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State visit to Portugal: Speech to the Mayor of Lisbon

Speech given by His Majesty The King to the Mayor of Lisbon during state visit to Portugal, May 2008.

Distinguished guests,

The Queen and I would like to thank you for your kind words of welcome and for the hospitality extended to us and to our delegation.

Yesterday the Queen and I sailed in along your beautiful coast to anchor up at Torre de Bélem, the cradle of Portugal’s maritime discoveries. The reception we received in your hospitable city was, indeed, memorable. It was probably somewhat different from the reception that one of my predecessors, the Viking King Sigurd the Crusader, received when he arrived by sea in the 12th century. Despite probable apprehension from the Portuguese side, this friendly Viking king did help the Portuguese regain Sintra from the moors.

Ever since that time, our two nations of explorers and seafarers have been linked by the sea and the wind. We share the same Atlantic Ocean, we share a maritime past and we share a future where marine resources and the environment are of common concern. Earlier today I had the pleasure of opening a business seminar focusing on cooperation between Portugal and Norway pertaining to responsible fisheries and renewable energies in wind and ocean.

This cooperation will help us secure that the “best friend” of the Portuguese, the “Bacalhau da Noruega” can be sustainably harvested and distributed to seafood loving nations. And as such, Portugal must be one of the most advanced in the world. Seldom have I seen such a variety of fish and seafood as I witnessed in one of Lisbon’s hypermarkets today. Let me also add that I was pleased to see the prominent place the Norwegian dried cod occupied!

Lisbon offers Norwegians plenty of experiences beyond market opportunities and business cooperation. Your beautiful city on the seven hills along the Tejo River - with all its historic monuments, buildings and squares - is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination for my countrymen. The Queen and I have also appreciated visiting many of these historic sites and being able to experience Lisbon’s quiet charm and hospitable atmosphere.

Lisbon’s richness in culture and architecture is widely recognized, and offers good opportunities for strengthened cooperation between artists, writers and architects from our two countries. The Queen opened earlier today an exhibition and a seminar on Norwegian architecture here in Lisbon. In our programme are also performances within theatre and literature that manifest the interest from both sides of working together and learning from each other.

Once again I would like to express our appreciation of your kind hospitality. I wish you success in your important work to keep Lisbon a thriving, multicultural and friendly city with a mix of old time charm and modernity.


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