Published on 11 December 2017
London’s festive season kicked off in sustainable style with the lighting of the iconic Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree on 7th December. The traditional annual gift from Norway to the UK will be the 70th in the series of trees donated by Oslo to London.
Oslo has sent a tree to the London every year since 1947 as token of gratitude, celebration and commemoration of Britain’s support during WW2 when the Norwegian government and royal family lived in exile in London from 1940 to 1945 during Norway’s occupation. The annual gift of a Christmas tree has come to symbolise the deep and long-lasting friendship between Norway and the UK.
The 70-year old, 21m tall tree, which weighs about three tonnes came to London by road and sea. The ‘Queen of the Forest’ as she is affectionately known by the forestry workers who groom a number of spruce trees over a period of years, was selected from a shortlist of particularly fine trees in a process that commenced back in May this year.
On 21 November, children from the Oslo International School and Norwegian primary school Svendstuen gathered at Midtstuen, Oslo to sing Christmas carols as they witnessed the start of the journey of this year’s Trafalgar Square Christmas tree. The Norwegian spruce was cut down in Oslo by the Mayor of Oslo Marianne Borgen and the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Ian Adams. Everyone including British Embassy staff celebrated over a wood fire, hot drinks and Norwegian traditional sweet buns.
Being harvested from a PEFC-certified area ensures that the forest from which the tree has been taken is managed under strict controls and guidelines, to ensure that the forest and products leaving it are legal and sustainable. PEFC is a unique global certification system which works by endorsing national forest certification systems and with over 300 million hectares of certified forests across 30 countries, is the world’s largest forest certification system.
The Norwegian Christmas tree was lit with energy-efficient tree lights in Trafalgar Square on Thursday 7 December at 6pm. For many Londoners the Christmas tree and carol singing in Trafalgar Square signal the countdown to Christmas. The tree will remain in Trafalgar Square until just before the Twelfth Night of Christmas, when it is taken down and recycled, being chipped and composted for mulch.