The iconic Norwegian Church on Cardiff Bay’s water’s edge reopens at 11am on Tuesday, May 17th, following extensive renovations.
The newly refurbished Norwegian Church Arts Centre, which has been revitalised with a complete refurbishment programme funded by the Landfill Communities Fund, with assistance from our partner Hordaland County Council, will reopen as Norwegians celebrate their national
Norwegian Day is commemorated annually on May 17th and in Cardiff a number of Welsh Norwegian Society members dress in colourful traditional costume and attend the official flagraising ceremony at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre.
The refurbishment includes a new terrace and extension to the coffee shop as well as the installation of a lifting platform to the first floor gallery and exhibition space. The renovations will spark a new lease of life for the centre with a full programme of events and exhibitions planned for the coming months.
Executive Member for Sport, Culture and Leisure, Cllr Nigel Howells said, “It’s fantastic that we are opening the Norwegian Church Arts Centre on such an important day for Norwegian people and their country.
“The refurbishment is great and will enable us to host many events at the centre and secure the future of the church for many years to come.
“The church is an iconic part of Cardiff’s history and it is wonderful to see that it has been renovated and given a new lease of life.”
Official Re-Opening – Timetable:
Tuesday 17th May 2011, at Norwegian Church Arts Centre
10.45am – VIPs arrive
11am Flag Raising
11.15am – Speeches Councillor Keith Hyde, The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of Cardiff and Torill Selsvold Nyborg, County Mayor from Hordaland, opening of the Hordaland Terasse
11.20 – Plaque unveiling and photocall
The Norwegian Church is a poignant reminder of the days when Cardiff was one of the greatest sea ports in the world. Founded in 1868 by Herman Lunde of Oslo and built at the entrance to the Bute West Dock, the church was an oasis for Scandinavian religion, culture and traditions.
The docks declined rapidly after WWII and the church closed in 1974 upon de-consecration and fell into a state of disrepair. In 1987, the Norwegian Church Preservation Trust raised money to re-build the little white church on the waterfront. Its first president was the author Roald Dahl who was christened at the church. The building was carefully dismantled with money raised from Cardiff and Bergen and
its reconstruction was completed by the 8th April 1992, when it was reopened by Princess Martha Louise of Norway. The Art Centre and Coffee Shop soon became a firm favourite in the Bay.
The Grieg Room is set to host Live@theChurch, with monthly music concerts, jazz and guitar workshops, and dance classes. The church will still be the weekly home to Hijinx Theatre, offering accessible, entertaining and challenging activities for adults with learning disabilities; along with running craft markets and numerous events.
Visitors will see many new facilities including a lifting platform to the first floor gallery and exhibition area. This ensures the Norwegian Church will become DDA compliant for the first time. Open 7 days a week, there is a full programme of art and exhibitions scheduled, along with the new external decked terrasse.
The finest Norwegian pine heartwood for decking and cladding of extension was kindly donated from our friends in Hordaland. During a wind powered voyage that took 11 days, this wood was shipped from Bergen to Cardiff in July 2010, by the Tres Hombres, a topsail schooner.
The renovations also extend the coffee shop, Norsk. Open for brunch, lunch, and afternoon tea, it is hoped that regular favourites and a new menu will entice visitors to relax here and sample the Welsh Norwegian cuisine. Also available for private hire, this is the ideal location for distinctive and personal celebrations. The newly renovated facility offers everything you could wish for on your big day, and is available for wedding blessings and receptions. With celebratory drinks in the Dahl Gallery or a sit down function in the Grieg Room, the Norwegian Church has a new lease of life!