State Visit to Slovakia
At the official welcoming ceremony in the morning, President Ivan Gaparovič and First Lady Silvia Gaparovičová greeted the King and Queen in the traditional manner by presenting them with a loaf of bread and salt. King Harald and President Gaparovič then saluted the flag and the honorary guard before introducing their official delegations.
After the welcoming ceremony, the King and the president led bilateral talks between the Norwegian and Slovakian representatives. Among other topics, the delegations discussed sustainable development and expanded cooperation between the two countries within the spheres of trade and industry and cultural affairs.
Prime Minister Iveta Radičová hosted an official luncheon at the Government Office of the Slovak Republic, after which the King met with Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Mr Richard Sulík.
Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum
Queen Sonja visited the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, which is located near the Hungarian border on a peninsula in the Danube River, for which it is named. The museum is currently exhibiting the works of the Slovakian multiple media artist Jozef Jankovič. The museum has been designed to echo the shape of a Roman gallery and is surrounded by a sculpture park.
The Queen was given a tour of both the exhibition and the sculpture park. After her visit to the museum, the Queen was the guest of First Lady Silvia Gaparovičová at an official luncheon at Erdödy Palace. Afterwards, the Queen was given a tour of the art gallery that is also housed on the premises.
Old Town of Bratislava
Bratislava received its first town privileges in 1291, and was the capital of Hungary from 1536 to 1784. It was incorporated into Czechoslovakia in 1919. From 1939 to 1945, Bratislava was the capital of the Slovak state established as a German dependency. The city was once again designated the capital when present-day Slovakia became an independent state in 1993.
Bratislava has a compact, well-preserved Old Town with a number of historical buildings and important institutions. The Mayor of Bratislava Andrej Ďurkovský accompanied the King and Queen on a tour of the Old Town.
This evening, the King and Queen will attend a gala banquet hosted by the president and his wife at the former parliament building. The banquet will be held in the Great Hall, which once served as a concert hall for renowned musicians such as Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms.
About the Slovak Republic
Largest cities: Bratislava, Košice and Prešov
Total area: 49 035 km²
Population (2010): approximately 5.4 million
Official language: Slovak
Form of government: Republic
Head of state (2010): President Ivan Gašparovič
Diplomatic ties were established between Norway and Slovakia on 1 January 1993, when Slovakia became an independent state after the dissolution of the former Czechoslovakia.
Although cooperation between Slovakia and Norway has been relatively limited, collaborative activities in the spheres of trade and industry and cultural affairs are now on the rise, due in part to Norway’s support via EEA and Norway Grants and the establishment of the Norwegian Embassy in Bratislava in January 2005.
Source: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs