Crown Prince Couple’s Official Visit to the US

  May 10, 2013 at 9:30 am by

This week, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit have been on a trip to the United States (Texas and California) from May 5th to 9th, to promote Norwegian industry and Norwegian technology companies. They were accompanied by representatives of the government and Norwegian businesses.

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The Crown Prince Couple arrived in the afternoon of May 5th in Houston, where they were greeted with songs by children from Seamen’s Church in Houston. In the evening, they attended the Annual OTC (Offshore Technology Conference Dinner) at Reliant Stadium in Houston, where Crown Prince Haakon held a speech and stressed the strong and long-lasting relationship between Norway and Houston.

On May 6th, the Crown Prince Couple visited the OTC 2013, the world’s largest and most important oil trade held each year in Houston. It’s the 40th year of Norwegian participation at the OTC. It was then Crown Prince Harald who opened the first Norwegian pavilion at the OTC in 1973, four years after oil was first discovered in Norway. The Crown Prince Couple visited a number of Norwegian and international stands and Crown Princess Mette-Marit officially opened the Norwegian pavilion. They were also greeted by Texas’s Governor, Rick Perry.

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In the afternoon, the couple visited Exxon Mobil’s Research Center in Houston, one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies and a major operator on the Norwegian continental shelf, followed by a buffet dinner at the River Oaks Country Club in the evening.

On May 7th, Crown Prince Haakon visited Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, accompanied by a large delegation of representatives of Norwegian industry. This trip caused some controversy in the Norwegian press beforehand, as the company produces Norwegian F35 bombers and cluster bombs and Crown Prince Haakon has been patron of a fundraiser with a campaign against cluster bombs.

Meanwhile, Crown Princess Mette-Marit visited the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in San Francisco, where she was warmly welcomed by the children who invited her to have some of the famous waffles with them.

In the evening, the couple together attended a concert of the Norwegian metal band ‘Kvelertak’ at Slim’s Music Club in San Francisco. Shortly before, they met with the members of the band and Crown Princess Mette-Marit admitted, that their music was not really her taste, but emphasized that she was proud of the Norwegian boys making it abroad. She later left the concert early, but Crown Prince Haakon stayed until the end and also met James Hetfield, the lead vocalist for the American heavy metal band Metallica.

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May 8th started with a a breakfast meeting on tourism at Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Crown Prince Haakon held a presentation, where he not only showed pictures of the beautiful Norwegian landscape but also some of himself and Queen Sonja doing outdoor activities in Norway. He called her his “source of interest for nature” and “a great inspiration”, as she took him and his sister out since they were small children to do hiking, watersports or skiing.

Later in the day, the couple travelled to Stanford University, where they were greeted by President John Hennessy and attended the seminar ‘Advanced Technology and Innovation’. Afterwards, they visited Innovation House Silicon Valley in Palo Alto. It’s a working space and support center run by government trade promotion unit “Innovation Norway” and was opened in 2011 by Crown Prince Haakon on-location via a virtual ribbon cutting on Twitter. The couple was allowed to try and experience some of the new technologies including a touchless gesturing system for tablets computers and a virtual reality system.

In the late afternoon, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit attended a reception at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, followed by an official dinner for 250 guests back at Fairmont Hotel.

During the last day in the U.S., the Crown Prince Couple visited the Norwegian software company ForgeRock in San Francisco and attended a luncheon with Norwegian start-up companies and their American counterparts who presented themselves for international investors at The Rosewood Hotel in Palo Alto. In the afternoon, the couple visited the Peder Sather Centre at the University of California, Berkeley, where Crown Prince Haakon studied political science from 1996 to 1999.

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