Next stop: Trafalgar Square

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The large Christmas Tree that will light up London’s Trafalgar Square was chopped down in a forest on the eastern side of Oslo on Friday. From there it began its journey across the North Sea, a gift from the people of Oslo to the British capital.

A Norwegian spruce was cut down and rolled out of an Oslo forest on Friday, bound for Trafalgar Square in London. PHOTO: Torgeir Stenstad

It’s the 65th year in a row that the City of Oslo has delivered a Christmas tree to London. The tradition began as a symbol of Norwegian gratitude for British help and support during World War II, when Norway was occupied by Nazi forces from 1940 to 1945.

Norway’s king and crown prince at the time went into exile in London and the first tree was delivered the year after the war ended. Since then, it’s become “a very nice tradition and an expression of friendship and appreciation,” said Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang.

The tree-cutting ceremony on Friday was attended by the Mayor of Westminster, Susie Burbridge, and the British ambassador to Norway, Jane Owen, along with local school children and other dignitaries.

The tree itself is a 55-year-old Norwegian Spruce that city parks and recreation crews spotted near Mariholtet in the forest known as Østmarka around 15 years ago.

“We saw that it had potential,” Trond Enkerud of city agency in charge of Oslo’s outdoor areas, Friluftsetaten, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). He and his crews had even cut down other trees around the London-bound spruce, so it wouldn’t be hemmed in by them in any way.

The tree reached a height of 22 meters before it was cut down for the trip to London. It will be decorated and lit at a ceremony at Trafalgar Square on December 1.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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