The Crown Prince’s Speech

I hope the title of this post doesn’t sound flippant.  This is the speech delivered by Crown Prince Haakon of Norway to the crowds who gathered at the Rådhusplassen (City Hall) in Oslo on July 25, 2011. Text in Norwegian and English (Berit, correct me if I got anything wrong, please! I used Google’s translator, but had to clean up some of it that didn’t really make sense. Thanks Smile  ). I’ve seen estimates of how many gathered there, every person carrying a single rose (except for one guy who apparently was late to the florist and had to improvise with a potted plant!), down to the smallest children, ranging from 100,000  to 250,000. You can also find the speech online here at Aftenposten, one of the largest papers in Norway. There is a lovely two-minute video of what Oslo looked like afterwards, with roses and other flowers all over the city here at, and a slideshow of some very touching photos here. I was especially moved by all the roses on the police car.

I kveld er gatene fylt av kjærlighet.
Vi har valgt å besvare grusomhet med nærhet.
Vi har valgt å møte hat med samhold.

Vi har valgt å vise hva vi står for.
Norge er et land i sorg. Vi tenker på alle som har lidd tap. Som savner.
På alle som gjorde en heroisk innsats for å redde liv og gjenopprette tryggheten vår. Og på lederne våre som har blitt satt på vanskelige prøver de siste dagene.
De som oppholdt seg på Utøya og i Regjeringskvartalet var mål for terroren, men den rammer oss alle.

Tydelig og forferdelig har vi sett hvor store konsekvenser enkeltmenneskers handlinger kan få.
Det viser samtidig at det betyr noe hvilke holdninger hver enkelt av oss har, hva vi velger å bygge livene våre på. Og hvordan vi velger å bruke det til beste for hverandre og samfunnet vi lever i.

Etter 22. juli kan vi aldri igjen tillate oss å tenke at våre meninger og holdninger er uten betydning. Vi må møte hver dag, rustet til kamp for det frie og åpne samfunnet vi er så glad i.

Kjære unge: Dere er vårt korrektiv, vårt mot og vårt håp. Det er dere som skal forme og bestemme hvilket Norge vi skal ha i årene framover. Hver og en av dere er umistelige. Men vi har mistet mange.

Det Norge vi vil ha skal ingen ta fra oss.
I kveld er gatene fylt av kjærlighet.
Vi står overfor et valg. Vi kan ikke gjøre det som skjedde ugjort.
Men vi kan velge hva dette skal gjøre med oss som samfunn og som enkeltmennesker.
Vi kan velge at ingen skal måtte stå alene
Vi kan velge å stå sammen.

Det er opp til hver enkelt av oss nå. Det er opp til deg og det er opp til meg.

Sammen har vi en jobb å gjøre. Det er en jobb som må gjøres rundt middagsbordet, i kantina, i organisasjonslivet, i det frivillige, av menn og av kvinner, i distriktene og i byen.
Vi vil ha et Norge hvor vi lever sammen i fellesskap med frihet til å mene og ytre oss, hvor vi ser forskjeller som muligheter, hvor friheten er sterkere enn frykten.

I kveld er gatene fylt av kjærlighet.

Tonight the streets are filled with love.
We have chosen to respond to cruelty by coming together.
We have chosen to meet hatred with unity.

We have chosen to show what we stand for.
Norway is a country in mourning. We think of all those who have suffered losses. And miss.
To all who made a heroic effort to save lives and restore our peace of mind. And our leaders who have been put through difficult trials in recent days.
Those who stayed on Utøya and the government ministry were targets of terror, but it affects us all.

Clear and terrible, we have seen how much impact an individual’s actions can have.
It also shows that it matters what attitudes each of us has, what we choose to build our lives on. And how we choose to use it best for each other and the community we live in.

After 22 July, we must never again allow ourselves to think that our views and opinions are irrelevant. We must face every day, prepared to fight for the free and open society we are so fond of

Dear young people: You are our compass, our courage and our hope. It is you who will shape and determine which Norway we will have in the years ahead. Each one of you is priceless. But we have lost many.

