His Majesty King Harald of Norway participated in the events commemorating the Liberation Day and the National Defence Day at Akershus Fortress in Oslo. Every year, 8 May is a day where Norway honours all veterans, from World War II and up to today’s international operations while they mark the liberation from the German occupation in 1945.
The Norwegian Royal Family has a long tradition of participating in these events, as they themselves were directly affected during the war and had to live in exile for five years.
The day started at 8 o’clock in the morning with a flag ceremony at Akershus Castle, inside Akershus Fortress. The fortress was opened to the public by 10 o’clock and a ceremony followed at “Retterstedet”. At this place, members of the Norwegian resistance were executed by the Germans during World War II. The ceremony consisted of a speech and the placing of a floral wreath, decorated in red, white and blue.
A church service in memory of the Norwegians who died during the war was then held at the Castle church at Akershus; followed by a flower ceremony at the National War Memorials at the fortress. His Majesty the King’s guard held a short military parade and the rest of the military forces marched at the end of this parade into the main square to receive His Majesty.
King Harald arrived in the afternoon to hand out medals. Just after the King’s arrival, a column of Norwegian fighters flew over the fortress in formation. The King placed flowers on the national monument before a speech was held by both the Minister of Defence and a soldier. A total of 16 people received a medal for their military efforts by His Majesty the King.
Happy Liberation Day to all Norwegians and my fellow Europeans who had to endure German occupation during the Second World War.
After the liberation on 8 May 1945, Crown Prince Olav was the first Norwegian Royal to return to Norway on 13 May and he took over the military command in Norway. The following day all Norwegian resistance groups dropped their weapons.
King Haakon and the rest of the Norwegian Royal Family arrive safely in Oslo on 7 June 1945. They were welcomed by huge crowds. The streets were decorated with flags and everywhere the Norwegians shouted: “Long live the King.”
Following World War II, more than 100,000 Norwegians have served in almost 100 different international operations in more than 40 countries on four continents. The day is marked with a number of events throughout the country, as well as a national main event at Akershus Fortress in Oslo.