Hamburg: Opening speech at Norwegenfestival
First Mayor Scholz, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Ich wünsche Ihnen einen herzlichen guten Tag! Es ist eine große Freude für mich, die Norwegenfestival bei Kehrwiederspitze in Hamburg zu eröffnen.
The free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg has an important role in German-Norwegian relations, with respect to both economic and cultural ties. The Hanseatic trade, starting in the twelfth century, established the foundation of our relations.
When Norway became an independent kingdom in 1905, the importance of our trade and shipping links made Hamburg one of the first places where our young nation established a Foreign Service mission by opening a consulate here in 1906.
Geographic proximity, a common cultural identity and broad political cooperation have contributed to the strong links between our two countries. The ferry connection between Kiel and Oslo – a very real and visible connection – is a well-established service which is frequently used by both Germans and Norwegians.
Germans made up the single largest group of tourists to Norway last year, accounting for more than 600 000 visitors.
The figure speaks for itself and shows the importance of Germany for the Norwegian tourism industry. In the future, new links like the Fehmarn Belt connection will make travel between our two countries even easier.
Norway is this year’s partner at the HAFENGEBURTSTAG HAMBURG. I have learned that this celebration comes close to being something like a national day for Hamburg, commemorating the free trade on the river Elbe, the basis for the development of the city.
The celebration says a lot about the traditions of this wonderful city. Today I am proud to open a “Norwegian village” on the Kehrwiederspitze, presenting a taste of the Oslo Region, the Norwegian cuisine and several Norwegian products and services.
The eight counties of the Oslo Region have joined forces to present themselves here in Hamburg. This region, which I am proud to call my home region, offers a great variety of attractions and activities – from city culture to stunningly beautiful landscapes.
This is the first time all eight counties are cooperating to make this wonderful part of Norway more familiar to the German market. I hope this kind of marketing cooperation will continue in the future.
I hereby declare the Norwegenfestival at the Kehrwiederspitze open, and hope you will enjoy it!