Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Hundred Year's Ago

1905 – A Peaceful Separation (The Centennial Anniversary Norway 1905-2005)

I have spent a day in Helsinki taking part in the celebration of the 30th year anniversary of the beutiful Swedish-Finnish cultural center at Hanaholmen in the Helsinki archiepelago.

There, we also spent an evening discussing how we in 2009 should commemorate the momenteous event in 1809 when Sweden lost Finland and it was placed under the rule of the Tsar of Russia.

Up until then, it had been a completely unified state. The separation was - needless to say - an event of the greatest importance for both nations.

We discussed it in the light of the ongoing commemoration of the dissolution of the union between Sweden and Norway in 1905 - a hundred years ago. That was the modern birth of the independent nation of Norway.

It was a peaceful affairs, although with some background rumblings. But it was a union so loose as to make it questionable if the word union was even correct.

The same person was King of Sweden and King of Norway. That's was it. And then there was the gradual establishment of a rudimentary foreign service, and that become the source of the dispute that ultimately sealed the fate of the union.

It was on June 7th 1905 that the Norwegian Storting took the decision that the King of Sweden was no longer to be seen as the King of Norway.

It was a dramatic time. Only days before, virtually the entire Imperial Russian navy had been destroyed by the Japanese navy in the Tsusima Straits between Japan and Korea.

June 7th is on Tuesday next week. I will be in Oslo then, although on different business, establishing even better links between the high-tech venture capital business on the top of Europe.

But history always count. If we don't understand history, we will not be able to face the future.