Norway is one of Thailand’s closest friends in Europe since the relationship was opened up when King Chulalongkorn visited the Scandinavian kingdom in 1907. Today, Thais enjoy Norwegian seafood including Norway’s famed salmon while exporting ฿6 billion in products to the northern kingdom voted among one of the best places in the world to live.
May is a great month to celebrate the strong relationships between the Kingdoms of Norway and Thailand as they forge stronger business ties in Europe and Southeast Asia.
May 17th is Norwegian Constitution Day but the Thai Norwegian Chamber of Commerce this year is using the occasion to celebrate May 17th 1907 when Thailand’s King Chulalongkorn or Rama V visited Norway.
This has been memorialised for posterity on the back of the new ฿100 banknotes and shows King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua, which was the famous monarch’s reigning title, on the front.
Norway like Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and May 17th is its national day, a day of pride
Norway, like Thailand, is a constitutional monarchy with King Harald V as Head of State.
To Norwegians, the ‘Seventeenth May’ is a day of celebration but it was not always so.
For decades after the 17th May 1814, Norway, even though it was acknowledged as a separate kingdom, shared the same monarch as Sweden and Swedish authorities tried to suppress it until 1833.
The day became a rallying cry for students and popular opinion until Norway finally, in 1905, sundered the union with Sweden when Denmark’s Prince Carl became King Haakon VII of Norway.
Celebrations in Norway with school children marching in front of the Royal Palace in Oslo
Back to today, when on May 17th, Norwegians around the world celebrate their country as well as its traditions and culture.
This includes the ‘Bunad’ national costumes and people marching through Norway’s towns and cities.
In the capital Oslo, famous for its green spaces and museums, school children accompanied by brass bands march in front of the Royal Palace to celebrate the nation.
One of the best places in the world to live
Norway has featured at the top of the world’s best place to live surveys, conducted by the UN, for nearly a decade now with high earning jobs, a beautiful environment and strong social values.
The relationship between Norway and Thailand goes back to the visit by King Chulalongkorn in 1907 at a time when the Thai King played a key role in bringing Thailand closer to Europe.
Thailand exported ฿6 billion in goods to Norway in 2019 and imported lots of seafood including salmon
The relationship developed economically since then with figures from 2019 showing that Thailand exported nearly ฿6 billion in goods to Norway while Thailand imports, among other things a large quantity of Norwegians seafood products.
This includes fresh and smoked Norwegian salmon which is a consumer favourite in Thailand.
‘The Norwegian seafood industry has managed to defy the biggest challenges amid uncertainties and instabilities around the world,’ said Asbjorn Warvik Rortveit of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) in January this year. ‘We have been able to maintain a strong position in the Thai market by working closely with our business partners.’
Broader trading relationship and sought after free trade pact with the European Free Trade Association
Thailand is also working to establish a free trade pact with the European Free Trade Association (Efta) which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Trade between Norway and Thailand also includes telecommunications, chemicals, energy and consumer products.
Established in 1996, the Thai Norwegian Chamber of Commerce under President Axel Blom is celebrating its 25th year.
The Norwegian Ambassador to Thailand at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bangkok is Kjersti Rødsmoen.