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Norway

King Harald and Queen Sonja begin tour of Western Norway


Photo: Oskar Aanmoen/Royal Central

King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway have started their several days long visit to western Norway. The Norwegian King and Queen are currently on board the Norwegian Royal Yacht and will visit three municipalities in Western Norway this week. The first stop of the trip was the village Flåm, in the Aurlandsfjord. Their Majesties the King and Queen are visiting the municipalities of Aurland, Hyllestad and Kinn this early summer to hear how local communities and businesses have been affected by the pandemic.

On June 15th 2021, the couple and the Royal Norwegian Yacht arrived at the pier in Flåm. On the pier in Flåm, the King and Queen were received by Mayor Trygve Skjerdal. Normally, the pier here in the village would receive around 4,000 tourists daily from both cruise ships and travellers with the Flåm line, but the last year has been quiet and almost nobody has visited the village.

During the visit His Majesty the King said to the press: “It has been a long marathon, without us knowing when it will end, and it has probably consumed a lot of people. And then many have had to readjust. And they have managed that well.”

Queen Sonja continued: “It’s impressive how creative people are in a difficult situation. And given the conditions we have lived with over the past year, they are still able to think new and future-oriented. That’s very good.”

The royal couple was briefed on the situation in the tourism municipality of Aurland. Mayor Trygve Skjerdal led the way, and told about a municipality that had major challenges when all the foreign tourists were absent due to the pandemic. Both the founder and owner of the local pier, operations manager at Flåm Railway, and local owners of farm tourism and hotels told the royals about their situation. They told about how they have experienced the time during the pandemic, and how they have had to readjust and think differently to make money. The meeting took place at Fretheim tourist hotel.

Towards the end of the visit to Flåm, the King and Queen visited Ægir brewery. There they were received by entrepreneur and general manager, Evan E. Lewis. Originally from New York, Lewis was able to tell the story of how this business has managed to establish itself in the small village and has grown to become a popular supplier across large parts of Norway. The visit continues on Wednesday in the village of Hyllestad before the visit ends on Thursday in the city of Florø.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.