Nordic World Ski Championships
The Royal Family was present when Oslo, the winter capital of the world, welcomed sports enthusiasts from around the globe to the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2011 on Wednesday evening. Over 50 000 people turned out to watch the opening ceremony.
More than 1 700 children from schools across Oslo kicked off the evenings festivities. Led by His Majesty The Kings Guard and carrying the flags of all the participating nations, the children paraded from the Palace Square down Palace Hill to University Square.
Svein Aaser, Chairman of the Executive Board of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2011, made some opening remarks before Gian Franco Kasper, President of the International Ski Federation (FIS), officially opened the championships. Mayor of Oslo Fabian Stang took the opportunity to express particular thanks to the children. You are the reason we organise world championships and it is for you that we have built the Holmenkollen national arena, he said, before urging everyone to enjoy the days to come.
Over the next 11 days athletes from 50 nations will meet each other in 21 different competitive events at the Holmenkollen national arena. His Majesty The King will attend the championships every day, often accompanied by other members of the Royal Family. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon is a member of the Advisory Board of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2011 and will be visiting the arena and attending many of the events.
Cultural events in the city centre
During the World Ski Championships a series of cultural events will be held in the centre of Oslo. Medal ceremonies will take place every evening, preceded by concerts and other live acts. Stalls selling refreshments have been set up by the Spikersuppa ice skating rink in Karl Johans gate. Eight ice sculptures have also taken shape here over the past few days:
Munch in snow and ice
Along Karl Johans gate, eight ice artists from five different countries have carved ice sculptures inspired by the paintings of Edvard Munch. Over 500 tonnes of snow and 45 cubic metres of ice have been transported to Spikersuppa over the past few days, to be transformed into representations of works such as The Scream, The Sick Girl and Evening on Karl Johan, to name a few. A 15-metre long interpretation of The Girls on the Bridge is on display on Palace Hill.
On Wednesday evening Their Majesties The King and Queen and Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess attended a banquet at Oslo City Hall held in connection with the opening of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2011. The banquet was hosted by Mayor of Oslo Fabian Stang.
The King and Queen opened the new MUNCH
"I think that I speak for all of us when I say that we have been looking forward to this day! It is finally possible for us to gather together, and soon the great doors will open up a new attraction – not just for our capital city, but for Norway, and for the world," said His Majesty The King.
Congratulations from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia.