It is not every day that a completely new award arises but a rather special one, Honorary Craftsman, has been created in Norway. The first winner of this award was none other than Queen Sonja of Norway.
The appointment of Honorary Craftsman is instituted to honour a person who has an excellent in his or her field, has made a significant contribution to society in general or their crafts in particular. This by virtue of his work or personal commitment.
The new award has been made by the Oslo Crafts and Industry Association which is Norway’s oldest business organization. Since 1838, the association has worked to safeguard the quality of vocational training, promote the craftsmen’s professional competence and strengthen their position in society.
The jury’s justification for the award states the following: “Throughout her time, the Queen has become involved and put a lot of good work into the work of safeguarding and renewing our common cultural heritage. Through her choice of skilled workers, clothes, jewellery and her interest in art, the Queen has shed light on professional competence, quality, good craftsmanship and the reuse of materials and buildings. A focus that promotes vocational training, recruitment, sustainability and the status of good craftsmanship and tradition”.
For many decades, Queen Sonja has been actively committed to raising the status of practical professions. She has visited many schools that offer educations similar to that she herself took and other practical professions. The Queen has repeatedly stated that their status in society must be raised and that she herself is very proud to have an education in a more practical subject.
When Her Majesty received this award, she said: “This issue with highlighting the vocational subjects has been close to my heart all my life”.
What many people probably do not know is that Queen Sonja is educated in a practical profession. Before she became a member of the royal family, the then Sonja Haraldsen, studied dress and suit sewing at the Oslo Vocational School in Oslo. She also studied fashion, fashion illustration and sewing at l’Ecole Professionelle de Jeunes Filles in Lausanne.