The King of Norway has ended 2021 with an upbeat message urging people across the country to face the year to come with energy and determination.
Harald V delivered his traditional New Year’s Eve speech from the Royal Palace in Oslo.
The king placed a particular focus on the importance of listening to one another in an address which looked to the future with hope and optimism.
Harald reflected on the many challenges faced by people across Norway and the impact that loneliness and social isolation had had on many. He told his fellow Norwegians that ”I think it is crucial that we take the time and effort to really listen to other people’s experiences – with a desire to understand’.
He also touched on the strength social interaction can provide, saying ”In 2022, many of us may need to return to quality moments with people who mean something to us. To good conversations. Maybe we need to rediscover openness and hospitality in ourselves. Strengthen old friendships and forge new ones. Bring out the best cups and invite each other in!”
His upbeat message did, however, contain moments of sorrow. King Harald touched on the tributes paid across Norway in the summer as the country marked the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack at Utoya. He also reflected on the importance of empathising with others, especially as the world attempts to emerge from the pandemic. And there were warm words of gratitude for all those working in the health service as the challenges of Covid-19 continue to impact so many lives.
But the central theme of his address was woven around the strength that people take from themselves, their responses and their interactions with others. Urging everyone to realise how they make an impact, the King of Norway continued ” I also believe that everything that reminds us of what we humans have in common, helps to strengthen us. Like we all need to be looked at by someone with love. And that we all depend on the kindness and goodwill of others.”
And he looked to the future and a special year in Norway. 2022 will be dedicated to volunteering and Harald V said ” I would encourage everyone to find something that is right for you – small or large. The possibilities are endless. Everyone needs something or someone, and everyone has something to contribute. This is how we create strong communities – which is our best protection in the face of difficult times. It is a gift we give to ourselves – and to each other.”
He ended his address with words of determination and encouragement, saying ”whether you feel sadness and longing, restlessness and exhaustion, or joy and anticipation – I hope we can enter the new year with time and energy for what strengthens us. To listen to each other with interest and empathy, to revive good friendships and conversations and to believe that each and every one of us can mean something to other people.”
King Harald’s wishes for a Happy New Year were followed by the Norwegian national anthem.