State Visit to Poland
Their Majesties The King and Queen started their three-day State Visit to Poland today. The King and Queen are heading a delegation of representatives of the Norwegian public administration, the cultural sphere, and trade and industry.
King Harald and Queen Sonja were formally welcomed by His Excellency President Bronisław Komorowski and Mrs Anna Komorowska in front of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw. After the official welcoming ceremony, the King and Queen and the President and Mrs Komorowska continued into the palace for an exchange of gifts and discussions.
Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre, Norwegian Minister of Defence Espen Barth Eide, and Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen are accompanying the King and Queen on their State Visit, and will take part in bilateral meetings. Three new cooperation programmes on research, education and culture are expected to be signed during the visit.
King Harald attended several meetings in the course of the day, and had discussions with His Excellency Prime Minister Donald Tusk and His Excellency Marshal of the Senate Bogdan Borusewicz.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was erected in Warsaw in 1925 to commemorate the unknown Polish soldiers who had fallen in the First World War and the subsequent Polish-Soviet War. An unknown soldier was buried here along with a medal of Polands highest military order and 14 urns containing soil from as many battlegrounds. After the Second World War, soil from 24 additional battlegrounds was added to the urns.
Today King Harald laid a wreath at the tomb to commemorate the fallen.
Fryderyk (or Frédéric) Chopin is Polands most renowned and influential composer. A master of Romantic music, Chopin composed the vast majority of his works for piano. He composed until his death in the mid-1800s.
Today Queen Sonja visited the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw to view the largest collection of Chopin-related material in the world. The collection includes original music manuscripts, correspondence and personal belongings, as well as reviews and other documents that give insight into how Chopins contemporaries experienced him and his music. The museum has built a modern, interactive collection, and also organises concerts and competitions of Chopins music.
Reception for the trade delegation
In the afternoon the King and Queen attended a reception for the Norwegian trade delegation. Cooperation between Norway and Poland is growing steadily. One hundred and fifteen representatives of some 80 companies are taking part in the Norwegian trade delegation during the visit.
Welcome banquet at the Presidential Palace
In the evening, the King and Queen attended an official welcome banquet hosted by the president and his wife at the Presidential Palace.
Since its construction in the mid-1600s, the palace has been the site of a number of historic events. The Warsaw Pact was signed here in 1955, and representatives of the labour union Solidarity met here for talks with the communist government in 1989. The palace has been home to numerous aristocratic families throughout the centuries before becoming the official seat of the President of Poland in 1993.
Facts about the Republic of Poland
Capital city: Warsaw
Largest cities: Warsaw, Krakow and Lodz
Total area: 312 685 km²
Population in 2011: 38.2 million
Official language: Polish
Form of government: Republic
Head of State in 2012: President Bronisław Komorowski
As a member of NATO and the EU, Poland is an important partner in cooperation for Norway, and high-level political meetings between the two countries are held regularly.
Poland is an important trade partner for Norway. Norwegian exports totalled NOK 15.7 billion in 2011, while Polish imports totalled NOK 13.4 billion. Norway is the largest supplier of fish to the Polish market.
Norway and Poland have a long tradition of cooperation in the cultural sphere, particularly in music and literature. A large number of Norwegian books are translated into Polish, and Norwegian film has also generated attention in recent years.
There is a large number of Polish immigrant workers in Norway.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.