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Ideas / Album / Norwegian Tree
Norwegian Christmas Tree ceremony in Trafalgar Square, London

Since 1947 the people of Norway have presented Britain each year with a Norwegian Christmas Tree. It is given to thank Britain for supporting Norway during the Second World War. The King of Norway went to London after the country was occupied by Germany, and set up a "government in exile" here before returning to his country after the war had ended. The tree is therefore not just a decoration, but a symbol of peace and of friendship. The tree is chosen specially from the forests around Oslo. The Mayor of Westminster travels to Oslo for a ceremony there, after which the tree is carried by road and boat to the centre of London.

The tree is lit during a short ceremony in Trafalgar Square in late November or early December (close to Advent Sunday). Many people gather around the square to watch the event. Between Advent Sunday and Christmas Day groups of carol singers often perform next to the tree in the evenings, helping to raise money for charities. The tree remains until 6th January (the twelfth night after Christmas).

In 2011 this event takes place on the evening of Thursday 1 December 2011 from 6pm to 6:30pm (crowds start to gather from about 5pm)


In 2008 the Norwegian Christmas Tree lights switch-on ceremony was on Thursday 4 December 2008.
From 5:40pm a Norwegian choir sang to entertain the gathering crowd. A Salvation Army band also played (for the second year running).

The choir of the local church (St Martin-in-the-Fields) sang carols as the Mayoral Party arrived and stepped onto the stage at about 6:10pm.

Short speeches were given by the Lord Mayor of Westminster (Councillor Louise Hyams) and by the Mayor of London (Boris Johnson).
The Lord Mayor of Westminster had previously travelled to Oslo to attend a ceremony at which the chosen tree was felled before it was transported by road and ship to London.
The Mayor of Oslo also spoke before he pressed the button to switch on the lights at 6:30pm.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

The Mayor of Oslo

The tree is lit with traditional white lights
and is topped by a star

The tree is one of the largest
from the forests near Oslo

During the ceremony Westminster's flag
is flown, as well as the Norwegian flag

After the national anthems of the UK and Norway were played, the Lord Mayor of Westminster and Mayor of London came down from the stage to wish members of the crowd a happy Christmas.

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In 2006 the lights were turned on by ...

... HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway

Choirs and a brass band performed Christmas carols

The fountains were turned on at the end of the ceremony

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In 2005 the ceremony started with singing
both by the Oslo Cathedral Boys Choir ...

... and by the Norwegian singer
Sissel Kyrkjebo

They were then joined by the choir of St Martin-in-the-Fields

The Norwegian and British choirs sing together

The mayors of Westminster and Oslo made short speeches ...

... before turning on the lights of the tree

The lights are all white,
which is the tradition in Norway

The Trafalgar Square fountains
were turned on

Bell ringers play in celebration

Merry Christmas!

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For details of this event, see:
- Mayor of London website:
- Norwegian Christmas trees in the UK:

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Regent Street Christmas Lights: Ideas/Album/RegentStreetLights
Oxford Street Christmas Lights: Ideas/Album/OxfordStreetLights
Bond Street Christmas Lights: Ideas/Album/BondStreetLights

British Christmas traditions: Ideas/Album/Christmas
Lincoln Christmas Market: Travel/Tours/England/Lincoln
Ideas for Christmas presents: Ideas/Gifts/Christmas
Making a Christmas cake: Britain/Food/Cooking/ChristmasCake

Trafalgar Square: Travel/Tours/London/TrafalgarSquare

Events in the UK in November: Ideas/Events/November
Events in the UK in December: Ideas/Events/November

Norwegian links: Links/Norway

Home page: Home

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