On the evening of December 31, 2015, His Majesty King Harald V of Norway delivered his 2015 Nyttårstale live from the Kongelige Slott in Oslo.
Below is a rough translation of His Majesty’s speech.
“The poet Kolbein Falkeid writes:
‘People I loved
has gone ahead and marked ski trails
They were forest guys and mountain glove.
I find enough forward.’
Our days pass into months – that goes over this year. Thus the years life. It is in every day life is lived. And for most people in Norway is the good life.
Sometimes, one can still feel alone. Maybe you lost someone, perhaps one stands in front of an important choice. May make stance you a little shaky, and you do not know where the next step should be.
If you look back, you can easily get balance. How can the past – and they went up the slopes – helping us to locate.
I will therefore speak about the long lines tonight.
Norway is regarded by many as the best country to live in. We score high on international rankings of living standards in the world. We have a good welfare state – and the vast majority have a job to go to and confidence in daily life. It has not always been.
This year we have highlighted that it is 70 years since peace came to Norway – after five years of war and occupation. A number of events have been held to commemorate the end of World War 2. Several of these we have in Royal Family attended.
The markings have given us an opportunity to look back – and in some cases also to put today’s society in perspective.
For it can be easy to forget that only 70 years ago parts of our country lay in ruins. Many returned to broken homes, and several came from a refugee existence. With assistance from the Marshall Aid we built the country after the war. The Norwegian effort that created the gleaming new home and a working life with the need for many hands.
Over the decades, we have developed a model of society we can be proud of – with low unemployment and a labor market in which the parties cooperate well. In the late 1960s we found oil in the North Sea.
Wise politicians and visionary leaders created a sensible framework surrounding the management of the large new resource.
The sum of all this is a generous welfare state everyone can enjoy.
Benefits we now take for granted, has not always been obvious. We also experienced adversity and faced challenges. Together, we have nonetheless emerged us up uphills.
70 years may seem long, but for many of us living today, it’s as if it was yesterday.
The long lines are broken up by milestones; signs showing the limits. They are a symbol of that thing ends and something else begins.
“The Past best gift is the memory of that we have a future,” the sociologist Michael Young said.
In the old days mark stones also sightlines; a place where you could plot the course.
In a human life are milestones often occasions dealing with important events: A child’s birth. Choice of partner. A new home. Life events that give direction, new hope and sustenance to our dreams. Some such occasions will characterize you as long as you live.
One of my most important milestones was laid in 1991. When my father, King Olav V, passed away the night of January 17, 1991, began my king. In the dark January night nearly 25 years ago, the Palace Square filled with light. People came from near and far to commemorate a beloved king.
My royal deed started with a sense of community. The warmth of a whole nation embraced our family and gave strength in a difficult time. Meanwhile, it is with great humility that I stepped into a line of revered kings before me. Year we are now entering will mark this 25th anniversary and gives occasion for reflection and contemplation.
Norway has in these years experienced an unprecedented prosperity. Our country substantial access to energy and ocean treasures has given us great riches. Nevertheless, it is not natural resources alone that has given us opportunities – but to a greater extent our common human resources.
Because many are participating in the labor market and thus contribute to the community, we are together helping to create prosperity all benefiting.
Many people today are concerned about how the future will look like. In recent times we have several areas experienced being tested – as a nation and as individuals. It is allowed to be upset, and express it.
Norway is closely linked to other countries. How can events on the other side of the globe have significant consequences for each our days here at home. Some occupational industries are threatened, and the employee can have serious consequences. We have recently heard of layoffs in several places.
I would think that many tonight are concerned about what happens to their work in the future.
Human drama we see every day in the faces of all those trying to find a safe haven in Norway. Many fleeing terror in their homeland. Autumn’s horrific events in Paris and other big cities have been dreadful reminders that values our society is built, are under pressure. Terrorism knows no borders, and the goal is to create fear in the population. The terrorists want to rob us of life – our life. We will fight – with different agents. Where terrorists are attacking our lives with bombs, is our best defense, however, that we use values as weapons.
As a backdrop for today’s great themes, hangs the threat of climate change. From Alaska to Antarctica, I’ve even seen some of the consequences.
Fortunately, there are bright spots. The international community’s effort to reach an agreement at the climate summit in Paris, ended considerably better than many had feared. Now begins the laborious work for a healthier planet.
We may have different opinions about how we should handle our common challenges. Nevertheless, it is important that we can talk about the tasks, because we are all affected by them. If we look back, we remember that we have been through difficult times before.
We mobilize the opposition. Norway is perhaps a small country, but together we have accomplished great things.
Our resources gives us significant opportunities – and great responsibility. Pippi Longstocking says: ‘He who is very strong must also be very kind.’ Many take on this responsibility. I will mention two examples:
After the terrorist attacks against Jews in Paris and Copenhagen in the beginning of the year, took a group of young Norwegian Muslims initiative to create a ring around the synagogue in Oslo. It was a simple and very dramatic action that showed courage and dedication through to care about others.
This autumn’s major refugee flow has reached us up close and personal life. Throughout our continent is experiencing a major challenge to welcome them back in a good way.
Many people across the country have collected and handed out clothes and food, taught in Norwegian and opened their homes to those who need it. Spontaneous action – and an expression of compassion. How have people been seen and important community building.
I will tonight give a special thanks to the Norwegians who are in other countries to help people in need, and contributing to efforts to achieve peace and stability. Women and men in the armed forces, police, diplomatic and humanitarian operations and organizations doing important work we can all be proud of.
My thoughts tonight also goes to the families and those affected by avalanche accident in Svalbard right before Christmas. Volunteers and relief agencies also did here a big effort to help those affected.
When we in the Royal Family visiting around the country, we are struck by people’s enthusiasm and commitment. Communities are built in a country populated by people with visions and thoughts that Norway someday be left to our grandchildren. I am therefore optimistic. If we can still be true to, and can still develop our values - such as trust, community and generosity – we can still create a good society for the many.
We have this fall been able to follow a TV series named date. It shows the life stories of famous and not so famous people. It states: ‘Everything starts somewhere. A date. And then come all these other things.’
Often it is the case – we know not always how it goes. Soon we will enter a new number in the calendar.
Together we will experience the ups and opposition, sorrows and joys. Each individual will experience new milestones in his life; dates we take with us the rest of your life. Some chose themselves, others chose us. Nonetheless, I hope that we together, in one year, you look back and think that the year was good.
We are all in a line. Some went ahead. Others come by. Let’s take care of each other and make the best of every moment.
We find enough forward.
I wish every one of you a Happy New Year!”