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European RoyalsNorway

Crown Prince Haakon celebrates 50th anniversary of Norway Arctic University

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway took part in the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Tromsø, which was officially inaugurated by King Olav V, the Crown Prince’s grandfather. 

His Royal Highness arrived at Norway’s Arctic University on 1 September, exactly 50 years after his grandfather made the same journey in 1972 to inaugurate the institution. 

He visited the university’s campus under the guidance of rector Dag Rune Olsen, and he got a chance to get to know more about the Centre for Sami Studies before enjoying lunch with some students who came to the main campus as part of the “dream days” initiative, in which they get to discover some of the disciplines offered by the institution. 

The celebrations were held in Tromsø Cathedral, where Crown Prince Haakon also gave a speech, saying: “The world has changed, and we have changed. But much is also the same. Research, science and knowledge are the bedrock on which we build our society.”

He then watched “50 years under arctic skies,” a multidisciplinary performance that told the story of the university through music and speeches. The performance was opened by a monologue written specifically for the occasion by the Frank Jørstad Women’s Theatre. 

Part of the performance was a speech from Ingeborg Harsten, one of the first pupils to be accepted into the university in 1972; she spoke about the gender balance in the student pool and how it has changed in 50 years. Another speech was given by Sarine Masterbakk, a Svalbard high school student who spoke about the effects of climate change on her native land; she declared that if she decides to undertake university studies, it will definitely be at Tromsø University. 

It was then time for the last and most official part of the day, with the creation of four new honorary doctors: Professors Katherine Richardson, Dame Veronica Ann Courtice and Johan Roorych, and artist Hans Ragnar Mathiesen. The ceremony was concluded by an official dinner in Rødbanken, where many state and local authorities took part. 

The University of Tromsø, or Norway Arctic University, is very close to Crown Prince Haakon, not only because it was officially inaugurated by his grandfather but also because they were the institution that organised the Arctic expedition in which he took part earlier this year.