Unveiled South Pole monument
One hundred years ago today, Roald Amundsen and his men reached the South Pole. This tremendous achievement is being commemorated today on the Bygdøy peninsula in Oslo, where His Majesty King Harald formally unveiled the new South Pole monument.
King Harald also laid the cornerstone for the new building that will house the polar vessel Gjøa, and officially opened the South Pole exhibition, which will be on display at the Fram Museum through the end of 2011. The exhibition is a collaboration with the Scott Polar Research Institute and will be shown in the UK as well. Initially focusing on the Norwegian expedition, the exhibition will be expanded to include important objects from the UK expedition.
The grandchildren of Amundsens two brothers and descendants of the UK polar explorer Captain Robert F. Scott were present at the opening.
Cast in bronze
Roald Amundsen, Helmer Hanssen, Oscar Wisting, Olav Bjaaland and Sverre Hassel were the first people to ever reach the South Pole. After a 57-day journey on skis, the polar explorers arrived at the South Pole point, one month before the rival UK expedition led by Captain Scott. Tragically, Captain Scott and his men perished on their return from the Pole.
The monument immortalising the five Norwegian explorers is the work of sculptor Håkon Fagerås. Cast in bronze and nearly two metres high, the men stand on slabs of granite. The figures are based on photographs taken during the expedition, and are roughly hewn to reflect the extremely harsh conditions that the men had braved. The monument captures the solemn moment when Amundsen and his crew stood, hats in hand, facing their tent and the flag they planted at the South Pole point.
The unveiling ceremony featured a performance by trumpet player Nils Petter Molvær.
National celebration in Tromsø
In parallel to the events on the Bygdøy peninsula, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon is in Tromsø, where the centennial anniversary is being celebrated with exhibitions, a polar parade and theatre performances. Contact will also be made with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg who will be standing at the South Pole point and with the Norwegian Polar Institutes South Pole Centenary Expedition, which has followed in Amundsens ski tracks towards the Pole.
More information about the centennial festivities in Tromsø will be published later this evening.
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.