Oslo

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'Symbolic' Christmas tree felled destined for London

Tree in Oslo being cut
PA

Trafalgar Square is set to receive a "Disney-like" Christmas tree from Norway after a 71-year-old annual tree-felling ceremony.

The now traditional tree is a symbol of gratitude from the Norwegian capital Oslo for Britain's assistance during the Second World War.

Standing at 21 metres high, the Mayor of Oslo described this year's gift as "very symbolic" as it started growing just around the time the war began.

The ceremony in the forest of Normarka, just outside Oslo, was attended by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Lindsey Hall, who said both countries had their own idiosyncrasies, which the UK is "trying to square off with Brexit".

This morning, the Norwegian Spruce was cut by both mayors in front of an audience of carol-singing schoolchildren.

Mayor of Oslo Marianne Borgen said: "This is an ordinary tree from an ordinary wood near to Oslo - so this is not a Disney tree even if it looks like a Disney tree.

"It smells beautiful and we think it's 80 years old so it started to grow during the Second World War - which is very symbolic.

"Our forester is very, very competent and they chose this tree around 20 years ago."

The tree is set to be transported to London and its lights will be turned on at a ceremony on 6 December.

Lord Major of Westminster Councillor Lindsey Hall (left) and Mayor of Oslo Marianne Borgen begin to fell a Norwegian Spruce during a tree felling ceremony, in Oslo, Norway.
PA
Lord Major of Westminster Councillor Lindsey Hall (left) and Mayor of Oslo Marianne Borgen begin to fell a Norwegian Spruce during a tree felling ceremony, in Oslo, Norway.

Oslo with Susanne Sundfør

Singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør on Oslo, a city of solitude and solace.
Susanne Sundfør on Oslo, a city she’s returned to for solitude and solace.

“Oslo to me is like a big city in a small town… it’s why I love it… when I’m on tour and I think about it, I really miss it and the beautiful golden light of the winter,” says Susanne,, who moved to the capital to make a career as a singer songwriter.

Four number one albums later and she is one of Norway’s most prolific musicians, with a growing international reputation. Oslo has become the place she retreats to after touring and travelling, but her profile means she has to negotiate the city carefully if she wants to maintain her privacy.

In Living for the City, musicians take the listener on a personal tour of a city they love - exploring how buildings and street corners, train lines and park views hold stories of heartache and inspiration as they project their inner worlds onto the canvas of the city. 
 
Oslo for Susanne is a city that echoes and resonates with the voices and legacy of past Norwegian artists and creatives. She takes us to the mausoleum built by Norwegian artist Emanuel Vigeland. The dark, vast space is a place she’s recorded in before. She returns to it as a place that allows her to talk about how the cold winter can be a quietly inspirational force for her.

She left Oslo for London after a breakdown a few years ago, but she’s recently returned to live there and now has a studio right in the centre of the city. 

“I’ve been back for about nine months and think I’ve been through some kind of transformation. London allowed me to get a different perspective on Oslo…I came back here to see friends and one of them said to me, ‘You have to take Oslo back’ and I understand what he says now…but I’m still working on that….it’s like we found each other again.”

(Photo credit: Raphael Chatelain)
Produced by Rachel Hooper
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4