The Norwegian Society, or “Det Norske Selskap i District of Columbia”, as it was first called, was formally founded on February the 19th, 1902. Everyone, i.e. men only, of Norwegian descent were eligible for membership. Ladies would be admitted only on special occasions. The growth of Washington between World Wars I and II marked a change in the purpose and direction of the Society. Women joined the ranks as the membership grew, increasing emphasis was placed on culture along with good fellowship. After World War II, the Society took on a new direction. It became a helping hand for the Norwegian Embassy.
The Norwegian Society had a board of directors which met periodically to conduct business, and a general annual meeting once a year to elect officers.
The Society varies from other Norwegian organizations in that it did not operate as a traditional club with scheduled meetings. The Society has sponsored theater parties at the National Gallery, the Kennedy Center, the Corcoran, the Shakespeare Theater, Wolf Trap and Georgetown University. We have enjoyed private viewings of the world’s largest collection of Munch’s paintings. We have sailed the Bay. The Society offer diverse programs which have included receptions honoring the Ambassador from Norway, a St. Hans Midsummer Eve picnic, Høstfest, and a Christmas party with food in celebration of Norwegian cuisine. The 21st Century luncheon features a speaker who presents a program on a current subject.
The epitome of the annual events, Norway’s Constitution day, the 17th of May, has been celebrated every year with gala dinner, parade and picnic.
The Society has an informative newsletter, which is distributed to members by mail as well as digitally. Membership fee, single or family, is collected annually.
In 2016 the Norwegian Church of Washington DC and Norwegian Society started a close collaboration with a shared website and then officially merged into one organization in 2019.