4.36 p.m. Espen Stedje, Secretary General of Föreningen Norden (Nordic Association), welcomes The King and Queen and talks about the work of Föreningen Norden. There is considerable cooperation between Norway and Sweden, particularly notable in the number of students here in Tromsø.
Youth unemployment is a focus area during Sweden's chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2013. 2014 marks 60 years since an agreement was reached on the common Nordic labour market. Since then, Föreningen Norden has been working to increase mobility between the Nordic countries, partly via the summer job programme Nordjobb, which the association has been running since 1985.
Find out more about Föreningen Norden External link..
4.34 p.m. The royal couples arrive at Tromsø library.
1.35 p.m. The King and Queen's lunch begins with a speech by The King. The menu is poached cod with melted butter and grated horseradish.
12.10 p.m. The royal couples visit Arktisk Botanisk Hage (botanical gardens).
11.50 a.m. Professor Nils Peder Willassen, University of Tromsø, and Professor Fredrik Almqvist, Umeå University, talk about a research project that is focusing on finding valuable biological molecules in nature, both on land at at sea. There are many as yet undiscovered molecules in microorganisms in the arctic landscape. Microorganisms were the first form of life on earth and there are now more than 100 million species. Samples are collected via expeditions and water samples, which are then sent to the researchers. After the biomolecules have been isolated, they can be used in new products and for new areas of use. The research teams are currently looking for new enzymes to use in medical diagnostics. One area where enzymes can be used is in diagnosing HIV more effectively and quickly.
11.37 a.m. The royal couples arrive at the University of Tromsø, where Vice-Chancellor Jarle Aarbakke welcomes them and talks about the university. The university was established in 1968 and is the most northern university in the world. Tromsø has many foreign students, with Swedes accounting for the largest group, followed by Russian students.
Lena Gustafsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University, talks about the partnership between the two universities, including around polar research.
11.00 a.m. Melissa Chierici, Deputy Director of the Institute of Marine Research, talks about the ocean acidification that is currently happening. About half of carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by the ocean. The PH value of the ocean is falling, which makes it harder for sea creatures to form shells and skeletons. The Arctic is particularly sensitive to this development.
10.50 a.m. Magnus Jóhannesson, director of the Arctic Council's secretariat, then talks about the Arctic Council, which was founded in 1996. Sweden chaired the council 2011-2013 and the chairmanship ended with a ministerial meeting in Kiruna earlier in the spring. Canada took over and the focus for its chairmanship is people and economic development.
10.40 a.m. Coastal director Kirsti Slotsvik, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kustverket), then spoke about BarentsWatch, which is an initiative monitoring climate, transportation, fishing and issues relating to the law of the sea. BarentsWatch runs a state internet portal, which functions as a source of knowledge for information about coastal and sea areas. Ten departments and over thirty authorities work together as part of the initiative.
10.30 a.m. Jan-Gunnar Winther talks about the arctic research being conducted in Tromsø. Some 50% of the ice has disappeared in Arctic in just 30 years. This development affects the climate in the rest of the world. He describes the current situation as a mosaic of ice instead of whole areas of ice that used to exist.
10.12 a.m. The royal couples arrive at the Polar Museum.
The programme will focus on resources and development in the northern areas, climate and environmental challenges, development of the Swedish-Norwegian education and research partnership, labour market issues and increasing interest in the region among Swedish businesses.
The most recent official visit of The King and Queen. to Norway took place in June 2005 to mark the 100th anniversary of the dissolution of the union in 1905. The Norwegian King and Queen made an official visit to Sweden in September 2005.