Enhanced cooperation between Finland and Norway is the focus of the current State Visit. On Thursday morning, His Majesty The King accompanied President Sauli Niinistö to the House of Literature where the President gave a presentation entitled In the same neighbourhood.
The President focused in particular on the potential for even closer cooperation in the Finnish-Norwegian northern areas and the Arctic. The lecture was followed by a conversation between President Niinistö and Ulf Sverdrup, Director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), with input from the audience.
The event was jointly organised by NUPI and the Embassy of Finland.
House of Literature
After the mornings presentation, Queen Sonja and Mrs Jenni Haukio were given an introduction to the House of Literature by Deputy Director Monica Helvig. Located in Oslo, the house opened in 2007, and is the largest house of literature in Europe, with space for a wide range of activities. The house features a bookshop and café, in addition to several venues for presentations and debate. The house has more than 25 000 visitors each year.
The House of Literature is located very close to the Palace Park. Queen Sonja and Mrs Jenni Haukio took advantage of the fine autumn weather and walked back to the Palace through the park.
Meeting with trade and industry leaders
Following the presentation, King Harald accompanied the President to a business roundtable on Norwegian-Finnish industry cooperation held at the headquarters of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO). Leaders from a number of major companies attended the meeting, and the topics of discussion included:
- sustainable buildings and sustainability as a competitive advantage
- Finnish-Norwegian cooperation in the defence and other high technology sectors
- cooperation on and management of resources in the Arctic
- a joint campaign vis-à-vis the Russian market
Thereafter, the Government hosted an official luncheon at the Government Guest House, with King Harald and Queen Sonja, President Niinistö and Mrs Haukio, and Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit in attendance. A visit to Rommen School and Cultural Centre followed in the afternoon.
Rommen School and Cultural Centre was opened by the Crown Princess in 2010. Rommen is located in Stovner, one of the most culturally diverse urban districts of Oslo. A high percentage of the schools pupils have a minority language background, and a full 55 different nations are represented there. Rommen School is regarded as a leader in efforts to promote integration and diversity. The King and Queen and the President and his wife had the opportunity to meet with teachers as well as pupils through information sessions and cultural presentations.
Rommen School and Cultural Centre serves both as an activity centre for the pupils and as a meeting place for their parents and the local community. The centre includes a library, multi-purpose sports hall and a performance stage.
In the evening, King Harald and Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit were the guests of President Niinistö and Mrs Jenni Haukio at a reception held at the Opera House.
Tomorrow the President and his wife will travel to Tromsø for the final day of their State Visit. Crown Prince Haakon will accompany them during the activities in Tromsø.
Facts about Finland
Capital city: Helsinki
Largest cities: Helsinki, Tampere and Turku
Total area: 338 000 km²
Population (2012): approximately 5.3 million
Official languages: Finnish and Swedish, as well as sami in certain areas.
Form of government: Republic
Head of State (2012): President Sauli Niinistö
Diplomatic ties were established between Norway and Finland on 6 April 1918, after Finland gained its independence from Russia on 6 December 1917.
Relations between Finland and Norway are excellent, and the countries have close contact in most areas in the political, defence, cultural and industrial spheres. Their Majesties The King and Queen conducted a State Visit to Finland in 2007.
In 2010, Finland was Norway’s 11th most important import country and 13th most important export country, and trade between the two nations is growing. There are currently some 220 Norwegian-owned companies in Finland.
Source: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
“If there is one piece of advice I would give you today, as King, godfather and grandfather, it is this: Be yourself,” said His Majesty The King in his speech at the luncheon celebrating the confirmation of Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra.
Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra was confirmed today in the Palace Chapel, just as her father, grandfather and great-grandfather were before her.