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State visit to Portugal: Speech to the Mayor of Porto

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

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for your kind words of welcome and for the hospitality extended to us and to our delegation.

Porto has for centuries been the gateway from Portugal to Northern Europe. For more than 150 years it was the place of arrival for the Norwegian dried cod, the “bacalhau”, which was traded for salt and Port Wine. Norwegians that initially came to Portugal and started businesses also settled in Porto. The first immigrants were naturally linked with trade in fish. Later Norwegians also entered into Porto’s famous Port trade, as was the case for one of our countrymen, Mr. Wiese, who after some years in imports of cod fish, asked his cousin to move to Portugal and take up Port wine trade with him. The Wiese & Krohn Company, established in 1865, started exports of quality port wine to the Scandinavian markets. The families no longer own the company, but the brand name is still kept by the owners.

Today, Norwegian businesses in the Porto Area are mainly working in textiles and clothing.

But Norwegians did not come to Porto only for the sake of business. The old city of Porto, built around the Douro estuary, with scenic houses and wine cellars clinging on either side of the steep riversides, is breath-taking. Porto’s blend of industry and charm is exceptional. No wonder the historic centre is on the UNESCO World Heritage list and that the city was made the European Capital of Culture in 2001.

The Queen and I are very pleased to spend one day of our State Visit to Portugal in the beautiful city of Porto. This morning the Queen had the opportunity to visit the famous Serralves Museum, while I addressed a seminar at the University Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology. Cooperation between this Institute and the Norwegian Rikshospitalet University Hospital has been going on since the late seventies, and has resulted in many doctor’s degrees and important scientific research.

This afternoon the Queen and I are very much looking forward to take a boat trip on the Douro River.

Once again I would like to express our appreciation of your kind hospitality. I wish you success in your important work to keep Porto a thriving industrial centre whilst preserving the old time charm.


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