Norway's National Day, the 17th of May, is a grand celebration filled with joy, patriotism, and a strong sense of community. It is a time when Norwegians come together to commemorate their independence and embrace their cultural heritage. As an employer in Norway, this special day presents a unique opportunity to foster inclusivity and make foreigners feel welcome. In this blog, we will explore the significance of the 17th of May, discuss its importance from an employer's perspective, and highlight ways to create an inclusive environment for foreigners during the celebration.
We at Huma represent a bunch of nationalities, and our Oslo HQ is well aware that this day might feel pretty strange for foreigners. Therefor (although we definitely don't have all the answers) we collected some tips for you, on how to help everyone feel included!
Understanding the 17th of May:
The 17th of May marks the signing of Norway's Constitution in 1814, a pivotal event in the country's history that solidified its independence and laid the foundation for democracy. This day holds deep cultural significance for Norwegians, who express their national pride through parades, concerts, traditional costumes (bunads), speeches, and feasting. It is a family-oriented celebration where communities gather to commemorate their heritage and honor their country's values.
The Role of Employers:
Employers play a vital role in creating a positive work environment that fosters inclusivity and embraces diversity. Recognizing and celebrating cultural events, such as the 17th of May, is an excellent opportunity to strengthen bonds among employees and enhance team spirit. By acknowledging this national celebration, employers can make foreigners feel valued, respected, and included in the company culture.
Tips for Making Foreigners Feel Welcome:
- Educate and Share Information: Provide your foreign employees with background knowledge about the 17th of May, its historical significance, and the various traditions associated with the day. Encourage open discussions and answer any questions they may have.
- Organize Workplace Celebrations: Arrange workplace celebrations to mark the 17th of May. Decorate the office with Norwegian flags. Consider organizing a communal breakfast or lunch where everyone can indulge in traditional Norwegian food and delicacies.
- Involve Foreign Employees: Engage foreign employees in the planning process for the celebration. Encourage them to contribute their own cultural elements or participate in the parades or performances. This involvement will make them feel included and appreciated.
- Language Support: Consider providing language support to foreign employees who are not yet fluent in Norwegian. Translating important information, such as speeches or announcements, will help them feel more connected to the celebration and understand its significance.
- Cultural Exchange: Encourage employees to share their own cultural traditions and experiences during the 17th of May celebration. Arrange activities where employees can showcase their culture, such as music, dances, food, or presentations, fostering a sense of cultural exchange and understanding.
The 17th of May is a momentous day in Norway, and as an employer, embracing this celebration can create a welcoming and inclusive environment for foreign employees. By fostering a sense of community, cultural exchange, and understanding, you can strengthen your team's bond and ensure that everyone feels valued and appreciated. In short: Everyone is welcome to take part, so let's embrace the spirit of the 17th of May, all together!