State Visit from Switzerland
The State Visit from the Swiss Confederation began today, as Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja welcomed Her Excellency Ms Doris Leuthard and Dr Roland Hausin in a formal ceremony on the Palace Square.
President Leuthard and Dr Hausin are conducting a State Visit in Norway on 14-15 October.
Official welcoming ceremony
President Leuthard and Dr Hausin were formally welcomed to Norway by King Harald and Queen Sonja, their personal hosts during their visit, as well as by Crown Princess Mette-Marit. King Harald accompanied President Leuthard as she inspected the Kings Guard, and also took time to greet children in the Palace Square. The King then introduced the guests to representatives of official institutions in Norway.
Wreath-laying at the national monument
In keeping with the traditions of State Visits, President Leuthard laid a wreath at the national monument at Akershus Fortress following the welcoming ceremony and official luncheon at the Royal Palace. She inspected the Kings Guard before laying a wreath to commemorate the Norwegians who lost their lives in the Second World War.
After the wreath-laying ceremony, the entourage paid a visit to the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture (DogA).
Swiss design at DogA
At DogA, King Harald, Queen Sonja, President Leuthard and Dr Hausin attended the opening of the exhibition in connection with the Swiss award known as Design Preis Schweiz. Bestowed every two years, the award pays tribute to innovative Swiss design. Design Preis Schweiz is awarded to projects that demonstrate new lines of thinking and are oriented towards the future. The exhibition, which opened today, features the award-winners and nominees in the areas of furniture and interior design, fashion and textiles, and product and industrial design.
Following the opening at DogA, King Harald accompanied President Leuthard to the Storting for a meeting with the President of the Storting, Dag Terje Andersen. Then the Swiss president continued on to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, where she met with Minister Trond Giske.
Oil and plastic at the Museum of Science and Technology
While the King and President Leuthard attended meetings, Queen Sonja and Dr Hausin visited the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, where they were given a guided tour of two of the exhibitions.
The exhibition on oil and gas depicts the history of how petroleum became Norways new industry and main source of revenues after 1970. The exhibition entitled Plastic in modern Norway looks at various aspects of plastic as a material, including as a symbol of all that is artificial, of the use-and-discard mentality and the garbage dump. It also considers the democratising effect of plastic in that it makes consumer goods less expensive and therefore more available to more people.
This evening, a gala banquet is being held at the Royal Palace in honour of President Leuthard and Dr Hausin.
Facts about the Swiss Confederation
Capital city: Bern
Largest cities: Zürich, Genève, Basel and Bern
Total area: 41 284 km²
Population in 2010: approximately 7.8 million
Official languages: German, French and Italian
Form of government: Federal republic
Head of state: President Doris Leuthard
Diplomatic relations with Norway since 1906.
Switzerland is an important partner for Norway in international organisations such as the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), in which the two countries cooperate closely on agricultural policy.
Source: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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.