The Norway we will have no one shall take from us.
Tonight the streets are filled with love.
We face a choice. We can not undo what was done.
But we can choose what this will do to us as a society and as individuals.
We can choose that no one should have to stand alone
We can choose to stand together.

It is up to each one of us now. It is up to you and it’s up to me.

Together we have a job to do. It’s a job to be done around the dinner table in the cafeteria, in organizations, the volunteers, the men and women, in small towns and cities.
We will have a Norway where we live together in communion with the freedom to think beyond ourselves, where we see differences as opportunities, for freedom is stronger than fear.

Tonight the streets are filled with love.

11 thoughts on “The Crown Prince’s Speech

  1. wow. goosebumps.

    The streets of heaven are lively tonight, filled with the souls of those young and energetic Norwegians. They belong to the realm of the infinite now; may their families and and loved ones find peace in this life.


  2. I choke up every time I read it. Those poor kids, it’s all so unbelievable. I’d like to put up the text of the PM’s (Jens Stoltenberg) speech as well. If I can find it online I’ll translate it and post it.

    As I told someone on Twitter today, I’m still too numb from the shock of it to even feel anger or hatred towards Breivik yet. I expect it will come at some point, but it’s all so surreal still.


  3. Oh, thanks, but as I said at the top, it’s mostly Google’s translator that gets the credit. I cleaned up a few phrases that didn’t quite work, but it really did a pretty good job. I didn’t have time to do it myself today, so I had to let the machine do it for me. I’m still going over it, catching a few things here and there that I missed when I initially posted it but for the most part I think it’s ok now.


    1. yeah, but you have to know what you’re doing with Google Translate or it comes out in a kind of a weird, stilted Frammish. To present a nice translation as you did, you have to have a good command of English AND a decent understanding of the foreign language. (I wanted to tell a Spanish-speaking student to “Have a great summer,” so I ran it thru GoogTrans, and them double-checked with a bilingual colleague. It is a good thing I did b/c I’d almost said the equivalent of “have a very large summer.” He would have gotten the basic idea, but I’m supposed to be the educated one, y’know?)


  4. Hehe. I may have told you this before, but at a previous company we had offices in Japan, and so people who worked in that office had bi-lingual business cards. Well, the manager over there had the title “Manager, Pacific Region.” I guess the cards were translated here in the U.S., and then to double-check, were run past someone in the Japan office. She could hardly contain her amusement when this guy’s cards came back with what in English equated to “Manager of the Pacific Ocean.” A small distinction, to be sure 😉 Translation is an art.


    1. Wouldn’t you just love to be the Manager of the Pacific Ocean? I’ll take the Atlantic, so we’ll have easy commutes.


  5. Dear DD — Thank you for these posts. I am so saddened by these horrible, senseless events, but I take comfort in the Prince’s closing call reminding us we all have the obligation to see opportunities rising from differences and to make the world a place where freedom is stronger than fear. We can’t be afraid to live our lives in the open.


  6. Hi Rosie 🙂

    Indeed. The main purpose of terrorism is to force changes in society’s behavior. Somehow in his twisted brain, Breivik thought this was the way to control Norwegian society and policy. In that he has failed.


  7. “Dear young people: You are our compass, our courage and our hope. It is you who will shape and determine which Norway we will have in the years ahead. Each one of you is priceless. But we have lost many.

    The Norway we will have no one shall take from us.”

    And that’s the point where my eyes started welling.

    Thanks for posting the whole speech, DD.



  8. Glad to do it. It still chokes me up when I read it. One thing that struck me about both Prince Haakon’s speech and PM Stoltenberg’s was how short they were. These guys didn’t get up and pontificate and drone on for 45 minutes like they would have done here. Their speeches were short, and heartfelt. No insincerity. Too bad we don’t have men like that in office here.


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