1 September 2016, Royal Palace gardens, Oslo, Norway
After having traveled around most of the country, it is very nice to be able to host representatives from all over Norway in our garden here at the castle! A warm welcome to our place, everyone!
You who are gathered here represents the width of what Norway is today. So what is Norway?”
Norway is high mountains and deep fjords. It’s plains and coastline, islands and islets. There are lush meadows and gentle hills.Sea crashing against the country from the north, west and south.”
Norway Midnight sun and polar night. It is both harsh and mild winters. There are both hot and cold summers. Norway is elongated and scattered inhabited.
But Norway is, above all, people.
Norwegians are northerners, troenders, southerners – and people from all the other regions. Norwegians have also emigrated from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Poland, Sweden, Somalia and Syria. My grandparents immigrated from Denmark and England 110 years ago.
It is not always easy to say where we are from, what nationality we belong too. What we call home, is where our heart is – and that is sometimes difficult to place within borders.
Norwegians are young and old, high and low, able-bodied and wheelchair users. An increasing number are over one hundred years. Norwegians are rich, poor and in between. Norwegians like football and baseball, climb mountains and sail – while others are most fond of the sofa.
Some have good self-esteem, while others are struggling to believe that they are good enough as they are. Norwegians are working in shops, hospitals, and oil platforms. Many Norwegians work to keep us safe, and many work to keep the country clean of garbage and looking for new solutions for a green future. Norwegians farm the land and are engaged in fishing.
Norwegians research and teach. Norwegians are engaged youth and experienced old. Norwegians are unmarried, divorced, families and old couples. Norwegians are girls who love girls, boys who like boys, and girls and boys who are fond of each other.
Norwegians believe in God, Allah, Everything and Nothing.
Norwegians like Grieg and Kygo, Hellbillies and Kari Bremnes.
In other words, Norway is you. Norway is us. When we in our national anthem sing; “Yes, we love this country,” we must remember that we also sing about each other. For it’s we who make up the country. Therefore, our national anthem also is a declaration of love to the Norwegian people.
My greatest hope for Norway is that we are able to take care of each other. That we in the future are going to build this country on trust, fellowship and generosity. That we shall know that we – despite of all our differences – are one people. That Norway is one. Again – a warm welcome to us and Our garden – I hope we get a nice time together!