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VELKOMMEN

-Let us celebrate together our Scandinavian heritage-

Enjoy and feel velkommen (welcome) to attend our fellowship and events at our lodge. Our lodge hosted the Sons of Norway International Convention August 17-24, 2014 at the Omni Hotel in downtown Jacksonville, Florida.

Our lodge will be hosting a Regetta soon.

About Us

The Sons of Norway is a fraternal benefit society founded and based in Minneapolis with lodges in the United States, Canada, and Norway.  With 60,000 members worldwide and nearly 160 members locally, the Sons of Norway is the largest Norwegian organization outside of Norway.  Sons of Norway and its members are dedicated to preserving and promoting Norwegian heritage throughout North America and Norway.

The Gateway to Florida Lodge 3-541 is one of more than 400 local lodges, who, along with the international Headquarters, work to meet the cultural, heritage and financial needs of our members.  Our local lodge was founded in 1974 with a core group of individuals interested in perpetuating their Norwegian heritage.

The Gateway to Florida Lodge was formed April 6, 1974 and became the eighth lodge chartered in Florida.  Lodges in Florida and South Carolina comprise Zone 5 and are part of the Third District that includes the Eastern seaboard of the United States.  Eight districts make up the organization and as a member or guest, you are welcome at any lodge anywhere anytime.

Culture and social meetings are normally held 6:30 p.m. the second Friday evening of the month at the Sheppard of the Woods Lutheran Church, 7860 Southside Boulevard in the Southside area of Jacksonville.
However, other special events are scheduled throughout the year occurring at different times and locations, so please check our Calendar of Events for details.

With a keen interest in our Norwegian/Scandinavian roots and the varied ways in which to express it, the Gateway to Florida Lodge has several unique activities not always found in other lodges.  Members who enjoy singing, music, and sharing their talent formed the musical ensemble, Viking Voices.  They perform at meeting and other events as required. 

With the love of the sea running through our Nordic roots, the lodge has three vessels that provide notoriety, fun, and competition.  Hagar is a 10th century authentic replica of a Viking coastal raiding craft that participates in three annual Regattas hosted by various Florida lodges.
The competition is fierce and events fun, drawing members and friends from around the state for the weekend activities.  In order to allow more people to enjoy the Regattas, the lodge acquired Tapper Viking, a sister ship to Hagar.

For more details and to participate in this unique aspect of Sons of Norway membership, please click on the "Contact Us" link at the top of the page.

Syttende Mai

Syttende Mai on May 17 is Norway’s Independence Day, I always thought. Did you, too?

Syttende Mai (1814) is actually Constitution Day. However, Independence Day is on June 7. On such ancient land, it is surprising to realize that as a nation modern Norway is so young - less than 100 years old. Here is a quick "time line": Before the Viking age, Norway was split into numerous, small fiefdoms.

In 872 AD, Harold the Fairhaired became Norway’s first king when he united most of the feuding states. The union did not survive him and feuding returned.

Approximately 800-1100 AD is the Viking age. The chieftains of these small fiefdoms, in shifting alliances with each other and with Danish chieftains, traded, raided and colonized Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland and North America. Shifting alliances, feuding and battling also resulted in occasional, but not lasting, periods of unity under varying Norwegian or Danish kings.

1100-1380 AD is an age of growth of commerce and Christianity. Haakon the Fourth Haakonson (1217-63) created a strong, centralized power and instituted hereditary monarchy. However, the royal male line died out in 1319. Declining commerce and the Black Death further weakened the country.

In 1380 AD Norway was inherited by the Danish king, Olav the Fourth, His father was Norway’s Haakon the Sixth and his mother was daughter of the Danish king, Valdemar Atterdag. From 1380 - 1813 Norway was in union with Denmark, with equal rights confirmed several times but with fluctuating feelings of unity and separateness on the part of the Norwegians.

In 1813 the Danish king was forced to cede Norway to Sweden as a result of being on the losing side of the Napoleonic wars. The Norwegians were outraged at the thought of their country being given away like a Danish piece of property. They were joined in their outrage by the heir to the Danish throne, Christian, who was their governor.

On May 17, 1814, a Norwegian constitution was signed, on the estate of Eidsvoll , after only two weeks of formulation based on the constitution of the United States. Christian was elected to be Norwegian king. However, after a short war in that same year, Norway had to agree to enter into union with Sweden.

From 1814 - 1905, Norway was in Swedish union but only in regards to the king and to foreign policy. Norway had self-rule based on their constitution.

On June 7, 1905 the Norwegian government, Stortinget, declared the union with Sweden dissolved after increasing Norwegian sentiment against the union and strong, Swedish objections to dissolution. War was eminent but negotiations won the day. Elections ensured Norwegian independence. In 1906, after another election showed the majority were for monarchy, the Danish prince, Carl, was crowned the Norwegian king as Haakon VII. His grandson is the current king, Harald V.