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The mysterious package in Sel kommune, Norway

The mysterious package was as I wrote yesterday opened, and it contained mostly documents, newspapers and scarfs/decorative banners. The banners were marked “to the king”.

When the first mayor of Sel, Johan Nygaard gave the package in the late 1920s, he had written on the package that it could be opened in 2012.

The package weight a bit over three kilos, was 40 x 28 cm, and 9 cm thick. The envelope has been in a showcase at the local museum since 1997, and all the content of the package is now back in the same showcase. So everyone can come and have a look.

There have been some disappointment around the actual content of the package; I said yesterday that I didn’t understand the reason for keeping the content a secret for a hundred years. As the envelope also contains a newspaper from 1914 and one from 1919, it is true that it’s not a 100 year package, after all. But after reading some more about the documents and listening to an interview with one of the professors; I’ve come to the conclusion that I think it was rather great that the mayor Nygaard wanted to make a time capsule over the highlights of his political career.

In 1912 the little town celebrated the 300 year anniversary of the “Battle of Kringen”, when Norwegian farmers fought the Scottish army while the war between the union Danmark-Norway and Sweden. The Norwegian farmers won the “Battle of Kringen”, and the jubilee in 1912 was celebrated in the present of his Majesty King Haakon. The decorating banner in the time capsule is from this event.  

I think we also should take under consideration that Norway became an independent country in 1905, so when the celebration in Sel was happening in 1912, it was only seven years after the kings arrival to Norway. The celebration of the “Battle of Kringen” was probably very important for the Norwegian self-esteem at the beginning of a journey without any union support. This can very well be the reason the lord mayor wanted to document the event, and when he started to collect items for the package.

There were several letters posted in America, and I believe this is as interesting and important as the rest of the documents. The Norwegian emigration to America was considerable, of all the countries in Europe only Ireland had more emigrants than us. So the influence from the states goes back to the times were letters from Americas could money and presents that kept families alive during harsh winters and difficult times. There are a lot of Norwegian descendants living in the States today, and our ties to the States have always been strong. 

The rest of the documents were protocols and receipts, and newspapers. The fact that the newspapers were from 1914 and 1919 have been disturbing for some, because this shows that the envelope has not been sealed for a hundred years as they believed.

I think that mayor Johan Nygaard started collecting the items for his package in 1912, but didn’t seal off the envelope until he delivered the package in the late 1920’s.

It’s truly a great little story, and it was good for Norway to have this mysterious package to concentrate on the same day that our court consented the terrorist for those horrible actions from last summer. We needed the little mystery to be able to breath, so I say thank you, Mayor Johan Nygaard 🙂