World news story

Oslo’s Christmas tree gift to Trafalgar Square

A Norwegian spruce, the City of Oslo’s traditional gift to the UK, was cut down in the forest by the Mayor of Oslo and Lord Mayor of Westminster.

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LM looks at tree

Lord Mayor of Westminster Audrey Lewis looks at the tree for London as forestry workers preapare rustic "forest" coffee. Photo: British Embassy Oslo

Children from Oslo International School and Norwegian primary school Ammerud skole gathered in Oslo’s north eastern forest on Wednesday 19 November to sing carols as they witnessed the felling of this year’s Trafalgar Square Christmas tree.

Schoolchildren at Christmas tree felling
Children from Oslo International School and Ammerud skole at the felling of the Christmas tree for Trafalgar Square. Photo: City of Oslo / Sturlason

Oslo has sent a tree to the London every year since 1947 as token of gratitude, celebration and commemoration of Britain’s support during the war when the Norwegian government and royal family lived in exile in London from 1940 to 1945 during Norway’s occupation. The annual gift of a Christmas tree has come to symbolise the deep and long-lasting friendship between Norway and the United Kingdom.

Mayor of Oslo and LM of Westminster
Mayor of Oslo Fabian Stang and Lord Mayor of Westminster Councillor Audrey Lewis saw the tree which Oslo will send to London for Christmas 2014. Photo: City of Oslo / Sturlason

The Mayor of Oslo Fabian Stang invited the Lord Mayor of Westminster Councillor Audrey Lewis and the British Ambassador Sarah Gillett to this year’s tree-felling ceremony, which took place in Oslo’s certified sustainable forest at Lillomarka in Grodruddalen. The 21-metre tall tree, which weighs about four tonnes and is over fifty years old, is now on its way to London by road and sea. “The Queen of the Forest” as she is affectionately known by the forestry workers who groom a number of spruce trees over a period of years, was selected from a shortlist of particularly fine trees just a few weeks ago.

Tree transport
The tree is carefully suspended, cut, hoisted and lowered onto a specially built crib to transport it by road and sea to London. Photos: City of Oslo / Sturlason

The Lord Mayor of Westminster was accompanied by her official consorts for civic duties, step daughter Victoria Lewis, an actress, and step granddaughter Frances Gladwin, a recent graduate in Criminology. Channel 4’s Kirstie Allsop brought her TV crew to include the cutting of the tree in her programme “Kirstie’s Christmas Show”. The felling ceremony was also attended by Norwegian forest hikers association, the Anglo Norse Society, and representatives of Oslo City Council’s environment section.

The Lord Mayor of Westminster said, “For many Londoners, the tree going up in Trafalgar Square symbolises the real beginning of the Christmas season and it is one of the first things we think about if you mention Norway any time in the year. It is such a special symbol of the close friendship between our countries and it is a privilege to be invited to take part in the felling ceremony. We thank Mayor Fabian Stang and all the people of Oslo sincerely for this generous and much appreciated gift.”

The Norwegian Christmas tree will be lit with energy-efficient tree lights in Trafalgar Square on Thursday 4 December at 6pm.

More photos from the Mayor of Oslo’s office (Photos must be credited: City of Oslo / Sturlason) and our Flickr album

Published 20 November 2014