Visit concluded in Milan
Their Majesties The King and Queen spent the last day of their State Visit to Italy in Milan – the financial capital of Italy. Italy is one of the world’s largest economies and an important trade partner for Norway.
Norway and Italy already cooperate in a number of areas, but there is potential for further expansion in a wide range of areas. Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende pointed out at the start of the State Visit that there are significant opportunities within the energy sector. The King and Queen began the day’s programme by attending a seminar on energy in the context of the green shift.
Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tord Lien was among the speakers who gave opening remarks at the seminar “Italian-Norwegian Energy Dialogue: Solutions for the Future.” Participants discussed important issues such as innovative technology, carbon capture and energy sources of the future.
Norwegian companies in Italy
The Seed Forum network works to bring together companies with promising business ideas and potential investors. The Seed Forum concept was founded in Norway in 2002 and has grown to become a global network with national representatives in more than 40 countries. Today, King Harald and Queen Sonja were in attendance at Seed Forum’s first meeting in Italy, where entrepreneurs presented their companies to Italian investors and members of the business community. The King and Queen also took the opportunity to speak more closely with representatives of the entrepreneurs.
This was followed by a visit to the highly renowned SDA Bocconi School of Management, where the King and Queen met with several Norwegian designers who are studying and working in the fashion capital of Italy.
King Harald and Queen Sonja attended a luncheon hosted by the Norwegian Ambassador to Italy, Mr Bjørn Trygve Grydeland, where they were able to speak with even more representatives of the Italian business sector.
King Harald spoke during the luncheon, pointing to a number of important areas of trade between Italy and Norway. Trade between the two countries extends as far back as 1432, said the King, when an Italian was shipwrecked on the island of Røst:
“Trading relations between Norway and Italy date back to 1432, when Pietro Querini ended up shipwrecked on the island of Røst, in Lofoten in Northern Norway. Querini described how the local population generously took care of him and his crew during the winter. He brought back to Italy what has become a popular product, stoccafisso. Together with salmon, it remains among our most successful exports to Italy.”
The meal itself was the result of genuine Norwegian-Italian cooperation, said the King:
“Let us now enjoy the taste of Norwegian seafood prepared according to the best Italian gastronomic traditions. I am certain this will provide a delicious example of the match between Norwegian raw materials and Italian finesse and craftsmanship.”
Norwegian design on display
Hectic preparations are underway for the Ventura Lambrate event. This year’s design show features 160 exhibitors and opens on 12 April as a part of Milan Design Week 2016. The King and Queen were given a preview of the two Norwegian exhibitions, "Structure – Norwegian contemporary crafts and design" and "Inside Wood".
"Structure" will showcase recent works by 26 Norwegian designers and craftsmen and will feature a wide array of furniture, ceramics, lighting, textiles and furnishings, all of which were designed with the word “structure” as their point of departure.
"Inside Wood" is an entirely different exhibition. It focuses on the experiments and processes that lead to the products. During the guided tour, the King and Queen met with students and teachers from the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, which is presenting the exhibition.
The King and Queen concluded their State Visit to Italy with a final meeting with the press. This is the 45th State Visit conducted by King Harald and Queen Sonja, and their second to Italy. Their first took place in 2001.
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.