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Christmas comes to Cardiff’s Norwegian Church

30 November 2022

Wales’s small but vibrant Norwegian community will celebrate the arrival of the festive season on Sunday (4 December), and they’re inviting the public to join them for their annual Festival of Light and Friendship at their iconic church on Cardiff Bay.

Norwegians came to Wales in the 19th century as sailors and traders bringing pit props and supplies to the coal mines of south Wales as the industry boomed. Many settled, including the family of author Roald Dahl. He was born in Cardiff and baptised in the small church that was built in the Bute docks to serve the local community and visiting seamen.

As the community dispersed, the white wooden church fell into disuse and disrepair, but in later life Dahl led the campaign to have it preserved. It was eventually rebuilt at its present position on the waterfront, and now serves as an arts centre and café. It remains a focal point for Norwegians living, working and studying across Wales.

The church café will be open to all on Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm, serving Norwegian favourites including waffles, cakes, mulled wine, hotdogs and lapskaus – a close relation to Welsh cawl.

There will be workshops in the main hall for those who’d like to learn how to make Scandinavian-style Christmas decorations. Places can be booked for a small fee online at

As dusk falls, around 4.30 pm, there will be a traditional outdoor lantern procession to light the Christmas tree and welcome Santa. The band of the Salvation Army will play.

This event is hosted by the Welsh-Norwegian Society, the Norwegian Church Cardiff Bay Charity and Vestland County Council in Norway, which has long supported the restoration of the church building and the maintenance of cultural and education ties between south Wales and west Norway.