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Queen Sonja and King Harald V of Norway, President Sauli Niinistö and Mrs Jenni Haukio are waving from the balcony of the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland on Tuesday September 9 2016. Picture: Matti Porre/Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway are making a state visit to Finland from 5 to 8 September 2016, at the invitation of President Sauli Niinistö and Mrs Jenni Haukio. The program for the visit will focus on the economy, health and education in particular. The royal couple will visit Oulu in addition to Helsinki.

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Picture: Juhani Kandell/Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

The state visit began with reception ceremonies in front of the Presidential Palace on Tuesday morning. Members of the general public observed the ceremonies from the Market Square while the military band tuned into the national anthems.

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Picture: Juhani Kandell/Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

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Picture: Matti Porre/Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

Matti Porre/Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

Picture: Matti Porre/Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

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Picture: Matti Porre/Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

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Picture: Juhani Kandell/Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

After the ceremonies, King Harald V and President Niinistö receded to the privacy of the palace for official talks.  Later the king and queen also visited the Finnish Parliament in the company of Speaker of the Finnish Parliament Maria Lohela. The royal couple also met with Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, and the king laid a wreath at the Hietaniemi Cemetery. The king, queen, president and his spouse enjoyed a royal lunch at the City Hall and at the end of the day, President Niinistö and Mrs Haukio hosted a celebratory dinner at the Presidential Palace.

On Wednesday, the presidential couple and the royal couple will participate in an economic seminar held at Wanha Satama, which will focus on subjects such as the game industry, and digital information systems and services in health care. The afternoon will include a visit to the medical research and education center Biomedicum, as well as roundtable business discussions. A concert and a reception at the Kalastajatorppa Hotel are on the Norwegian royal couple’s evening program.

The program for the state visit will continue in Oulu on Thursday. Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn and his spouse, as well as senior members of the city administration, will play host to the royal couple during their visit to Oulu. During the day, King Harald and Queen Sonja will visit the University of Oulu, Nokia’s Rusko factory and Oulu University Hospital. The royal pair and their delegation will have lunch, as guests of the City of Oulu, at Oulu City Hall.

The delegation for the state visits will include several Norwegian ministers; Foreign Minister Børge Brende, Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland, Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie and Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide, as well as a large business delegation.

President Niinistö and his spouse made a state visit to Norway in October 2012.