Commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall
Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess attended a commemoration ceremony in Berlin on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit were in Berlin today as part of their official visit to Germany.
The day began with a commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall at the Berlin Wall Memorial in Bernauer Strasse. The date 9 November has special significance in German history. It marks the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and is also remembered as the date of Kristallnacht in 1938.
Twice a year, the Berlin Wall Foundation and the Evangelical Reconciliation Congregation jointly organise commemorations at the Berlin Wall. The aim of the ceremony each 9 November is to highlight the European and international facets of the division of Berlin after World War II and the peaceful revolution that eventually brought the wall down.
The division of Berlin cost many lives, caused great suffering, split families and severely curtailed freedom. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB
Today’s event began outdoors at a surviving portion of the barrier known as the Backland Wall. After a musical performance by the Advent-Zachäus trombone quartet, the Director of the Berlin Wall Foundation, Prof. Dr. Axel Klausmeier, delivered welcoming remarks.
Crown Princess Mette-Marit spoke during the commemoration about the widespread impact of the wall’s fall 34 years ago:
“We will never forget the TV footage of thousands of people streaming across the border between what until then had been two separate worlds. People laughed, cried and hugged each other. There were strong feelings. And we, young people in Norway – and around the world – shared these feelings and this profound moment in history with them, with you. Freedom had triumphed, democracy had triumphed. We felt a strong sense of hope, of optimism. Fortunately, the Berlin Wall is now history. Following a peaceful revolution, Germany was slowly reunified as one country. Today, Germany is a guarantor of peace and freedom on behalf of the whole of Europe.”
In her remarks at the wall, Crown Princess Mette-Marit recalled the hope and optimism that spread after the fall of the Berlin Wall and praised Germany’s current efforts to advance peace and freedom. Photo: Heiko Junge, NTB
The Crown Princess also drew attention to current events in Europe and its environs:
Once again, unfortunately, we have wars going on in our neighbourhood. We are devastated by the human suffering in Ukraine and in the Middle East. But we must not give up our hope in the power of the human will to resolve conflicts and tear down barriers. Standing here by the wall memorial today, we are reminded that the German people did just that. That gives us hope.
Another speaker was the head of Berlin’s Bürgerbüro, or citizens’ office, Hildigund Neubert.
One aim of her organisation is to strengthen public awareness of the people who fought and died for freedom and human rights in the former East Germany.
Young people from Norway, France and Germany took part in the ceremony and described what 9 November means to them. One of the traditions at the commemoration is for young people to present their thoughts about the fall of the wall and the peaceful revolution.
The participants from Norway were travelling with Aktive Fredsreiser/Travel for Peace. Each year more than 20 000 Norwegian school pupils with an interest in World War II go on “peace trips” to Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. Roses were placed in the Berlin Wall during the ceremony.
Young people from Norway, Germany and France took part in the commemoration and spoke of the significance of the wall’s removal for people today. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB
After the placing of the roses, the commemoration continued with a service in the nearby Reconciliation Chapel, where Revd Thomas Jeutner led the participants in prayers, blessings and singing. Helga Arntzen, who directs Aktive Fredsreiser, gave a speech.
The commemoration ended in Ackerstrasse, where there were tributes and candle lighting in memory of the brave people who demonstrated for freedom, human rights and democracy in 1989.
Kronprinsparet i møte med Tysklands president Frank-Walter Steinmeier i Berlin. Foto: Simen Løvberg Sund, Det kongelige hoff
Meetings with President Steinmeier and Chancellor Scholz
After attending the commemoration at the Berlin Wall, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess met with the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at his office in Schloss Bellevue.
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit also met Chancellor Olaf Scholz at his office in the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Trade, Industry and Fisheries Jan Christian Vestre and Ambassador Laila Stenseng also took part in the meeting with Scholz.
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Official visit to Germany
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