Royal IPY visit
Top image: UNIS director Gunnar Sand, HRH Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Photo: Frank Eggenfellner/UNIS.
HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway led the way when he, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden visited the Svalbard Science Center and UNIS today.
27 June 2008
Text: Eva Therese Jenssen
The three royals were followed by the Governor of Svalbard, Mr. Per Sefland and the leader of Longyearbyen local council, Mr. Kjell Mork, plus a dozen press people when they arrived at the Svalbard Science Center this morning.
Royal patrons of the IPY
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Victoria have just concluded a five day long cruise in the Svalbard waters – together with HRH Crown Prince Fredrik of Denmark.
This cruise was organized for the three Scandinavian throne heirs, since they are the Royal patrons for the International Polar Year (IPY) in their respective countries.
The Danish Crown Prince left Svalbard this morning, whereas Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Victoria were joined by Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway for a day long visit in Longyearbyen.
After meeting children in a local kindergarten and also enjoying art performances by children and adults at the main square before walking down to the science center.
Requested lecture topics
There the royal party was greeted by UNIS director Gunnar Sand. Scientists, students and people from the local community had gathered in the auditorium to get a glimpse of the royal entourage, but also follow the lectures on CO2-free Svalbard by Mr. Sand and on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault by project coordinator Ola Westengen.
The lecture topics had been especially requested by the heirs to the Norwegian and Swedish thrones for their visit to the center and UNIS.
The royals were clearly interested in the topics, and they asked several follow-up questions of the lecture holders in the 45-minute long visit.
– We are tremendously pleased that the royal party wanted to visit us and hear about our research, director Sand said after the royal visit was over. – We are looking forward to having them coming back here again soon – and in the winter time – so we can show them the Aurora Borealis and our aurora observatory, he said.
And as a reminder to come back, the UNIS director offered the three royals each a book on the dayside aurora, which is the main subject of study at the UNIS aurora observatory on the Mine 7-mountain.