State Visit from Slovakia
His Excellency President Andrej Kiska of Slovakia began a three-day State Visit to Norway today. Their Majesties The King and Queen welcomed the President in the Palace Square.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon accompanied the Slovakian President from Oslo Gardermoen Airport to the official welcoming ceremony on the Palace Square, where the King and Queen and Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess received the president.
After the national anthems of Slovakia and Norway were played, President Kiska was introduced to representatives of official institutions in Norway. The President also took the time to greet a group of schoolchildren and Slovakians residing in Norway before entering the Royal Palace with his hosts.
In the Bird Room, President Kiska greeted Her Highness Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner, and then the official photographs were taken.
President Andrej Kiska with the King and Queen, Crown Prince and Crown Princess, and Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner in the Bird Room. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix.
From the Royal Palace the King and Queen accompanied the President to Akershus Fortress. It is a tradition for the visiting head of state to start a State Visit by laying a wreath at the national monument commemorating the Norwegians who lost their lives in the Second World War.
President Kiska laid a wreath at the national monument today, and together the President and the King inspected a Guard of Honour from His Majesty The King’s Guard.
Wreath-laying ceremony at Akershus Fortress. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court.
After the wreath-laying ceremony, the King and Queen accompanied President Kiska to the Storting, where he met the President of the Storting, Ms Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen
This afternoon the King and Queen and the President attended the business seminar “Building Smarter Cities” at the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) offices at Majorstuen in Oslo. The seminar included presentations from both Norwegian and Slovakian participants, who shared their valuable experiences, particularly in the fields of technology and renewable energy.
President Kiska gave a closing statement at the business seminar. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court.
This afternoon President Kiska also met with Prime Minister Erna Solberg, and the two held a joint press conference. The President then visited the Slovakian Embassy, where he spoke with members of the Slovakian community in Norway and Norwegians who have studied medicine in Slovakia.
Gala dinner this evening
This evening, the first day of the State Visit will conclude with a gala dinner at the Royal Palace hosted by the King and Queen in honour of their guest from Slovakia. The Crown Prince, Crown Princess and Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner will also be in attendance.
Some 180 guests are expected at the dinner, which begins at 20:00.
About the Slovak Republic
Largest cities: Bratislava, Košice and Prešov
Total area: 49 035 km² (Norway: 385 203 km²)
Population (2018): approximately 5,4 millioner
Official language: Slovak
Form of government: Republic
Head of state (2018): President Andrej Kiska
Diplomatic ties were established between Norway and Slovakia on 1 January 1993, when Slovakia became an independent state after the dissolution of the former Czechoslovakia. The Norwegian Embassy was established in Bratislava in January 2005. King Harald, accompanied by Queen Sonja, paid a State Visit to Slovakia in October 2010.
Cultural and trade cooperation between Slovakia and Norway is on the rise, due in part to Norway’s support to Slovakia via EEA and Norway Grants. Roughly 20 Norwegian companies have been established in Slovakia. Some 600 Norwegians are studying in the country, and most of these are studying medicine.
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.