State Visit from Luxembourg
Their Royal Highnesses Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg began their State Visit to Norway today. Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja are serving as hosts for the guests, who were welcomed to Norway in a formal ceremony on the Palace Square.
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit were also present at the welcoming ceremony at which the national songs of both countries were played and Grand Duke Henri, accompanied by King Harald, inspected the Kings Guard.
The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess met representatives of the civil and military authorities, and also took time to greet some of the schoolchildren who had come to watch the ceremony.
Commemorating the fallen
The King and Queen accompanied the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess to Akershus Fortress, where the traditional wreath-laying ceremony was held. Grand Duke Henri laid a wreath to commemorate the Norwegians who lost their lives in the Second World War.
After the ceremony, King Harald accompanied Grand Duke Henri to the Office of the Prime Minister, where the Grand Duke met with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. The Grand Duke also had a meeting with the President of the Storting, Dag Terje Andersen.
In the afternoon, Queen Sonja and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa paid a visit to the recently renovated building known as Sæterhytten on the Bygdøy peninsula. Sæterhytten, from 1851, was originally built on a raft and served as a bathhouse outside of Oscarshall Summer Palace. In 1862, it was remodelled and relocated to Dronningberg Historical Park on Bygdøy, where it was used as a restaurant from the 1870s until the 1960s. Sæterhytten is once again open to the public as a Sunday cafe at the Norsk Folkemuseum.
The Queen and Grand Duchess were given a guided tour of Sæterhytten, and children with disabilities from the musical group Dissimilis provided the entertainment.
Guided tour of Oscarshall Summer Palace
From the Norsk Folkemuseum the tour continued to Oscarshall Summer Palace, which was completed in 1852. Many Norwegian contemporary artists received commissions during the building of Oscarshall, and today it is considered to be one of the finest examples of Neo-Gothic architecture in Norway.
King Oscar II opened Oscarshall as a museum in 1881, and it is also open to the public today. Following an extensive restoration, it was reopened in 2009 and may be visited during the summer months.
In the evening, King Harald and Queen Sonja are hosting a gala banquet at the Royal Palace for Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa. Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Märtha Louise and Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner will also be in attendance.
About the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Largest city: Luxembourg
Total area: 2.586 km²
Population (2011): 502 066
Official languages: Luxembourgish, French and German
Form of government: Constitutional monarchy
Head of state: Grand Duke Henri
Diplomatic ties between Norway and Luxembourg were established on 15 April 1931. King Harald and Queen Sonja made a State Visit to Luxembourg on 18-19 April 1996.
Key industries: Banking and finance
Exports to Norway (2010): NOK 507 million
Imports from Norway (2010): NOK 173 million
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.