State Visit from Latvia
Today, Their Majesties The King and Queen extended an official welcome to His Excellency President Andris Bērziņš of Latvia to Norway in a ceremony on the Palace Square.
The President of Latvia is paying a State Visit to Norway on 18-19 March. Latvia and Norway cooperate closely in many areas, and the President’s visit is a step in strengthening and further developing the excellent ties between the two countries.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon accompanied President Bērziņš to the Palace Square, where he was received by King Harald, Queen Sonja and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit. The two heads of state heard the national songs of both countries from the pavilion of honour, after which President Bērziņš inspected the King’s Guard, accompanied by the King.
Following the ceremony, the hosts and their guest entered the Palace for an exchange of gifts and official photographs in the Bird Room. Before leaving the Palace Square they took time to greet representatives of the Latvian community in Norway and the schoolchildren who had come to watch the ceremony and welcome the President.
In keeping with tradition for state visits to Norway, President Bērziņš visited Akershus Fortress, where he lay a wreath at the National Monument. King Harald and Queen Sonja accompanied the President to the fortress and the ceremony, which was held in front of the monument commemorating the Norwegians who lost their lives from 1940–1945.
The King and Queen then accompanied President Bērziņš to the headquarters of the DNB Group, where they attended the opening of a seminar for representatives of Norwegian and Latvian trade and industry. Both the Latvian Minister of Economics Dana Reizniece-Ozola and the Norwegian Minister of EEA and EU Affairs Vidar Helgesen spoke before a short film on Scandinavian business activities in Latvia was shown.
This introduction was followed by a panel debate on how to promote successful business cooperation between Latvia and Norway, featuring representatives of the banking and finance, construction and ICT sectors.
In the afternoon, after an official luncheon hosted by Their Majesties, President Bērziņš will meet with the President of the Storting and Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
In the evening, King Harald and Queen Sonja are hosting a gala dinner at the Royal Palace in honour of the State Visit and President Andris Bērziņš. Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner will also be in attendance.
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.