Norway presents the people of UK with a Christmas tree for Trafalgar Square every year. London isn’t the only British city that receives one. For decades, various Norwegian principalities have donated trees all over the UK, as symbols of the close relationship between Norway and Great Britain.
During World War II, King Haakon VII escaped to England as the Germans invaded Norway in 1940, a story recently relived in the film The King’s Choice by Erik Poppe. The government headquarters was then set up in London where the war news was broadcasted in Norwegian, along with information that was vital to the resistance movement in Norway. The Norwegian Christmas trees are now symbols of the Norwegian gratitude towards the United Kingdom.
Here’s a list of the cities with Norwegian trees this year, and the dates of their lighting ceremonies in December, from the Norwegian Embassy in London:
London, Trafalgar Square
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony – Oslo tree, Thursday 1 December, 6pm.
The lighting ceremony of the magnificent Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, gifted from the people of Norway since 1947 as a token of Norwegian’s gratitude for Britain’s support during World War II, has come to signify the beginning of the Christmas season in the heart of the British capital. December 2, there will be a Christmas Concert at 7.30pm at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.
Grimsby, Grimsby Town Centre
Every year, a spruce from the council and residents of Sortland in Northern Norway arrives in the port town of Grimsby from across the North Sea. The start of Grimsby’s late-night shopping season is marked by the illumination of the town’s Christmas lights – and those of the glittering tree. The tree, which spans around 40ft, has been transported more than 3,500km to Grimsby for the 12th year running.
Edinburgh, George Street
The Royal Norwegian Consulate General gift the tree to the city of Edinburgh on behalf of Hordaland County Council.
Aberdeen, Union Street
Aberdeen receives its Christmas tree from its twin city Stavanger. This is a symbol of the close ties across the North Sea between Aberdeen and Stavanger, and between Scotland and Norway generally.
Newcastle, Newcastle Civic Centre
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony – Bergen tree, Thursday 1 December, 5.30pm
Newcastle receives a Christmas Tree from Bergen every year; this year’s tree is the number 68th in the line, and is given from Bergen Mayor Trude Mjøs Pedersen.
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony – Hordaland tree, Sunday 3 December.
As one of the most historic sites of Norse influence in the UK, Orkney, receives a Christmas tree as a gift from Hordaland County. After the lighting, there will be a family concert starting at 5.30pm.