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The Tragedies in Oslo and on Utøya island

Speech held by King Harald V in the wake of the tragic events in Oslo and on Utøya island.

Norway has been struck by a national tragedy. The kind of calamity that we hoped would never happen here has somehow taken place.

At Sundvolden today we met young people and their families who shared with us their gruesome stories. They have lived through a day that is beyond all comprehension. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go out to all of those afflicted by the events in Oslo and on Utøya.

The police, rescue workers, health personnel and volunteers have worked tirelessly and heroically to save lives, in some cases at risk to their own. All of us are affected by the catastrophe that has swept over us, and we watch in disbelief as the death toll continues to rise.

In the midst of all the anguish and chaos, the Prime Minister, the Government and the ministries have responded to the situation with exceptional fortitude and resolve.

Both as individuals and as a nation it will take us a long time to digest and work our way through what we have witnessed, our grief and our feelings. We will need each other in this process. Throughout the length and breadth of our country, there are people who have lost someone they loved. Many of our children and young people are afraid today. We must make every effort to reassure them. Many will want to be together, while others will need space for quiet reflection. It is comforting that the country’s churches are open for anyone who wishes to light a candle and seeks a place to be. It is also helpful that the local authorities and volunteer organisations are providing arenas for those who feel a need to be with others.

There is still much we do not know about the background for yesterday’s atrocities, and it is essential that we let the responsible authorities continue their work to bring clarity to the situation. Some things we do know, however: the acts in Oslo and on Utøya are an attack on the Norwegian society that we hold so dear. And they represent an assault upon the very heart of Norwegian democracy.

It is when our nation is put to the test that the true strength, solidarity and courage of the Norwegian people come to the fore. We stand united behind our values.

I firmly believe that freedom is stronger than fear.

I firmly believe in an open Norwegian democracy and society

I firmly believe that we will uphold our ability to live freely and securely in our own country.

In Norwgian: Speech held by King Harald V in the wake of the tragic events in Oslo and on Utøya island. (Photo: NRK)

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