We hereby plant our beloved flag at the South Pole

Amundsen at the South Pole. Photo: Wikipedia

Amundsen at the South Pole. Photo: Wikipedia

The centennial anniversary of Roald Amundsen’s arrival at the South Pole was commemorated Dec. 14, 2011. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon was in attendance at the festivities in the city of Tromsø, known as the gateway to the Arctic Ocean.

Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen were prominent public figures who contributed to building Norway’s national self-esteem and brought the country international recognition in the period after the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden. In his remarks at the Stortorget market square, Crown Prince Haakon emphasised the importance of the role they played:

“Amundsen and Nansen were the true heroes of a free Norway in the years after it gained its independence in 1905. Amundsen’s achievements helped to form our national identity and to carve out Norway’s position as a polar nation. We have good reason to celebrate today.”

The centennial celebration in Tromsø featured a tightly packed programme, with Crown Prince Haakon attending a number of events. First the Crown Prince visited Gyllenborg school, where he viewed a display of the schoolchildren’s works on polar history. Many schools have conducted polar history projects this year, a selection of which will be exhibited at Tromsø City Hall.

Polar history

A photography exhibition depicting Tromsø as the Arctic capital and the point of departure for expeditions and other polar activities had been set up in Erling Bangsunds Square. There the Crown Prince viewed photographs illustrating segments of Arctic Ocean history that have been little known until now.

The Crown Prince also attended author Tor Bomann-Larsen’s informal lecture on Roald Amundsen and his achievements.

Helmer Hanssen was one of the four men who accompanied Amundsen to the South Pole point. Hanssen, who lived most of his adult life in Tromsø, was honoured with a monument that was unveiled outside Polaria, an Arctic-themed attraction centre housed at the Fram Centre. The work of sculptor Per Ung, the monument depicts Hanssen and his dogsled in bronze.

The polar parade departed from Polaria at 6:15 pm and arrived at Stortorget market square for the celebration’s main event.

Read the rest at kongehuset.no.

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