On December 31, 2016, the Norwegian royal court released a video of His Majesty King Harald V of Norway’s traditional New Year Speech.
Below is a rough translation of His Majesty’s message.
In summer we had a very special tree in Slottsparken. We called it Ønsketreet. There were people who visited the park invited to hang their hopes and wishes for Norway and the world.
Throughout the summer flickered people’s wishes in the wind. More and more came. The branches of the old tree hung heavy with the hopes of children and adults, young and old, Norwegians and foreign tourists.
For me it was nice to see that many of the wishes of the people expressed fallen well with my own hopes and wishes for our country and the future.
2016 was an eventful year filled with gratitude for us. On the occasion of our 25th anniversary as royal couple, we experienced Norwegian hospitality and warmth at its best – through meetings with people on anniversary trip along the coast, and on the many garden parties held. The Queen and I want to thank warmly for all the great memories that are created through this special year. One of my greatest wish is that we will continue to meet in freedom, without fear and barriers, without fences that creates distance. It is one of the most important values in our Norwegian, open societies.
On one of the patches a child had written to Ønsketreet, stated:
“I want everyone gets a little kinder to himself.”
I think that was a wise desire. Many feel that it produced such great demands on them that they are mentally and physically exhausted. But my impression is that many of the claims also made by ourselves. We struggle us simply out by thinking that we are inadequate.
One of the most important for us people think I’m getting to feel that there is use for us. Getting feel useful, to get accomplish a good day’s work. Many who experience to stand outside the labor market, know enough left in this.
This year we marked the 50th anniversary of the discovery of oil on the Norwegian Continental Shelf – with all the wealth it has created for Norway. Meanwhile, many just in this industry lost their jobs.
I’m impressed with all the will of creativity and change that I’ve seen and heard about this year.
One of my wish is that we will be able to see and embrace all the human resources in our country. Everyone can feel that they help and recognize themselves useful – regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or disability.
Another wish on the tree was written by a girl and a boy together.
“I wish that we make it safe for women to live in Norway – and that we must be spared to ask about this several times,” it said.
Our community should be safe for everyone. Specifically, we must work to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected best. In 2015 adopted the world leaders the new sustainability goals for creating a better world. One of the goals is about combating violence against women and children. In this area, acknowledged Norway that we must make an extra effort in our own country. If we are to create a safe society for all, it is important that it gets put into words what is happening, and that those who are able to help, is wise listeners with strong vigor.
In Oppland County had 4 to 7. step because the schools have a mission where they should write a letter to the King, which I later read. A girl had written in his letter to me: “It is important to keep the traditions of old, so they are not packaged together and placed in a dusty drawer.”
A tree is a nice picture of this. The roots are heritage and traditions. The tree above ground constantly exposed to influences that require maintenance throughout the changing seasons and life stages. As long as the tree lives, dig roots slowly deeper and deeper.
In Norway, many traditions, both religiously and culturally determined. Several of them are linked to the Christmas holidays we have just celebrated. From tomorrow – 1st January 2017 – the Church formally separated from the state. Simultaneously we mark that it is 500 years since the Reformation, which had great significance for the whole society. It is important to our roots conscious – and give new generations the opportunity to understand the references in our culture. This concerns both the history, religious traditions and narratives, myths, fairy tales, music and visual arts.
In any culture, in any country, is aware of this heritage helps to make us more whole as human beings. There is a wealth that helps us to know that we belong to a place and does not live in a vacuum. That we have been influenced and inspired by the same sources that people who have lived before us.
This we experienced when we last invited to multi-religious feast at the Palace. When we shared thoughts, cultural expressions and food from various religious treasure chests, we came closer together and understand each other better.
It is my hope that we are also in a time of ever new impulses gives space to go into our own treasury and make the content live, for ourselves and each other. My experience is that by standing confident in awareness of their own heritage, one can easily meet others with an open mind.
The Queen and I was reminded of our anchor during the anniversary church service in the cathedral on June 23 – which marked that it was 25 years ago we were blessed just there. To have God’s blessing upon the deed our – and getting kneel where both my father and grandfather had previously received the same blessing, perceived as a major force.
Youth expressed that they want stability, presence, calm and good conversation. It has always been challenging to be youth. But I sincerely feel the youth of today who are facing so many more choices and so much more external influence and pressure than was the case for only one or two generations ago.
In the midst of this I am deeply impressed by many young people. You are role models for us seniors who have failed to engage enough in topics such as the environment and wealth distribution. Many of the patches on Ønsketreet – especially the youngest – express hope for less litter and better climate. The social consciousness and conscience I meet with many of you who are young today, makes me very optimistic about the future.
One of the finest wishes I have heard expressed throughout the past year, came from a police officer who works with youth in trouble. The conversation between him and one of the youths was rendered in Dagsrevyen fall. When the young boy thought the policeman only dreamed when he thought a change for him and his friends, the policeman answered:
“Maybe. But my dream starts with you. “When the boy was silent.
My dream for you.
If we have good dreams for each other, if we want each other well – then much magic happen. It’s good for us to ensure that others can thrive. Both in the community our in Norway and as world citizens. A special thanks tonight I would inform all of you that are in service outside the country – and who might miss family and close friends exactly tonight.
Thank you for the efforts you make through diplomacy and humanitarian organizations, the police and defense – for peace, stability, health and safety for fellowmen.
The Queen and I fill 80 now this year we go into. For us it’s a little unreal. Like so many older experienced before us, one feels the rare as old as the number indicates. It gives us great pleasure to meet so many people who make an impression on us, giving us new ideas, which gives us the image of the new Norway – with its opportunities and challenges. People we hope and believe will be able to build the country further on values such as trust, fellowship and generosity. People that will characterize our society with its great effort and great knowledge.
Life has taught me that it is most important to us humans do not change very much over time. We need someone who cares about us. We need that there is use for us. We need to be seen – and recognized – for who we are. We need that someone has the time to listen and be present. We need to know that we are here for something and someone beyond ourselves.
Therefore I am glad that this tag fluttered the tip of a branch on Ønsketreet:
“I want a Norway which is rich in its diversity, with the ability to love their neighbor, where one can get to be who you are. A country with real freedom! “
In the new year I hope Norway, Europe and the world can be characterized by this:
That we who share this earth recognizes that we are primarily fellowmen.
That we can collectively decide to work for a healthier world.
Choosing to fight evil with good.
And from Ønsketreet Slottsparken comes a very last hope:
“That all the wishes on the tree must come true.”
Happy New Year!