Official visit to the Baltic states continues
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess travelled to Estonia today, the third Baltic country they will visit this week. But their day began in in Vilnius, Lithuania, with a defence-industry breakfast and then a business seminar.
Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess were in attendance when the Norwegian-Lithuanian business seminar "Technology Inspiring Growth" opened today, and Crown Princess Mette-Marit spoke during the official opening.
Trade between Lithuania and Norway is on the rise. Both countries are very advanced in terms of digitalisation and there is ongoing cooperation in the field of information and communications technology. The goal of today’s seminar is to share experience, inspire one another and form new ties.
"It provides an excellent opportunity to share knowledge, and discuss technologies that promote growth and foster cooperation between Norwegian and Lithuanian companies."
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess together with President Dalia Grybauskaitė take a closer look at the CityQ bicycle by founder Morten Rynning before the opening of the seminar. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix.
Norway cooperates closely with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania within NATO, and the Norwegian defence industry provides materiel to all three Baltic states. This was the topic for Crown Prince Haakon this morning when he met representatives of the defence industry and Norwegian and Lithuanian authorities around the breakfast table.
Defence cooperation was also the final item on the programme in Lithuania. Norwegian soldiers are stationed in Lithuania as part of NATO cooperation, and the Crown Prince, accompanied by Norwegian Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen, had the opportunity to meet with some of them today.
Speaking with Norwegian soldiers at the Ministry of National Defence in Vilnius. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix.
The official visit then continued on to Estonia, the third and final destination on the itinerary.
Welcoming Ceremony in Tallinn
Upon their arrival in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess were greeted by Her Excellency President Kersti Kaljulaid in a formal welcoming ceremony at the Office of the President in the historic Kadriorg district. Both countries’ national anthems were played, after which Crown Prince Haakon and President Kaljulaid inspected the Estonian Guard of Honour.
Crown Prince Haakon and President Kaljulaid inspecting the Estonian Guard of Honour. Photo: Lise Åserud, NTB scanpix.
After the ceremony the President and the Crown Prince and Crown Princess had a meeting together, followed by bilateral meetings between the delegations from Norway and Estonia. President Kaljulaid and Crown Prince Haakon held a joint press conference before the visit was concluded in Kadriorg Park.
Kadriorg Park surrounds the Office of the President and is considered to be Estonia’s finest. It contains several museums and is a popular site to visit for locals and tourists alike. Today the Crown Prince and Crown Princess planted an oak tree in the park.
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess planted an oak tree in the park surrounding the Office of the President. Photo: Lise Åserud, NTB scanpix.
Visit to the Parliament
The Riigikogu, Estonia’s parliament, convenes at Toompea Castle, which is situated on a hill overlooking Tallinn’s Old Town. Crown Prince Haakon visited the Riigikogu this afternoon and paid a visit to His Excellency Mr Eiki Nestor, Speaker of the Parliament.
The Crown Prince also had the opportunity to see the Parliament Session Hall.
The Cross of Liberty at Vabaduse (Freedom) Square is part of a monument dedicated to those gave their lives in the Estonian War of Independence.
Crown Prince Haakon laid a wreath at the monument this afternoon in a formal ceremony. Both the Norwegian and Estonian national anthems were played.
Crown Prince Haakon laid a wreath at the monument for the fallen of the Estonian War of Independence. Photo: Lise Åserud, NTB scanpix.
Dinner at Kadriorg Art Museum
Tonight Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are the guests of the President at an official dinner held at Kadriorg Art Museum. Estonia, like Latvia and Lithuania, is celebrating a century of independence this year, and the Crown Prince extended congratulations on behalf of the Norwegian people.
"Norwegians of my generation have heard the stories of the occupation in our country from our parents and grandparents. But you know first-hand, from your own experience, what it means to not be free. And because of that, you know the true value of freedom."
"On behalf of the Norwegian people, I am happy to congratulate you on the 100th Anniversary of the Republic of Estonia!
Tomorrow the visit in Tallinn will continue with trade and industry on the agenda, before the official visit is concluded with a walking tour of historical Old Town.
Facts about Lithuania
Largest cities: Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda
Total area: 65 300 km2 (Norway: 385 203 km²)
Population: approx. 2 823 000 (2017)
Approx. 84 per cent are Lithuanians. Poles and Russians comprise seven and six per cent of the population, respectively.
Official language: Lithuanian
Form of government: Republic
Head of state (2018): Dalia Grybauskaitė
Gained independence: 16 February 1918
His Majesty King Harald carried out a State Visit to Lithuania in 1998. Lithuania’s current president, President Dalia Grybauskaitė, carried out a State Visit to Norway in 2011.
Trade between Norway and Lithuania historically revolved around herring, hemp and linen. Today, roughly 250 Norwegian-affiliated companies are registered in Lithuania, and cooperation is expanding. Some 44 000 Lithuanians live in Norway.
Relations between Norway and Lithuania are good, both bilaterally and in cooperative organisations such as the UN, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, NATO, and the NB8 Nordic-Baltic cooperation.
Source: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Facts about Estonia
Largest cities: Tallinn, Tartu and Narva
Total area: 45 339 km2 (Norway: 385 203 km²)
Population: approx. 1 318 700 (2018)
Approx. 69 per cent are Estonians. Russians comprise approx. 25 per cent of the population.
Form of government: Republic
Head of state (2018): President Kersti Kaljulaid
Gained independence: 24 February 1918
His Majesty King Harald carried out a State Visit to Estonia in 1998.
Estonia’s president carried out State Visits to Norway in 2014 and 2002.
Bilateral relations between Norway and Estonia are close and good, with many contact channels. There is also extensive contact in the cultural sphere, and trade between the two countries is continually expanding. Some 5 000 Estonians live in Norway, and many Norwegians visit Estonia.
Source: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- The Baltic countries 2018 (Photo album)
- Business seminar in Vilnius (Speech)
- Official dinner in Tallinn (Speech)
- The Crown Prince and Crown Princess in Latvia (News article)
- Official visit to Lithuania (News article)
- Official visit concluded in Tallinn (News article)
Welfare and winter sports
After their initial days in the city of Dunhuang, Their Majesties The King and Queen are continuing their State Visit to the People's Republic of China in the capital city of Beijing. Welfare development and cooperation on winter sports were on the agenda today.
Visit to the Mogao Caves
To be listed as a world heritage site, a place must fulfil one of six criteria. The Mogao Caves fulfil all six. Today, Their Majesties The King and Queen were given the opportunity to visit this extraordinary place.