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Royal Christmas

The unusual Christmas traditions of Norway’s royal family

King Harald and Queen Sonja look at drawings sent to them by children to mark National Day 2021

Every royal family has its own traditions. The Norwegian Royal Family celebrates Christmas in its own style. They blend the ancient Norwegian Christmas traditions with Christmas traditions they have brought with them from their family from Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

In Norway, there are several traditions on what to eat for dinner on Christmas Eve. The eastern part of the country eats Christmas ribs, the western parts of the country eat dried lamb, and the northern part of Norway eats cod. The Norwegian Royal Family eat none of the above. They have adopted a Danish Christmas tradition and eat grilled pork on Christmas Eve. This is a tradition the Royal Family has never broken and which they take from King Harald’s grandfather, King Haakon VII, who was a Prince of Denmark before he was elected King of Norway in 1905.

The Norwegian Royal Family do not celebrate Christmas at the palace in Oslo. There is a long tradition that the nation’s royal family always celebrate at “Kongsseteren” (English: The King’s Shieling). This is one of the King’s private residences, located in Holmenkollen, which is a very exclusive residential area about ten minutes by car outside Oslo City Centre.

The building was finished in 1910 and was given as a gift from the Norwegian people to King Haakon VII. The building was built as one would make any Norwegian farm in the 1700s. This structure provides a very traditional Norwegian atmosphere, and the estate is always decorated for Christmas in the style of Norwegian peasant traditions.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit usually celebrate Christmas with the King and Queen in Oslo, but sometimes, in the last few years, they have celebrated alone with their children at their private cabin located in the Norwegian mountains.

Princess Märtha Louise has celebrated with her father and mother in Oslo when she has not spent Christmas with her family in her private villa located in Oslo.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written six books on historical subjects and more than 1.500 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.