The Bicentenary of the Norwegian Constitution in 2014 will raise awareness of what our Constitution means today and the role it can be expected to play in our future democracy

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17 May in Oslo. 
Photo: Hege M. Kolshus Hansen/ MFA Norway.

- Sovereignty of the people is the central feature of the Norwegian Constitution. The King does not have absolute power. Ultimately, all the power lies with the Storting, says Professor Ola Mestad, who is leading the research group for the bicentenary of the Norwegian Constitution this year.

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The Norwegian Constitution has been amended more than 400 times since 1814, but, notwithstanding this, is considered to be the same working document. And this makes it Europe’s oldest and the world’s second oldest written constitution still in operation.

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Eidsvollsbygningen. 
Photo: Petter Foss/ MFA Norway.

As a result of the Treaty of Kiel, which was signed in January 1814, Norway became part of a union with Sweden. On 17 May the “men of Eidsvoll” signed the Norwegian Constitution. Later in the year, after a brief war, the Moss Convention was signed, under which Sweden agreed to Norway having its own constitution. The Norwegian Constitution was saved.

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