Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg yesterday announced that the King has agreed to hold a State Council in Bergen on 16 September. This will be the first time in decades that a State Council is held outside Oslo.
The State Council in Bergen will take place in Håkon’s Hall, the banqueting hall of the medieval royal residence, built during the reign of King Håkon Håkonsson and first known to have been used for the wedding of his son Magnus to Ingeborg of Denmark on 11 September 1261. The building’s 750th anniversary will be marked by a banquet the night before the State Council.
Among the issues dealt with in the State Council, which takes place at the Royal Palace at 11 a.m. every Friday, are Acts of Parliament which receive the King’s assent. The King also gives his consent to the government’s propositions to Parliament and makes certain appointments.
It will be the first time a State Council is held in Bergen since 1906, when King Haakon VII did so during his coronation tour. During the 1940 campaign King Haakon also held State Councils in several other Norwegian towns and then from 1940 to 1945 in London.
During the union of crowns with Sweden State Councils were generally held in Christiania (now Oslo) or Stockholm, but occasionally also elsewhere depending on where the King was - sometimes it was even held outdoors. In 1861, for instance, King Carl XV called in at Kristiansand to hold State Council on Norwegian ground when he was sailing from Gothenburg to France.
Bergen, which is believed to have been founded in the 11th century, was the capital of Norway until 1299 and remained its largest city until being bypassed by Christiania in the years following the regaining of independence in 1814.