THE NEW Scalloway museum will be opened by Norway’s prime minister Jens Stoltenberg at a special ceremony on 17 May, Norwegian National Day.
Mr Stoltenberg will commemorate the close ties between Norway and Shetland and mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Shetland Bus wartime resistance movement in the village.
The prime minister will also participate in a series of local celebrations, including a visit to the local primary school. Plans are also underway for a parade and party on the Scalloway waterfront to mark the occasion.
The Shetland Bus submarine chaser Hitra, the coastguard vessel Bergen, and several veteran ships from Norway will be at Scalloway’s Blacksness Pier for the opening of the £1 million museum.
Mr Stoltenberg will arrive in Shetland 16 May for a full 24 hour visit, and continue his journey with visits to Faroe and Greenland, before heading to Chicago to attend the NATO summit.
His spokesman Ingvard Havnen said the prime minister was very much looking forward to his visit because of the many historic links.
“Shetland is important to Norway and the isles are very well known to many Norwegians particularly on the west coast of Norway, where you had the Shetland Bus operating.
“For many people this was the lifeline out of Norway during the German occupation,” he said.
Council convener Sandy Cluness said he was delighted that Mr Stoltenberg had agreed to travel to Shetland. “Scalloway and Shetland’s historic links with Norway can only be strengthened by the visit.
“I’m particularly pleased that Mr. Stoltenberg has chosen to help celebrate his country’s national day with us here in Shetland.”
Secretary of the Shetland Bus Friendship Society, former councillor John Nicolson, added: “Scalloway played a critical role during the Second World War in supporting the Norwegian underground organisation known as the Shetland Bus.
“The society’s members are therefore delighted that the prime minister of Norway has managed to find some time in his schedule on 17 May to visit Scalloway.”
During his visit Mr Stoltenberg will also visit the Walter & Joan Grey Eventide Home and will pay his respects to those who served in the independent Norwegian naval unit at the Shetland Bus memorial.
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