His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco Practices CPR with the Sapeurs-Pompiers de Monaco.

On Thursday, March 31, 2022, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco visited the Sapeurs-Pompiers de Monaco (Monaco Fire and Emergency Service) and the Croix-Rouge de Monaco (Monaco Red Cross) in Monte-Carlo.

During his visit, the sovereign prince practiced CPR as well as other First Aid training techniques, met with first responders and representatives from the Croix-Rouge de Monaco.

And, that’s it!

HRH Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg Participates in a Meeting in Paris, France.

His Royal Highness Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg was in Paris, France on Thursday, March 31, 2022, to participate in a meeting with the Business Club France-Luxembourg (BCFL).

Established in 2015, the BCFL gathers over 350 French and Luxembourgish companies and entrepreneurs from “…all sectors of activity. Its objective is to facilitate networking, partnerships, and synergies between economic players in the two countries…” notes the Cour Grand-Ducale in a press release.

During yesterday’s important gathering, which was held at the home of the Ambassador of Luxembourg in France, Her Excellency Mrs. Martine Schommer, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume gave an uplifting speech whereupon he stated, “…your economic activity does not take a break. You live daily relations between Luxembourg and France, you even embody a part of this essential economic relationship between two neighboring and friendly countries.”

Photos courtesy of the Business Club France-Luxembourg/M.de Coatpont

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway Visits the town of Kirkenes.

Photo courtesy of the Norwegian royal court/S.Løvberg Sund

While Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway was meeting with Ukrainian refugees at the Caritas Norge in Oslo, her son, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway was visiting the town of Kirkenes. The town, located in the Sør-Varanger municipality in the far northeastern region of Norway, borders Finland and Russia.

According to the Norwegian royal court, the purpose of today’s visit was to “…meet the locals and hear how it feels to live close to the border with Russia after the country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.”

The day began with a:

“…visit to the Barents Secretariat, where the mayor of Kirkenes, Lena Norum Bergeng, and head of the Barents Secretariat, Lars Georg Fordal, told how Russia’s warfare affects the city’s population, cooperation and friendship across borders, and business. At the same time, they experience that there is a good community in Kirkenes regardless of nationality.

The mayor of Kirkenes said that many Russians live in the city, and that everyone knows someone from Russia. They are friends, neighbors, spouses and colleagues. In addition, you are used to traveling freely across the border to shop, visit friends, maintain business cooperation and go on holiday. Both she and the other representatives who were present at the meeting emphasized that there are now many in the city who feel great sadness that cooperation across the border is now not possible.

The head of the Barents Secretariat said that their goal is to create mutual understanding between Russia and Norway, by sharing knowledge and building networks and financing cooperation projects. But after Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, virtually all cooperation between Norway and Russia has stopped.

After the briefing, the Crown Prince took a walk through a snow-covered center, and had lunch at Go’biten patisserie with six of the city’s residents: Nils Edvard Olsen, Vegard Kristiansen, Matvey Shchetnev, Nina Karin Skogan, Maria Alexeeva and Ingrid Valan. Together they talked about how they experience living and living close to the Russian border.

At the Basen youth club, the Crown Prince met several local young people from the Youth Council, and was shown around by the unit leader for culture, Harald Sørensen. The young people told about the offer at the newly opened club; and spent particularly good time in the new E-sports room. 

The day ended at the city’s ice hockey field, which is the home field of Kirkenes Puckers. The ice hockey club is led by William Sjøstrand. He was born in Murmansk and moved to Norway when he was 30 years old. His family has Norwegian roots and is referred to as Kolanordmenn. He now leads the city’s ice hockey team and is one of the initiators behind the amateur league Barents Hockey League, known to many through the NRK series Puckers. The league facilitates a number of matches between teams from Norway, Finland and Russia.”

Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway Visits Ukrainian Refugees in Oslo.

On Friday, April 1, 2022, Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway visited with various Ukrainian refugees at the Caritas Norge in Oslo, Norway.

Caritas Norge was founded in 1952 as Norsk Katolsk Flyktninghjelp (Norwegian Catholic Help for refugees) by the Catholic Church in Norway. In 1964, its current name was adopted. Today Caritas Norge is run as an independent humanitarian foundation.

During today’s visit, Her Majesty met with women and children who had to flee their homeland due to the ongoing war with Russia. According to the Norwegian royal court, Her Majesty was also briefed on the work Caritas Norge does in Ukraine and on refugees who are currently on their way to Norway. In speaking with the press regarding Caritas Norge’s humanitarian work Her Majesty said, “…I am very impressed with this organization – what they do and how they work in both Ukraine and here in Norway.

When asked about how the Ukrainian refugees are adjusting to life in Norway and the conflict in their homeland Her Majesty noted that:

“…they are very happy to be safe. One thing is to be safe – another thing is to have a home. That home is not here. It’s just for now. Even if you do the best you can, the Queen told the press after the visit – and added. Everyone hopes and wishes that this cruel war will soon end – in one way or another. It made a strong impression to meet those who have experienced this cruel in the war in Ukraine, said Queen Sonja who herself has experienced war up close. I myself am quite old, so I also experienced the war. I hear the plane alarm, and you go down to the basement. There’s something ticking back. And it hurts a lot for these people to have this all the time over them.”

In Ukraine, more than 3,500 Caritas employees and volunteers provide food, water and hygiene items, and children are protected and cared for in the best possible way. They also provide shelter and transportation.

Already in the first month of the war, Caritas has helped more than 350,000 people in Ukraine, and tens of thousands of refugees have received help in the recipient countries Poland, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, says Secretary General Martha Rubiano Skretteberg.

