Warm reception in Stralsund

Spirits were high this morning when Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel greeted Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess on the Old Market Square flanking the Town Hall of Stralsund, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

Only occasionally does the German Federal Chancellor act as personal host as she is doing for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess this weekend.

“This illustrates the deep ties between our people and countries,” said Royal Norwegian Ambassador to Germany Mr Sven Erik Svedman. “Germany is Norway’s most important partner in Europe, and Norwegians are rediscovering Germany.”

Reception in Stralsund

Public festivities got underway when Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit in front of the Town Hall in Stralsund. The children’s choir from the city’s music school sang and played during the ceremony in which the Crown Prince and Crown Princess signed the city’s guestbook, known as the Golden Book. The Old Market Square provided a picturesque backdrop for the reception, and Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Chancellor Merkel took plenty of time to greet the many people who attended the event.

The historic centre of Stralsund is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, chosen for its Hanseatic League past and for the Baroque Commandantenhaus, seat of the old Swedish command headquarters.

In Löwenscher Hall inside Stralsund Town Hall, 150 of the city’s residents awaited the guests of honour. Representatives from the business sector, the political sphere and the non-governmental sector attended the reception, and Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit had the opportunity to greet many of them.

Several speeches were held during the event. Both Minister-President of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania Erwin Sellering and Mayor of Stralsund Alexander Badrow made welcoming remarks, which were followed by speeches by Federal Chancellor Merkel and Crown Prince Haakon.

The Crown Prince said that he and The Crown Princess had visited Germany briefly on their honeymoon;

– Wir haben viele gute Erinnerungen an Erlebnisse in Deutschland. Schon unsere Hochzeits¬reise begann hier. Nach der Ankunft in Dänemark mit dem Königsschiff fuhren wir mit dem Auto durch Deutschland – wo wir zwei Tage blieben und dann in die USA weiterreisten – ohne dass so viele davon wussten. Danach sind wir viele Male in Deutschland gewesen – offiziell und auch privat – und wir haben Freunde, die hier leben und arbeiten.

St. Nikolai Church

The visit to Stralsund concluded with a guided tour of St. Nikolai Church. The church, located on the Old Market Square, served as the city’s main church in the Hanseatic era. Tradesmen and sailors came here as evidenced by the names of the altars, one of which was named after seamen from Bergen. Father Peter Neumann, the guide for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, showed them the church’s many points of interest, including an icon with the image of St. Olav.

Following the tour, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Federal Chancellor Merkel lit candles and received the priest’s blessing.

Walking tour of Binz

From Stralsund, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Federal Chancellor Merkel travelled to the seaside resort of Binz, located on the far side of the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea. Rügen’s long, sandy beaches make the island a popular tourist destination.

Following a luncheon at a local restaurant, the Crown Prince, the Crown Princess and the Federal Chancellor took a walk along the seaside promenade, where many of the town’s residents and beach guests had come out to greet them. The walking tour ended on the town’s pier which offers spectacular views of the entire bay and the town.

On board the M/S Nordwind

From Binz the party continued on to Sassnitz, a small seaside town with boat and train connections to Trelleborg, Sweden.

Following a brief walk on the jetty, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Federal Chancellor Merkel boarded the M/S Nordwind, where they had ample opportunity to talk and enjoy the stunning scenery from the ship’s upper deck. The coast of Rügen is renowned for its white chalk cliffs.

The trip on the M/S Nordwind was the final stop on the itinerary, and when the ship docked at the pier, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess said their farewells to the Federal Chancellor.

Source: The Royal Palace

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