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The Norwegian Student Society Bicentenary stamp

The Norwegian Student Society Bicentenary stamp
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In July 1813 the first batch of students, eighteen in all, were enrolled at DetkongeligeFrederiksUniversitet (the Royal Frederick University) in Christiania.They lived in different parts of the city and, when they met, they often talked about establishing a meeting place. On 1 October the eighteen students agreed to put together the necessary funds to found a students' society. They contributed 15 riksdaler each and an errand boy was dispatched to make the purchases: tea, sugar, two teapots, two milk jugs, two dozen tea cups and a minutes book. The boy received two daler for the job. Total expenses: 156 daler. The whole group met the next day, 2 October 1813, and over a cup of tea founded De norskeStuderendesSamfund and elected Peter Munch Wang as its first president. No particular plans were made, but the members met every Sunday. They rented premises in various locations until 1860 when they moved into their own building at Universitetsgaten 26.

Initially the Students' Society was a closed club, but in 1820 it opened its doors to all academics. That was the start of the organisation's journey to becoming an important arena in the community life of the city. It also changed its name to DetnorskeStudenter-Samfund. The "new" Society played a large part in establishing Norway's Constitution Day, 17 May, as a national day of celebration. In 1869 Bjornstjerne Bjornson was elected as president and this helped to consolidate the Society's position as a significant forum for political debate.

Today, the Norwegian Students' Society serves students at the University and other educational institutions in Oslo. It is located in its own building, Chateau Neuf, at Majorstuen in Oslo, not far from the University at Blindern. The building was inaugurated in 1973. At that time the Society was characterized by political polarization. The main assembly room, where the debates took place, was therefore accessible by two stairways- one to the right and one to the left. Everyone is allowed to take part in the debates and the Society is often called Norway's most open discussion platform.

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