with representation from WNS, Hordaland, ABP (landowner), etc.

This was formally recorded in Cardiff Council’s Executive meeting of April 2006.

In reality, the Advisory Committee sadly petered out.
WNS and Hordaland have raised this with the Council many times, asking for the Advisory Committee to be reinstated, but the council have effectively batted away the questions.

*The former Norwegian Community coffee afternoons were also given free use of the Norwegian Church, but sadly this group ceased to exist around 2012 when their use of the building became more restricted. Thankfully, the WNS coffee afternoons are a happy revival of this tradition.



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, 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 for details.

PayPal payments to be made to

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 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 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, 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 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

unnamed (1).jpg

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

unnamed (2).jpg

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 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.


Nor w.jpg


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.