State Visit to Finland
Their Majesties The King and Queen’s started their State Visit to Finland on Tuesday. The King and Queen were received by Her Excellency President Tarja Halonen with a welcoming ceremony outside the presidential palace in Helsinki.
King Harald and Queen Sonja reached Helsinki early Tuesday morning, onboard the Royal Yacht Norway. The Royal Yacht was met by a Finnish marine vessel, and escorted to Helsinki harbour as a salute was fired from Skanslandet.
The official welcoming ceremony took place outside the presidential palace, where President Halonen and her husband, Dr. Pentti Arajärvi, received the King and Queen.
After visiting Parliament House, The King and Queen went to Sandudd cemetery. A total of 3,164 Finnish and 121 German soldiers are buried here, including Marshal Mannerheim. The graveyard also features the Wall of the Missing, which bears the names of 734 soldiers whose bodies were never found. The cemetery also contains a memorial to the Norwegian volunteers who fought in the Winter War. Roughly 700 Norwegians enlisted for the Winter War, and two of them were killed.
His Majesty The King laid a wreath at the heroes’ cross and at the grave of Marshal Mannerheim. Afterwards, Her Majesty The Queen laid flowers at the memorial commemorating the Norwegian volunteers who fought in the Winter War.
Art exhibition and seminar
In the afternoon, the King and Queen visited EMMA – Museum of Modern Art in Esbo. The museum contains both permanent collections as well as exhibitions featuring Finnish and foreign contemporary and 20th century art.
After a guided tour of the museum, King Harald attended the presentations given by the Finnish and Norwegian Ministers of Foreign Affairs at a seminar on the High North.
Norwegian Contemporary Architecture 2000-2005
Her Majesty The Queen opened the exhibition Norwegian Contemporary Architecture at Kabelhuset. The exhibition features highlights from modern Norwegian architecture, and is produced by the National Museum for Art, Architecture and Design. The 50 most important Norwegian buildings from the period 2000 – 2005 are presented with photos, design drawings and text. Five buildings are presented as models, and some of these are also on film.
The day concluded with a gala banquet at the presidential palace.
Condolences from His Majesty King Harald to His Holiness Pope Francis.
Congratulations from His Majesty King Harald to the new President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, His Excellency Mr Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.