Can Anyone Help with a Norwegian Rhyme with the Line, “Kan du gleme gammel Norge”?

David Russett wrote:

I’m trying to find the words to a Norwegian rhyme or song. The only part I know goes something like:

Kan du gleme gammel Norge?
O vey! Ya, ya, gleme kan!

Or it may be:

Kan du huske gammel Norge?
Ove! Ya, Ya, huske kan!

Does anyone know the rest of this little rhyme? Some of the old Norwegians when I was a kid knew this and would recite it. I know there is much more to it that those two lines.

If anyone can help David with the Norwegian words and/or an English translation to this song, please let us know in the comments below.


Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 9:17 am and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Languages, Norway, Norwegian, Norwegian Children's Songs, Norwegian Nursery Rhymes, Nursery Rhymes, Questions, Readers Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

11 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with a Norwegian Rhyme with the Line, “Kan du gleme gammel Norge”?”

  1. valerie Says:

    There are versions of it on youtube. I suspect your spelling was incorrect with one word, which makes it hard to search..

  2. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for your help Valerie!

    Does that mean the spelling should be “Kan Du Glemme Gamle Norge”?

    It seems to translate to “Can you forget old Norway” or “How can you forget old Norway”?

    I found these lyrics…

    Kan Du Glemme Gamle Norge?

    Kan du glemme gamle Norge?
    Aldri jeg det glemme kan,
    som med stolte klippeborge
    er og blir mitt fødeland

    Kan du glemme dette landet
    som dig først tok i sin favn?
    Mon du fi nne vil et annet
    med så stolt og herlig navn?

    Kan du glemme Norges skover
    med sin furu, birk og gran?
    Kan du glemme sjøens vover,
    ald du da forglemme kan.

    Rough English translation I did (I welcome criticism/help!)…

    Can you forget old Norway?
    That I can never forget,
    As the proud citizen(?)
    It is and remains my country of birth.

    Can you forget this country
    that first took you in its arms?
    Can you ever find another
    With a proud and glorious name?

    Can you forget about Norway’s fjords
    With its pine, Birk(?) and spruce?
    Can you forget lake vover(?),
    (?) then you can forget.

    I welcome help with the translation!

    This is an American Norwegian immigrant song.

  3. Barb Tendall Sellevold Says:

    My grandmother and mother sang this to me back in the 1930’s. We sang it during the 17th of May parade in Chicago. I thought it was the national anthem as a child. My husband tracked your site down based on my memories of the words I remembered. Thanks for the memories! I’m now 77 years old.

  4. Cathrine Says:


    In the song ‘Kan du glemme gamle Norge’

    ‘kippeborg’ isn’t spelled right.

    It should be ‘klippeborg’ meaning a fortress on a cliff.


    Kan du glemme Norges skover

    med sin furu, BJØRK (birk is misspelling) og gran?

    = Can you forget Norway’s forests

    with its pine, birch and spruce?

    Kan du glemme sjøens vover,

    aldRI du da forglemme kan.

    Can you forget lake vover(?),
    never then you can forget.

    I’m not sure about the word ‘vover’,

    but I think it has to mean ‘surface’.

    The whole song;

    1.Kan du glemme gamle Norge, aldri jeg det glemme kan,
    med de stolte klippeborge, du er mine fedresland.
    2.Hvordan kunne du dog drage bort fra barneminnets plett,
    skynd deg dog og kom tilbake hvor du sang så glad og lett.
    3.Kan du glemme dette landet som deg først tok i sin favn,
    aldri finner du et annet med så stolt og herlig navn.
    4.Kan du glemme disse trange fjorder som seg bukter inn
    der hvor du så mange ganger vugget ble for sakte vind.
    5.Kan du glemme Norges skove, glemme furu, bjerk og gran,
    vannets klare blanke vove aldri du forglemme kan.
    6.Hvordan kunne du dog glemme slekt og folk og fedreland,
    hører du ei sagas stemme kalle deg til hjemlig strand.
    7.Svever dog ei titt din tanke hjemad hvor din vugge sto
    føler du ei hjertet banke for det landet du forlot.
    8.La da kun din tanke sveve det kan ikke falle tungt,
    og hver nordmann lenge leve gamle Norge evig ungt.
    9.Snart vil gravens kolde leie gjemme deg i vestens land,
    aldri gleden ved at eie hvilested ved norske strand.

    From Cathrine, Norway

  5. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for your help Cathrine!

  6. Arnie Slater Says:

    My great grandmother taught my mother and I this song when I was 5. I never forgot it….but we only learned the first verse and what it meant. Recently I found a great recording of the song on iTunes ! A great folk singer by the name of Knut Bell. The album is: Songs of our Forefathers it has both English and Norwegian songs! kan Du Glemme Gammel Norge (can you remember old Norway?) is sung in it’s entirety in beautiful Norwegian. I almost cried. The whole album is great. Mr. Knut Bell is obviously a proud Norwegian American. I am still listening often so I can learn the whole song!

  7. Lori Ann Reinhall Says:

    Please see my video on YouTube: with my translation. Just in time for Syttende Mai!

  8. David Øyen Says:

    vover–think waves

  9. Dave Russett Says:

    Thanks so much to everyone. One of my cousins remembered the whole thing, too.

  10. Gunnar Says:

    This is the version many Norwegian pioneers sang on the prairie:

    How Can You Forget Old Norway,
    land of rock and narrow fjord?
    : Where the mountains are like castles
    stand like sentinels on guard? :

    How can you forget old Norway,
    land of everlasting fame?
    : Can you ever find another,
    with so glorious a name? :

    How can you forget old Norway,
    and its narrow fjords so grand?
    : In and out between the mountains?
    ‘Tis my own, my native land. :

    They only had three verses in the English version.

    Cathrine’s Norwegian version above is correct and original.

    Here is the the Norwegian version sang by Rita Engebretsen:

    The melody is the same as for the Norwegian song: “Husker du de høye fjelle?”

  11. L.H. Olsen Says:

    Does anyone have the words to this one:
    Norge, i det vakre Norge, der jeg fant mitt hjertes ideal.
    I know the tune, but not sure of the words. My mother sang this song. She came to the U.S. in 1924.

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