Tweeting his excitement earlier this morning, the Lord Mayor Hamza Taouzzale oversaw the Norwegian spruce being erected in Trafalgar Square for the 75th time, stating that the tree is a “fantastic gift each year from the people of Norway to the UK for our aid and assistance during the Second World War.”
A tradition to mark Norway’s gratitude for British support to Norway during the Second World War, the first Norwegian spruce gifted to London was cut down by Mons Urangsvåg in 1942 during a raid on the Norwegian island called Hisøy.
King Haakon VII, who was exiled in the United Kingdom during World War II, then gifted the Norwegian spruce to show his gratitude to the country.
Since then, every year Norway ensures that they find the best spruce to cut down during the month of November ready to ship to England and become the focal point of an already busy Trafalgar Square.
The backdrop to festivities near the National Gallery for carol singers to spread joy in front of, its permanent fixture in London is commemorated with a plaque reading: “This tree is given by the city of Oslo as a token of Norwegian gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during the years 1940-45.
“A tree has been given annually since 1947.”
For the environmentally conscious who wonder what happens to the 68 foot tall tree when it’s taken down on the 12th night of Christmas, the entire spruce is recycled through a wood chipper and a composting process to create mulch and to help offset the carbon footprint made through the cutting down and transportation of the Christmas tree.
The Lord Mayor added: “The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree is here.
“As always a beautiful, natural Norwegian Spruce direct from from the lovely people of Norway… accept no imitations!
“After a 1,000 mile journey it is just settling in.”
He added: “Thanks to our friends in Oslo for this wonderful gift and to all the many people who brought it here safely.”
The tree will be lit in a ceremony at 5pm on Thursday, December 1.
For more information about Christmas at Trafalgar Square, visit the London.gov website.