Working With Norwegians

The Intriguing Norwegian Custom: Hanging Portraits of Royalty in the Bathroom

Throughout the world, various customs and traditions define a country’s unique identity. For Norway, one such custom is the practice of hanging pictures of the king and queen in their bathrooms. At first glance, this might seem like an odd or humorous tradition, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. By delving into the historical, cultural, and practical reasons for this practice, we can better appreciate the significance of this peculiar Norwegian custom.

Historical Roots

The tradition of hanging portraits of the king and queen in Norwegian bathrooms dates back to the early 20th century when King Haakon VII and Queen Maud ascended to the throne in 1905. As the first king and queen of modern Norway, they symbolized the country’s newfound independence and unity after centuries of foreign rule. Hanging their portraits in the bathroom was an expression of loyalty and reverence to the monarchy, reflecting the deep respect Norwegians had for their royal family.

Cultural Significance

Norway is a constitutional monarchy, and its royal family continues to play a significant role in the country’s cultural identity. The presence of the king and queen’s portraits in the bathroom serves as a reminder of the unity, stability, and continuity they represent. Additionally, the bathroom is a private and intimate space, so having the portraits there also conveys a sense of personal connection between the royal family and ordinary citizens.

Practical Reasons

Apart from the historical and cultural significance, there is also a practical reason for this tradition. In Norwegian homes, bathrooms are typically small and have limited wall space. By hanging the portraits of the king and queen in the bathroom, Norwegians are effectively utilizing this space, ensuring that the portraits are always visible and not overshadowed by other decorative elements in the home. Moreover, in a room where daily routines take place, the portraits serve as a constant reminder of the nation’s heritage and identity.

A Display of National Pride

Norway is known for its strong sense of national pride, and this custom is a testament to that. By hanging the portraits of their monarchs in the bathroom, Norwegians are demonstrating their loyalty and affection for their royal family. The tradition also serves as a way to pass down these sentiments to future generations, instilling a sense of national identity in the younger members of the family.

Evolution of the Tradition

Over the years, the tradition has evolved and adapted to the changing times. The portraits of the reigning monarchs, King Harald V and Queen Sonja, now grace the walls of many Norwegian bathrooms. Some households have even incorporated a touch of humor into the custom, with the use of caricatures or playful images of the king and queen. This modern twist on the tradition showcases the unique blend of respect, affection, and humor that characterizes the Norwegian people.

In Conclusion

The Norwegian custom of hanging pictures of the king and queen in their bathrooms is a fascinating mix of history, culture, practicality, and national pride. It serves as a reminder of the country’s storied past and the enduring connection between the royal family and the Norwegian people. Through this seemingly quirky tradition, we can gain a deeper understanding of Norway’s rich heritage and the values that define its people.

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