An announcement has been made by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry that King Harald has invited President Andrei Kiska of Slovakia for a State Visit next week, he is due to visit Norway between the 4th and 6th June. This is the first official visit of a Slovakian President, but it does follow a visit to Slovakia in October 2010 by King Harald and Queen Sonja when they were guests of the then President Gašparovič.
The President will be welcomed on Monday in a ceremony at Palace Square and following the laying of a wreath at the Akershus Fortress the President will visit the Norwegian Parliament. Before visiting a seminar on “Building Smarter Cities” and having meetings with the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg and having an opportunity to meet Slovaks who have made Norway their home. In the evening President Kiska will be guest of honour at a Gala Dinner.
Tuesday morning will see the President on industrial visits, with visits to the Wilhelmsen Group which is a Norwegian Marine Services company which works in over two thousand ports in one hundred and twenty-five countries around the globe. A second visit will see him visit a research facility into cancer covering both research into the disease and possible new medicines. As a counterpoint, the afternoon will see the President watching a special production by the Slovak National Theatre of a play about Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
Bjørnson is considered to be one of the great Norwegian writers alongside Henrik Ibsen, but he was also highly active in the political sphere. He is also close to the hearts of the Slovakian people as he wrote many pieces in the International press following the 1907 ruling in Hungary banning the Slovak language being used in schools and at church. He also highly criticised the French over the Dreyfus affair which is the story on which “The Railway Children” is based.
On Wednesday, President Kiska will be accompanied by Crown Prince Haakon for visits to the Media City and also The Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research. Royal Central will have more information on the visit next week as Norway welcomes the Slovakian President.