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Norway

Queen Sonja ends her holiday paddling on the Russian border

The Queen of Norway has spent this summer both cycling and paddling in Norway’s northernmost county of Finnmark. It was nevertheless the way Queen Sonja ended her holiday that received the most attention.

The holiday came to its conclusion in Finnmark – with a paddle in the border river Pasvikelva. This is the river that marks the border between Norway and Russia where there are strict rules and a high military presence from both nations.

After the unusual paddling trip, Queen Sonja met a few Norwegian journalists for a chat to talk about the experience. And she said she did not fear ending up on the wrong side of the Norwegian-Russian border.

Speaking to the Norwegian state TV-channel NRK, Queen Sonja said: “I chose to come back to Finnmark out of curiosity. You get a little closer to the soul in Finnmark. It is very exciting to see how people live and how they feel here”.

Queen Sonja took to the waters of the border river between Norway and Russia on August 3rd 2022, travelling from the military border crossing base in Nyrud to the small Sami village of Noatun.

The queen was asked a number of questions about what she felt being so close to the Russian border. Her Majesty did not want to comment on the political situation between NATO member Norway and Russia, but she said that she was not afraid to come so close to the Russian border and added: “The river is a bond that you have to have, and this has been the case forever. You build up a kind of love for this place”.

Queen Sonja spent about five days in Finnmark this time. And she was observed by locals in several areas near the coast. She has used the Royal yacht “KS Norge” as her base.

The queen has also previously chosen to spend her private summer holiday in Finnmark. This time she has, among other things, cycled, fished and picked cloudberries. King Harald has also often holidayed in the county, as he is particularly interested in fishing for salmon in rivers.

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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.