Friday, 4 February 2011

Scandinavian state visits to Central Europe

Earlier this week the Norwegian Royal Court announced that the King and Queen will pay a state visit to Slovenia and its President Danilo Türk on 9 and 10 May. The King and Queen will also make a state visit to Croatia and its President Ivo Josipović on 12 and 13 May.
Yesterday the Swedish Royal Court also announced that King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia will make a state visit to Poland between 4 and 6 May. They will be received by the new President, Bronislaw Komorowski.
Meanwhile the Queen and Prince Consort of Denmark are currently in Bahrain (3-6 February) as the guests of King Hamad, but this is an official visit and not a state visit.


  1. Why is the Danish visit to Bahrain classified as official rather than state? What would be done in conjunction with a state visit which is not being done on this one? Thanks!

  2. I do not know why they chose to make an official visit to Bahrain rather than a state visit, but the differences are several. The most visible difference is that an official visit does not contain the same sort of ceremonies as a state visit - here there was for instance an official welcoming ceremony worthy of a state visit, but there was no state banquet hosted by King Hamad. During state visits there is often a wreath laid at a national monument, tomb of unknown soldier or such and the visitor often calls upon the Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament. If this had been a state visit the heads of state would have exchanged their respective countries' highest orders; in this case King Hamad had to settle for the Grand Cross of the Order of Dannebrog rather than being made a Knight of the Elephant and Queen Margrethe received a lower Bahraini order in exchange. For a state visit the visitor is also mostly accompanied by the Foreign Minister or another representative of the government and a business delegation often comes in tow as part of the purpose of the state visit is to promote trade between the countries. Another difference is that the itinerary of this visit seems to have been more dictated by Queen Margrethe's private interests (primarily archaeology) than what would have been the case during a state visit. A state visit is made on the recommendation of the government, but I guess that here it might have been the case that Queen Margrethe would like to go to Bahrain for archaeological reasons, but that it might have been considered "impolite" for her to go there in a private capacity when she had never made a state visit there and that one therefore settled for an official visit hosted by King Hamad as some sort of middle solution.

  3. This is interesting. In United States protocol, an official visit refers only to the visit of a head of government who is not a head of state. Visits by heads of state fall into one of three classes: state, working or private.


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