Saturday, 31 December 2022

King Harald of Norway - New Years Speech 2022 (English Translation)

English Translation by Gert's Royals

We humans need to know that we can do something to make life as good as possible - both for ourselves and for the people we love. This is especially important in troubled times, when we are faced with challenges that alone are difficult to do anything about. One can easily feel powerless.  

But that is why, we have to look up to gain perspective. And recognize that we need each other. It reminds us that we are not alone. It strengthens us. And that gives hope.

This year's message on World Mental Health Day was precisely this: Vi trenger hverandre – løft blikket! Look up - We need each other! I hope we can also carry that with us into the new year.

On an evening like this, we may realize that the lives we all lead are very different:

Many have everything they need - and more. Others are struggling to make their everyday lives fit together, and are worried about the future. Some are with many people tonight, while others are alone. One can also feel lonely in the middle of a group. Some have lost a loved one this year and are struggling to find their way forward.

Others have experienced the joy of becoming more numerous. Some celebrate the New Year in Norway for the first time, while others mark the evening abroad. Many are where they want to be, while others miss and yearn. In any case, we are a large community of people who are connected by invisible ties.

We have put behind us a year full of drama - which we are still in the middle of.

With Russia's brutal warfare in Ukraine, a new seriousness has come over our part of the world. Many are worried, both here in Norway and in our European community. At the same time, we see how Norwegians contribute both through humanitarian work and in other ways, to help people in need.

This makes me both proud and happy.  

All over our country, people have new neighbours. Refugees are now establishing their new lives in Norway in the hope of security and well-being - with good help from many who want them to settle. I hope that everyone who gets to make a new home in Norway will experience the warmth and safe harbor they want for themselves and their loved ones.

We who are alive today have grown up in a privileged age where much has gone the right way - both in the world and in Norway. During this time, more and more people have come out of extreme poverty, and there have been more democracies.

We have almost expected the world to continue moving forward. Unfortunately, we cannot take this for granted. Over large parts of the world, we now see that democratic freedoms are being weakened. Poverty is increasing again. Many are refugees due to war, conflict and climate.

And the climate change is now the most serious issue. We must do everything we can to protect our earth. Both to protect people's homes, and to preserve the wonderful nature where all living things are connected.

This is truly an area where we need each other. Because we are all equally dependent on our earth. And climate change does not stop at national borders. I sincerely hope that we will now be able to act in line with the seriousness of the situation.

In Norway, we have had a steady increase in prosperity over the past decades.

Still: Today, many are worried about the future. I feel for everyone who is now experiencing new burdens - after two difficult years of the pandemic. I hope for better times for everyone who is struggling and worried.

It's a time to see each other now.

Imagine if we could all ask a person who we encounter every day: What can I do for you?

Think what good experiences and moments that could lead to! It costs nothing, just a little everyday courage and extra consideration.

Perhaps this question could be a lantern we carry with us through the new year to give each other some light on dark evenings? In the long run, it is simply in the best interests of all of us that everyone has the best possible situation.

I want to send a special greeting to our young people tonight.

Remember that each one of you has something completely unique and valuable that is only yours, that is only you. Something nice that you can use for the good of yourself and those around you.  

And then there is nothing sick or abnormal about being in pain for periods, being sad and feeling that you are not enough. That's how it is for all of us - throughout our lives.

It is perhaps extra important to say this tonight - when there is war in Europe, more difficult times in Norway, and people are struggling: Both the history of the world, the history of Norway and the life stories of individuals are full of stories about falling - and getting up again. This is the rhythm of history and life itself.

We fall, and we rise. Again and again.

But we rarely do it alone. We need each other.

And we must look up. Both out of the country, in solidarity with other people. And in our own lives.

To meet the gaze of others who need us. But also to seek the gaze of those who can help when we ourselves need it. It is a strength to be able to ask for help when we need it.

Dear all,

Over the past year we have experienced a new unity in the West and Europe. Across other dividing lines, we have managed to stand together in a community of values ​​and security. Our part of the world has recognized that we need each other. That we are both stronger and safer together. It gives hope in the situation we are in now, and for the future.

In Norway, we have also been reminded of our people's government and the values ​​on which we build our society. We have been reminded of the value of our democratic freedoms. What it means to be able to say what we mean without risking our own lives. To be able to believe in what we want. And above all: How good it is to live in a country of peace. 

Our democracy begins here:

With the trust that we want each other well. That we work for a common good, which embraces as many people as possible. And with the ability to empathize with other people's lives, who have it differently than ourselves.

To achieve this, everyone must experience being listened to.

I believe in talking together. To take time to try to understand - and take each other in the best sense. It can be tiring, but it's worth the effort in the long run. In this way, we can preserve and strengthen the Norway we have built together.

And everyone can contribute:

By recognizing that we need each other - both in the world and in everyday life. By looking up. And by asking: What can I do for you?

I wish everyone a very happy New Year!   

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