The Queen visits Shetland
Prior to the opening, the Queen was given a guided tour of Lerwick Town Hall. The building features a number of stained glass windows depicting the history of Shetland from the Viking occupation in 875 onwards. There is still a tangible Scandinavian influence in Shetland, as can be seen in place names in particular.
Shetland Museum and Archives
The new museum replaces a far smaller historical museum that was discontinued in 2005. The collections span a wide variety of topics, including early peoples and settlements on Shetland, the natural surroundings and environment, folk traditions, maritime history and seafood. There are also archives containing crucial documents from the history of Shetland.
The Queen and The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay were given a guided tour of the museum, and had a chance to sample traditional Shetland fare before the official opening. Queen Sonja and Prince Charles both spoke during the opening ceremony, which was attended by some 600 guests.
During WWII, Scalloway was home base to the Shetland Bus, which transported personnel for Company Linge and carried refugees and military supplies between Shetland and Norway. The men also placed mines in Norwegian waters and carried out operations against German vessels. More than 200 runs were made by the Shetland Bus. 10 vessels were lost and 44 men lost their lives.
A monument commemorating the Shetland Bus has been erected in Scalloway. Funding for this came from both Shetland and Norway, and the monument was built using stones from both countries. The Norwegian stones were gathered from the birthplaces of the 44 men who died.
The Queen laid a wreath at the Shetland Bus monument, followed by one minute of silence for all those lost at sea, including the eight from the Bourbon Dolphin.
In her speech, Queen Sonja gave thanks to those who participated in the rescue operation that saved the rest of the Bourbon Dolphin crew, as well as for the support given to Norway by the Shetland community during WWII.
Later, the Queen visited Scalloway Museum – a small museum focusing on fisheries and maritime and local history. A major portion of the museum is devoted to telling the story of the Shetland Bus and the role that Shetland played during the war.
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.