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Norway

Queen Sonja celebrates special anniversary


Oskar Aanmoen/Royal Central

Queen Sonja of Norway has celebrated the 200 year anniversary of the Norwegian “Fund of information”. The celebration took place at Vestre Aker vicarage in Oslo.

For many generations, the Norwegian Information Fund has contributed to education in Norway.

Today, the Fund is one of Norway’s largest landowners, owning vicarages, forests and commercial property throughout Norway.

Her Majesty the Queen was entertained by vocalist Solveig Slettahjell with a performance of commissioned works by musician Geirr Lystrup and by comedian Robert Stoltenberg who performed as a priest. Anne Lindmo led the celebration performance and told about her own upbringing at a rectory on Toten. In the middle of the courtyard of the vicarage, the Queen planted a tree called the “Dronningeika”, which can be translated the “The Queens oak”, as the main celebration of the day.

The Norwegian Information Fund was enshrined in the Norwegian constitution in 1814 and established in 1821. Returns from ownership and sale of vicarages were to contribute to education and enlightenment in Norway. One of the most important reasons for the establishment of the Fund was to secure the necessary contributions to the newly started University of Oslo.

Today, the Fund is one of the country’s largest landowners and, as an asset manager, will create value for the Church of Norway. The Fund works both to sell vicarages and to find other uses for vicarages with particularly great cultural-historical value. Since 2015, priests no longer have a duty to live in their vicarages, and many vicarages are today filled with other content. Vestre Aker vicarage will now be a neighborhood house with a café and flower shop.

During the event, the leader of the Fund, Ole-Wilhelm Meyer, gave a speech in which he said: “When the fund turns 200 this year, we can look back on a business that has had a great impact on the development of our society. We are currently working on both selling vicarages, at the same time as we are working on finding other uses for vicarages with particularly great cultural-historical value. The fund has been, and is, an enabler by being a landowner. Historically, the fund has been a community builder, and we want to continue with that also in the future”.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written six books on historical subjects and more than 1.500 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.