Council to make return trip to Norway following Constitution Day celebrations
Council Convener Harvey Johnston has described yesterday's Norwegian Constitution Day celebrations as ‘magnificent’.
This week's celebrations come in advance of a return Orkney Islands Council visit to Norway - the first in ten years.
Councillor Johnston said: " Yesterday’s celebrations were a magnificent, physical manifestation of the strength of our enduring relationship with Norway. The Tog really brightened up Kirkwall's streets and it was an honour to welcome our Norwegian visitors from Hordaland council and those who had travelled across the North Sea for the special occasion.
“2018 marks 35 years since a twinning agreement was signed with Hordaland, with our Norwegian friends visiting us as part of that agreement twice a year, in May and at Christmas.
"It's a rare occasion for us to make a return visit and with ten years having passed since the last one, we're taking the opportunity to honour our twinning agreement with a reciprocal visit.
"We have many commonalities with our Norwegian counterparts and we have much to learn from them. The three day trip for our small delegation is full to the brim with meetings and educational visits, during which we'll learn a great deal on Norway's take on issues such as renewables, volume tourism, education, and hydrogen and electric transport.
"The visit will also allow us to discuss re-establishing the student exchange programme with Hordaland, providing a fantastic cultural opportunity for our young people."
The five person delegation will be in Norway from May 29 to June 1. Those attending are Council Convener Harvey Johnston, Chair of Development and Infrastructure Graham Sinclair, Vice-Chair of Education, Leisure and Housing John Ross Scott, Director of Development and Infrastructure Gavin Barr and Head of Executive Support, Karen Greaves.
The visit is being funded through the Council's Twinning budget which is allocated each year for Twinning events and activities and has been historically underspent.
Orkney and Norway's longstanding relationship dates back many centuries to when the islands were populated by Norwegians in the late 700s.
In 1983 an official Twinning Agreement, which included a commitment to visiting Norway every two years, was signed with Hordaland County Council. Every Christmas a tree is delivered to Orkney as a gift from the region - with a delegation from Hordaland visiting as part of this every December.
The last visit by Orkney Islands Council to Norway was in 2008, to mark the 25th anniversary of twinning arrangement.