Welcomed the King and Queen of the Netherlands
Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands arrived in Norway on a state visit today and were greeted in an official welcoming ceremony in the Palace Square.
Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja are the hosts of the three-day visit, and it is their state visit number 100.
King Willem-Alexander and King Harald in the Palace Square. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB
Eight years have passed since the King and Queen of the Netherlands paid a kennismakingsbezoek, or friendship visit, to countries with close ties to the Netherlands. King Willem-Alexander had sworn his oath of allegiance as the new King of the Netherlands just five months before that visit – on 30 April 2013.
Queen Máxima, Queen Sonja and Crown Princess Mette-Marit during the welcoming ceremony. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court
The state visit reaffirms the close ties between Norway and the Netherlands – and between the Royal families of both countries. Norway and the Netherlands share many of the same values and work together in international organisations such as the UN, the WTO and NATO on efforts to address major global challenges.
The visit will focus in particular on bilateral and international cooperation, climate change, the energy transition and sustainability.
Official welcoming ceremony in the Palace Square
The guests arrived at the Palace Square at 11:00 this morning. Both the Norwegian and the Dutch national anthems were played, after which King Willem-Alexander conducted an inspection of the Guard of Honour. His Majesty King Harald then introduced him to Norwegian officials.
King Willem-Alexander inspecting the Guard of Honour. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB
Before entering the Royal Palace for official photographs and an exchange of gifts, Their Majesties had a chance to greet some of those who had come to welcome them in the Palace Square, including Norwegian schoolchildren and members of the Dutch community in Norway.
Their Majesties greeted some of those who had come to wish the King and Queen of the Netherlands welcome. Photo: Liv Anette Luane, The Royal Court
In keeping with tradition, gifts were exchanged and displayed in the White Parlour. Photo: Heiko Junge, NTB
Wreath-laying ceremony at the National Monument
King Willem-Alexander laid a wreath at the national monument at Akershus Fortress. The monument was erected in memory of the Norwegians who lost their lives in the Second World War. King Harald and Queen Sonja accompanied the King and Queen of the Netherlands to the wreath-laying ceremony.
King Willem-Alexander laid a wreath at the national monument at Akershus Fortress. It is customary to lay a wreath at the national monument during a state visit. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court
From Akershus Fortress, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima continued on to the Storting and a meeting with the President of the Storting, Eva Kristin Hansen. At the Royal Palace, King Harald and Queen Sonja hosted a luncheon at which scallops and halibut were served. Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Märtha Louise were in attendance.
Young people on climate change
This afternoon the programme will continue with a visit to the Fram Museum at Bygdøy and a roundtable discussion with young people and students from Norway and the Netherlands on the situation in the Arctic and the future prospects of the region.
This evening King Harald and Queen Sonja will host a gala dinner in honour of the King and Queen of the Netherlands in the Palace Banqueting Hall. The table has been laid for 197 guests, and both King Harald and King Willem-Alexander will give speeches during the dinner.
Ready for the evening's gala dinner: King Harald, King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, Queen Sonja, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Märtha Louise. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court
State visit from the Netherlands
This is not the first time King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima have paid a visit to Norway – but it is their first state visit.
King Willem-Alexander’s mother, Queen Beatrix, conducted state visits to Norway on two occasions, in 1986 and 2010.
Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands paid a state visit to Norway in 1953, as did Queen Wilhelmina in 1922. It was King Haakon who formally welcomed them on these visits.
Similarly, Norway has conducted four state visits to the Netherlands. The state visits reaffirm the close ties between the two countries.
The Queen meets Ukrainian refugees
The Oslo Public Health Association has created a safe, friendly meeting place for Ukrainians who have fled the war in their homeland. Her Majesty Queen Sonja came to visit the refugees at their weekly gathering on Monday.
Condolences from His Majesty King Harald to His Holiness Pope Francis.