Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is to formally open the new Scalloway Museum on Thursday 17th May, which is Norwegian National Day.
The special ceremony will also mark 70 years since the wartime resistance movement known as The Shetland Bus was established and the following decades of close ties between Shetland and Norway.
Mr Stoltenberg will take part in a local celebration in which school children, descendants of North Sea escape route veterans, and visiting Norwegians will take part.
The veteran Norwegian Royal Navy vessel and submarine chaser Hitra, which participated in the Shetland Bus, the coastguard vessel Bergen, and several veteran ships from Norway will also be docked in Scalloway for the opening of the museum.
Mr Stoltenberg will visit Scalloway School, where pupils will show him a school display on the ties between Norway and Shetland. Plans are also under way for a parade and party on the Scalloway waterfront to mark the occasion.
Shetland Islands Council convener Sandy Cluness said he was delighted that the Prime Minister had accepted the invitation to open the £1 million building.
Mr Cluness said: “Scalloway’s – and Shetland’s – historic links with Norway can only be strengthened by the visit, and I’m particularly pleased that Mr Stoltenberg has chosen to help celebrate his country’s National Day with us here in Shetland.”
Shetland Bus Friendship Society secretary John Nicolson, the former SIC vice-convener, said: “Scalloway played a critical role during the Second World War in supporting the Norwegian underground organisation known as the Shetland Bus. The society’s members are therefore delighted that the Prime Minister of Norway has managed to find some time in his schedule on 17th May to visit Scalloway.”
Mr Stoltenberg will also visit the Walter & Joan Gray Eventide Home, and will pay his respects to those who served in the independent Norwegian naval unit at the Shetland Bus memorial.