Concluded in Oulu
Their Majesties The King and Queen concluded their State Visit in the far north of Finland – in Oulu, where the multinational communication company Nokia has a manufacturing plant. Technology and health were the main focus areas of today’s programme.
After two days in Helsinki, the King and Queen travelled north to Oulu for the final day of their State Visit, and the city’s university was at the top of their agenda.
Innovation at the University of Oulu
The University of Oulu has the national responsibility for education in the area of Saami language and culture, and the King and Queen were given a presentation of the Giellagas Institute in the Tellus Innovation Arena today. The arena is located in the middle of the university campus, and offers meeting spaces and resources intended to inspire and facilitate innovation.
The King and Queen learned more about both the “Business Kitchen” and the “Arctic Business Corridor” – projects in which university students work together with companies to help them to realise their ideas and enter new markets, and larger enterprises can draw on the university’s expertise to assist them with internationalising their activities.
King Harald also had the chance to send a message via KNL Networks’ communication system – an alternative network that relies on short wave radio transmissions, allowing data to be transmitted over thousands of kilometers. This can enhance the safety of travel at sea, in the mountains and other places where standard mobile phone coverage may be poor or non-existent.
Luncheon at the city hall
A large group of children greeted the King and Queen with flags and had roses for The Queen when they arrived at the city hall for a luncheon. In his remarks, the King said he was impressed by what he had seen at the university, and he wished them all the best in their collaboration with Norwegian companies and institutions:
“The visit at the university has left us impressed. Your large student population, your high quality research, and your strong business culture is very promising for the future.
You are building strong connections with Northern Norway in particular. The Queen and I wish you well. We are since long taken in by Northern Norway ourselves. We believe that you will find eager and competent partners there.”
In the period around 2000, Nokia was the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones. Now it is a leader in the areas of internet infrastructure and mapping and positioning services. The King and Queen were given a presentation of Nokia’s history as well as a guided tour of the manufacturing plant.
Norwegian companies had a chance to present their activities to the King and Queen as well. The King and Queen learned about Voico, a newly established business in Trondheim that works to reduce the noise level in open-plan offices; Nordic Semiconductor, which is now establishing a unit for research and development in Oulu; and Tieto, which provides IT healthcare solutions in both Norway and Finland.
Oulu University Hospital
The final stop on the State Visit was Oulu University Hospital, which is among Finland’s largest. Here the King and Queen were given a presentation on OuluHealth – an “ecosystem” that brings together academia and the public and private sectors to develop technology and solutions for the benefit of patients, the health services, and the business sector.
The King and Queen also heard presentations from Norwegian and Finnish companies that specialise in health-related technology: Polar Electro (wireless heart monitoring), EyeLife (wireless ultrasound) and Peili Vision (rehabilitation with speech therapy through gaming).
This concluded the State Visit to Finland by King Harald and Queen Sonja. It has been three full days of activities for the King and Queen and the business delegation that accompanied them.