If you’re interested in learning more about Caritas Norge and the wonderful work they do around the world please visit their official website here.

Photos courtesy of the Norwegian Royal Court/S.Lysberg Solum

His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands Opens a New Distribution Center in Utrecht.

Photo courtesy of RVD

On Friday, April 1, 2022, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands officially opened a new distribution center for the online supermarket, PICNIC, in Utrecht.

Established in 2015 in Amersfoort, PICNIC, using their App delivers groceries for free using 100% electric cars. They are environmentally friendly and do not make noise. Yay! And, that’s not all! The new distribution center is almost completely robotized and can supply 150,000 customers per week with groceries as well as other household items such as toilet paper.

Anyway, during today’s visit, His Majesty was given a tour of PICNIC’s new high-tech distribution center, met with various representatives from the company and employees.

To view photos from today’s opening please click here.

Her Royal Highness Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg Views the Exhibit, CRAFT 3.0: The Extension of the Gesture.

On Thursday, March 31, 2022, Her Royal Highness Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg visited the immersive art and fine crafts exhibition entitled, CRAFT 3.0: The Extension of the Gesture, held at the 1535° Creative Hub in Differdange, Luxembourg. The exhibition was organized by the De Mains de Maîtres Luxembourg, an association whose mission is to sustain the commitment to creators and craftsmen.

According to a press release from AALT Stadhus, the purpose of the exhibition is to:

“…question various Luxembourg and European players in the fields of artistic craftsmanship and new so-called additive technologies, in order to glimpse the tremendous interest that there may be tomorrow in bringing together and combining these old and new skills. Beyond the eternal debate between tradition and progress, it clearly appears today that digital techniques are not intended to oppose the gesture or to make it disappear, but can on the contrary prove to be a great way to extend it, or even increase it!

The exhibition aims to explore the current and future shift from secular gestures toward a new craft nourished and enriched by digital techniques. CRAFT 3.0 offers the visitor a didactic journey dealing with both an inventory of art crafts today and a projection into a digital future that questions the world of creation more than ever.”

CRAFT 3.0: The Extension of the Gesture will be open to the public until June 26, 2022. For more information please click here.

Photos courtesy of the Cour Grand-Ducale/M.Dessard

Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium Gives a Speech During the Sustainable Value Chains: From Legislation to Action, Conference.

On Thursday, March 31, 2022, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium, in her capacity as an Advocate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, gave a speech during the Sustainable Value Chains: From Legislation to Action conference organized by The Shift, a Belgian platform for a sustainable economy and society in Brussels.

The purpose of yesterday’s conference was to show how companies, NGPs, and public institutions can complement each other to set up value chains that protect human rights and the environment and thus contribute to sustainable development.

Below is Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium’s speech:

Madam Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

When the international community adopted Agenda 2030 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in 2015, it gave itself a mission: to work together for a transition towards a more sustainable world. A transition that would benefit people and the planet. A transition that would put in motion the reduction of poverty and inequalities, and guarantee a life of dignity for all. A transition that would bring back balance in climate, in biodiversity, in water resources and oceans.  And, in so doing, do no harm, protect the rights of every individual, leave no one behind and respect the planetary boundaries. 

Understanding and keeping in mind the interconnectedness between all the SDGs is a precondition for fulfilling Agenda 2030. The SDGs provide a global and integrated vision to ensure that economic, social and environmental policies take into account the needs of all countries and all population groups, as well as the urgency of restoring the health of the planet. The SDGs are, therefore, a very useful and practical reference for policymaking and business-planning, as well as consumer practices. Since their adoption, a variety of stakeholders have worked diligently to produce practical instruments to assist decision-makers, at all levels, in this regard. Today’s event is a welcome contribution to this overall effort.

We are increasingly aware that the economic and commercial decisions and actions of one country or region can have consequences for populations or the environment on the other side of the earth. With this realization comes greater responsibility in making economic choices, adapting production and consumption patterns, and changing the behavior of companies and consumers. Indeed, the wide lens of the SDGs allows us to look beyond borders. They allow us to distinguish which actions may have a negative impact on the capacity of other – often poorer – countries to reach these objectives. Greenhouse gas emissions have dramatic consequences in terms of desertification and sea level rise worldwide. Commodity agriculture for exportation relies, in some cases, on dramatic deforestation. Affordable goods in developed countries may be the product of unsatisfactory work conditions, and even child or forced labor elsewhere. This spillover effect blurs the picture of our achievements as well as the evaluation of the real costs. We must ensure, too, that the way we implement the SDGs at a national or regional level helps other economies and communities to work towards these goals.

As you will discuss today, transparent and sustainable value chains have an important role to play in this respect. Of course, many international instruments, developed to guarantee the protection of human rights and the environment in the supply chain, predate the adoption of the SDGs. Nevertheless, they are based on the same principles and concerns, and they are now part of the general effort to push forward Agenda 2030, to which they are clearly related. They encompass, for instance, rolling back poverty, guaranteeing access to quality education, healthcare, decent employment, adequate housing, safe water and land, and promoting women’s empowerment. Moving from principle to practice to create and maintain sustainable value chains requires legal rules, transparency, responsibility, and due diligence. For smaller companies the task might sometimes look complex and arduous. Exchanging best practices and sharing experience, as you will today, is one way to help close the gap. Cooperation with local actors will be key. Hopefully, non-governmental organizations and consumers will continue to be demanding – but constructive – partners and sounding boards, in the common effort to establish value chains that contribute to the implementation of the SDGs.

I thank you.”

Photos courtesy of the Belgian Royal Court