When royals travel to Germany, a little royal splendor always shines on the Federal Republic. From Monday, November 6th, the country's three largest cities will be able to enjoy such a visit: Norway's heir to the throne, Crown Prince Haakon, and his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, are going on a tour of Germany.
For four days, Haakon will travel through the Republic together with government representatives and a business delegation to honor and strengthen the good relations between Germany and Norway. First it goes to Munich, then to Hamburg - but only in Berlin will Crown Princess Mette-Marit be there.
According to Norwegian Ambassador Laila Stenseng, the core topics of the trip are the economy, energy, shipping, defense and culture. The visit is also about emphasizing the community of values between Norway and Germany, for example in questions of democracy.
Norway also wants to show itself as an economically strong partner: as a “fossil nation,” the country has been the Federal Republic’s most important gas supplier since Russia disappeared in the wake of the Ukraine war. Since Norway is also moving towards a green future, cooperation should be intensified, for example in the supply of hydrogen.
Germany and Norway have once again moved closer together in the wake of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. The natural gas that Germany and other EU countries no longer receive from Russia because of the war now comes more from Norway. In 2022, Germany became Norway's most important export country, primarily due to gas deliveries.
“Since last year we have experienced a pretty spectacular acceleration of Norwegian-German energy cooperation,” Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre told the German Press Agency during a visit to the Troll A gas production platform this spring. He described Germany as Norway's most important European partner - words that were also repeated in the announcement of the Norwegian royal family's visit to Germany by Haakon and Mette-Marit.
The balancing act when it comes to climate protection is difficult for the oil nation Norway. On the one hand, the country's enormous wealth is based on oil and gas production, and on the other hand, the people in the far north are very close to nature and the environment - the Crown Prince family also likes to hike through Norway's unique nature, characterized by mountains and fjords.
The government in Oslo, from which several cabinet members are coming to Germany, has made it its mission not to wind down the fossil fuel industry, but to develop it. Norway gets its own energy largely from hydropower - while the climate-damaging gases are produced when Norwegian oil and gas is burned abroad.
Climate and environmental protection are very important to Haakon and Mette-Marit, as well as to their children Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Sverre Magnus. During Haakon's visit to Hamburg in particular, the focus will be on energy and the green development of industry, with a focus on shipping, hydrogen and the capture and underground storage of CO2, known as CCS for short. From a Norwegian perspective, the Paris climate targets cannot be met without CCS - and there are enough deposits for this in depleted Norwegian oil and gas fields.
Haakon and Mette-Marit, both of whom turned 50 this summer, will add royal radiance to everything. The couple is one of the most popular royal family representatives in Europe and, with their family, represents young, modern and nature-loving Norway.
When traveling abroad, Haakon usually focuses on economic topics, while Mette-Marit focuses on Norwegian literature. Among other things, she and her husband promoted the works of Norwegian writers at the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair. One of the greatest of these, Jon Fosse, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature just a few weeks ago.
This time Haakon will also serve his wife's hobbyhorse: at the Literaturhaus Munich on Tuesday, November 7th, he will be taking part in a literary conversation with the author Maja Lunde and the writer Dag Olav Hessen. Mette-Marit will only join him in Berlin.
In the federal capital on Thursday they will visit the Wall Museum and a commemoration ceremony for November 9th, the day the Wall fell in 1989. Afterwards, to conclude the trip, they will go to see Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Bellevue Palace and to see Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the Chancellery.
Pulmonary fibrosis, which she was diagnosed with in 2018, is likely to play a role in Mette-Marit's reduced program. Because of this chronic lung disease, she often has to slow down. Most recently, she was on sick leave for a few weeks in late summer and was therefore unable to travel to Sweden when King Carl XVI. Gustaf celebrated his 50th anniversary on the throne.