King Harald: We Left a Dramatic Year Behind Us

– We humans have an amazing ability to cope with what we encounter. Many times I thought that we do not know in advance what will happen to us. Then the question is whether we can manage to find the force to rise again. In autumn, I thought this idea more often than before, said King Harald in the beginning of his speech to the Norwegian people in New Year's Eve.

The survivors from Utøya, rescuers, ordinary people and the country's political leadership were among those who received royal praise in the speech.

– Prime Minister and our entire political leadership showed us a worthy and unifying behavior and determination to hold us together even more firmly in our open society and democracy, continued he.

Tsunami and the debt crisis

The King also touched upon the international tragedies that have hit the world in 2011 – the tsunami in Japan in January, the drought in the Horn of Africa and the debt crisis and unemployment in Europe.

– But there were also many positive things: the so-called Arab spring and the peace prize to the three female champions of democracy in Africa and the Middle East. Let us hope that this is what will stand out as milestones, said King Harald. The King also thanked the Norwegians who make an effort for peace and development outside the country.

Tea-Time and More Dialogue

The King also praised the Tea Time initiative, in which Norwegian Muslims invite Norwegian neighbors to their houses for tea. King Harald noted the conversation with neighbors over a cup of coffee or tea would help us to understand differences and appreciate the benefits inherent in diversity by eliminating unnecessary fear and prejudices.

The Kind ended his speech with the last stanza of Erik Bye: day tomorrow will be our best day.

Queen Sonja and Crown Princess Mette-Marit also joined to the Teatime initiative by accepting the invitiation of a Muslim family in Grünerløkka earlier this year.

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