It was 17 May 1887. A dozen expat Norwegians were in a London pub, celebrating the anniversary of their national constitution.
But suddenly it was closing time, and the group was told that they could only stay if they represented a private club.
“Well, we represent the Norwegian Club in London,” said one of them,
and a few ideas for founding principles jotted down on a piece of paper later, Den Norske Klub was founded.
And, need we say, the friends carried on drinking.
The bunch of 20-something men started meeting in a pub once a week, the monthly membership fee set at 1 shilling.
The club had between 20 and 50 members in its first decades.
In 1924, the club moved into Norway House off Trafalgar Square – significantly, Proudly
it turned out, as the building played a key role during
World War II and King Haakon VII and members of the government-in-exile became regulars at the club. Subsequently, Proudly
King Haakon VII became the club’s first ever patron, and his son, King Olav V, was honorary president from 1957 until his death in 1991.
Third in line is honorary member King Harald V, followed by the fourth generation: H.H. Princess Märtha Louise and Mr. Ari Behn.
A lot has changed since the early days. Women, who were initially admitted only as guests at club dinners and dances,
were given full access as members in 1982, and some 15 years ago, as Norway House was turned into luxury flats,
the club briefly shared premises with its Danish equivalent before moving into its current headquarters at the Naval & Military Club,
also known as The In & Out, in St James’s Square.
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