Since 1947 Oslo have given London a Christmas tree as a token of their gratitude for the British support during WWII, protecting their country and King from the German invasion. This gesture is a continuous symbol of the lasting friendship between the 2 nations, and the sacrifices made will forever be remembered.
As well as it now being an annual tradition, it is also a reminder that we were there for each other in the hour of need. We still remain close nations with the tree symbolising both our past history and values, and hope, peace and solidarity for the future
This is not any Christmas tree …
Queen of the Forest 2023 was planted 70 years ago in Oslo, within their 16,000 hectacres of forest covered with Spruce, Pine and Birch trees – the size of 20,000 football pitches, this is the chosen tree.
Considerations for choice of tree:
- Has to be symmetrical, with an iconic shape, fresh branches.
- The weight of the tree has to be considered – up to 40 tonnes, to ensure the right pressure on the crane to prevent it falling over.
- When the tree is approximately 30 years old, the exposure to sunlight starts to be managed, 30 years later, at the age of 60, soil quality is managed, nutrition is added to the soil to make needles green and fresh.
The Tree Felling Ceremony
The ceremony on 24th November in Oslo, an event in itself, attended by local school children and communities began with words from both the Lord Mayor of Oslo Anne Lindboe, and our very own Lord Mayor of Westminster, Patricia McAllister who said of the event
“astonishing, spectacular, emotional, especially when the tree was hoisted from its resting place for the last 70 years. It is a spectacular tree, it is stunning”.
Then they have to cut it down
With a little bit of extra help
Job very well done…
- Lifted vertically and placed horizontally onto the truck, where the branches are fastened to the stem, and of course the truck, transported to Brevik Freight Terminal.
- Transported from Oslo to Brevik to Immingham, a 50 hour journey – she arrived at 22:32 on 30th November, where she will rest for a couple of days.
- DFDS have been transporting her for the past 25 years, and this has become quite an event for them, engaging schools and communities to watch and understand why it has become a tradition.
- Transported to Trafalgar Square where it takes 2 days to install and is one of the traditions that marks the start of the festive season.
Arrival at Trafalgar Square
The Big Switch On – Doing what London does best
Very Happy Christmas from all at City of Westminster Guides Lecturers Association/
thanks for Lizzie Grumbach from the Lord Mayors Office for help with photos and the post