8 May 2018 saw the first Nordic Day celebrations ever held in Malaysia, as the five Nordic missions in Kuala Lumpur gathered friends and colleagues to celebrate years of ever-closer cooperation within what is perhaps the most integrated region in the world. Over 450 invited guests were present to mark the occasion, which took place in the Renaissance Hotel on the evening before Malaysia’s highly anticipated General Election.
Behind this initiative were the ambassadors of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and the Honorary Consul of Iceland, dedicated to promoting the nations’ shared values, friendship and mutual respect, and emphasizing the nations’ commitment to future trade and cooperation both with each other and with Malaysia. A joint celebration of the respective Nordic national days, Nordic Day also served to highlight the region’s close ties and many similarities. All five countries are part of the European internal market and members of the Schengen cooperation. Perhaps more interesting, all five are also amongst the top 10 happiest and most democratic countries in the world.
Following the toast by Datuk Ramlam Ibrahim, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norwegian Ambassador Gunn Jorid Roset led the opening remarks on behalf of the Nordic representatives. Ambassador Roset spoke of the Nordic region’s friendship and shared history, rooted in trade and travel even before the Viking ages two millennia ago, and how this legacy has resulted in the combined region today forming the 11th largest economy in the world. The Nordics share Malaysia’s commitment to an open global economy and fair playing grounds for international trade, with trade between the five Nordic nations and Malaysia averaging approximately 2 billion USD per annum – a figure far exceeded by the scale of the entire Nordic bilateral engagement in Malaysia, which includes countless investments across sectors.
The evening’s unique musical performance also demonstrated the region’s shared and cultural and linguistic history, as the Malaysian choir performed the first verses of each of the five national anthems, in their original languages and melodies. Though the phonetics and grammar differ in varying degrees, history has rendered Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Swedish to an extent mutually intelligible, with Swedish also being a recognized official language in Finland. Complimenting this, continuous videos exhibited across the room displayed some of the striking nature and culture that the Nordic region is intrinsically associated with. A further reference to the shared, iconic history of the Nordics was a classic Viking ship, carved entirely from ice and strategically placed alongside the tempting cake display in the centre of the ballroom.
On behalf of the Nordic missions in Malaysia, special thanks were given to the businesses that supported the very first Nordic Day in Kuala Lumpur and joined us in making it so memorable and successful. The missions thanked their main partners Saab, Bae Systems Bofors and Peter Justesen, and our partners Novo Nordisk, Ørsted Services, Wärtsila, Aker Solutions, Volvo Malaysia, Monitor ERP System, DNV GL, Archer Well, Jordan, Danfoss Industries, Haldor Topsoe, University of Helsinki, Absolut, Carlsberg, Laplandia, and Finnair for all your contributions.
The Nordic missions look forward to building on this successful experience with future collaborations.
Source: Royal Norwegian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur