H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon, Vestre and Tung outside the Norwegian Residence in San Francisco - Photo:Tom Hanssen/Innovation Norway
H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon, Vestre and Tung outside the Norwegian Residence in San Francisco. Tom Hanssen/Innovation Norway

H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon visited San Francisco & Seattle April 2024

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon visited San Francisco, California, and Seattle, Washington April 15-18th 2024. Accompanying him were Jan Christian Vestre, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Karianne Oldernes Tung, the Minister of Digitalization and Public Governance, as well as Kristina Sigurdsdottir Hansen, State Secretary of the Industry and Fisheries Department. California, Seattle, and Norway are all coast-line regions, and both countries shares high ambitions for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and climate change.

An important door opener for Norwegian business life and Norwegian industry
The Crown Prince’s visit was a significant door opener at 4-5 of the world’s largest technology companies, all headquartered in Greater Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area. It was valuable for Norwegian companies with a particular interest in the American market, and for the Norwegian Government to engage with these companies.

The visit included meetings with tech giants Google, NVIDIA, Amazon, and Microsoft, all of which are leaders in AI. At NVIDIA, the CEO, Jensen Huang, gave his insight to the Crown Prince and a 150 strong business delegation on how to use AI to transform industries and meet global challenges.

A business festival was held at Shack15 in San Francisco to foster networking and collaboration between Norwegian and American companies. The topics discussed were technology, AI, floating offshore wind, the green transition in the maritime sector, sustainable design, and sustainable seafood. In Seattle later in the week, a business seminar on green maritime industries took place at the National Nordic Museum.


Meeting with Jensen Huang, CEO NVIDIA Photo: Tom Hanssen/IN

The Crown Prince also visited his alma mater, UC Berkeley, where Professor Stuart Russell held a talk about how Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) can influence humanity. Afterwards, there was a panel discussion around AI, future work life, and the Norwegian model for tripartite cooperation in the workforce with Jan Chrisitan Vestre, LO leader Peggy Hansen Følsvik, and NHO leader Ole Erik Almlid.

imageng12.pngH.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon meets students at UC Berkeley
Photo: Tom Hanssen/Innovation Norway

California Governor Gavin Newsom took the Crown Prince along with him to see San Quentin Rehabilitation Center. The prison is chosen as the flagship of the California prison reform, which is inspired by the Norwegian model to have more humane conditions and a greater focus on rehabilitation, improving the health and safety of both correctional staff and inmates, and with an aim to reduce recidivism.

Strengthening cooperation on the green transition
Both Norway and California are committed to ensuring access to affordable, reliable clean energy and supporting the transition to net zero economy. A Joint Statement on collaboration in areas of common interest was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom and Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre. A Memorandum of Understanding between Norway and California was signed by Chair David Hochschild at California Energy Commission and Minister Vestre. The MOU establishes a framework for increased activities between Norway and California with an aim to combat climate change and support the green transition.
Norway is a world leader in electrifying ferries and ports, key enablers in the green transition. The Crown Prince participated in a seminar onboard one of the San Francisco ferries along with key California stakeholders. During the ferry ride, the delegation also saw famous landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.

After the ferry trip around the Bay, Crown Prince Haakon ended the day by attending a reception for Norwegian and American business relations at Shack15. At the reception, the Crown Prince discussed how Norway and California could work together to help meet California’s goals to have zero-emission ferries and offshore wind energy and what the Norwegian suppliers can offer. The Norwegian musician Matoma performed along with his Californian friend and musical partner Sadie Rose Van.

In Seattle later in the week, H.R.H. Crowne Prince Haakon and the Norwegian delegation met with Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee. At the meeting a joint statement was signed, focusing on strengthening the ties between Norway and Washington state and reaffirming the commitments to cooperation in climate action, the maritime industry, offshore wind, space technology, trade and investment.


Governor Gavin Newsom and H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon after signing ceremony at Larkspur, CA
Photo: Tom Hanssen/Innovation Norway