In his speech during the banquet yesterday evening, King Harald pointed out that the ties between Norway and Poland have been growing steadily stronger:
In 1996 we could see that the political, economic and cultural ties between Poland and Norway were developing rapidly. The dynamics, breadth and depth we see in our bilateral relations today far exceed what most of us could have imagined.
These ties were strengthened even further today. The King and Queen began their day by attending the opening of the plenary session of the Poland-Norway Partnership Conference. Queen Sonja then continued on to the Palace on the Water in Royal Lazienki Park for the launching of a new Polish-Norwegian cultural exchange programme. EEA and Norway Grants are an important source of funding for the programme.
Cooperation on defence
Norway and Poland enjoy good cooperation on defence policy, both directly and through their membership of NATO. The Polish military has undergone a major restructuring in recent years, with assistance from the Norwegian military in the form of experience transfer. The Norwegian and Polish defence industries have entered into agreements as well.
King Harald attended the opening of todays defence seminar before the discussions continued at a lunch meeting on defence and security policy. The King also attended a military demonstration which included a presentation of a mobile operations centre. King Harald inspected a Command Vehicle, delivered by the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence Systems
Norwegian fish in Polish cuisine
In recent years the Norwegian Seafood Council has cooperated with Polish culinary arts schools to increase the knowledge of up-and-coming chefs about how to prepare Norwegian salmon. This year the best schools have sent 240 participants to the competition Norwegian fish in Polish cuisine, and this afternoon the King and Queen attended the final round in which 12 two-person teams competed.
The final task in the competition was to prepare a starter of fresh and smoked salmon with at least two typically Polish ingredients, followed by a Polish main dish using Norwegian salmon as the primary ingredient. The participants were judged on their skill, creativity, process and presentation. The winners received a set a kitchen knives as the grand prize, and the school they represented received 200 kilograms of salmon to use in its teaching activities.
Concert at the Polish National Opera
The King and Queen will begin their programme this evening with a concert at the Polish National Opera in Warsaw. The building, which also houses the Grand Theatre, has a dramatic history. The bombing during the Second World War left only the facade standing, and the Nazis used the ruins as a place of execution during the Warsaw uprising of 1944. Following the war, the building was reconstructed, and today it is the site of one of the worlds largest theatre complexes.
Tonights performance is a collaborative effort between Norwegian and Polish artists, featuring Bendik Hofseth, Helge Iberg and Aldona Jankowska.
A buffet of Norwegian seafood will be served at the end of the evening. Norway is the largest supplier of fish to the Polish market, and King Harald and Queen Sonja, President Bronisław Komorowski and Mrs Anna Komorowska, and many other guests will have the opportunity to taste a variety of specialities prepared with Norwegian raw ingredients.
Next stop Krakow
Tomorrow King Harald and Queen Sonja will travel to Krakow for the third and final day of their State Visit to Poland.
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.