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Opening of Royal Journeys Exhibition

Their Majesties The King and Queen, Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess, Princess Märtha Louise and Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner were all in attendance at the opening of the exhibition entitled “Royal Journeys 1905-2005” in Oslo on Wednesday.


The exhibition at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design is the Norwegian Government’s gift to King Harald and Queen Sonja in honour of their 75th birthdays in 2012. It is the first of six different exhibitions containing art, cultural artefacts and photographs from the Royal collections. Most of the objects and photographs have never before been displayed to the public.

History and cultural heritage

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was responsible for the formal presentation of the gift to King Harald and Queen Sonja. Along with the exhibition, the Prime Minister also presented them with another part of the Government’s gift: a lavish book entitled Arv og Tradisjon - de kongelige samlinger (“Heritage and Tradition – the Royal collections”) featuring a selection of special items from the Royal collections.

In their joint remarks, King Harald and Queen Sonja emphasised how pleased they were that these treasures will now be made available to the public. King Harald noted that the objects represent an important part of Norway’s history and cultural heritage:

The objects relay key events in Norwegian history, while the photographs and archive material document our history. For us, the Government’s gift is a welcome opportunity to view the results of our calling. We are part of the journey that began when my grandfather agreed in 1905 to become the King of Norway. We hope that this exhibition will provide many with a chance to revisit years long forgotten, while it will give children and young people an opportunity to learn about events that affected the lives of their parents and grandparents.

A tremendous undertaking

Queen Sonja also acknowledged the enormous task involved in registering the objects, which has been carried out at the Royal Court since 2002 and which has made these exhibitions possible:

The registration process, which began in earnest in 2002, has both brought us great pleasure and piqued our curiosity. The collection consists of some 400 000 artefacts and historical photographs. There is archive material as well. As a whole, this collection bears witness in a unique fashion to Norway’s history and cultural history from 1818 until today.

Following the presentation ceremony, the Royal Family were given a guided tour of the exhibition, which has been organised under the auspices of the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in cooperation with the Royal Court.

Royal journeys over 100 years

The main theme of the first exhibition is how Royal journeys have served to bind together the monarchy and the people. The journeys of the King and Queen comprise a large part of the exhibition, but trips abroad by King Haakon and Queen Maud, and King Olav and Crown Princess Märtha are highlighted as well.

The exhibition showcases equipages, apparel, uniforms, official decorations and gifts given to Norwegian Kings and Queens by foreign heads of state. Among the high points are the gala carriage, elegant gowns and uniforms made for the coronation of King Haakon and Queen Maud in 1906, as well as the apparel used in connection with the consecration of King Olav in 1958 and King Harald and Queen Sonja in 1991.

The exhibition is open to the public from 16 February to 26 August 2012. Exhibitions will also be on display in Trondheim, Bergen and Tromsø, and two touring exhibitions will be produced.


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