Oslo’s Gift to London: World’s Most Famous Christmas Tree!

2023 marks the 76th year that the people of Oslo have donated a (PEFC-certified) Norwegian Spruce tree to the City of London as thanks for their support during the Second World War

Fri 22 Dec 23


The world’s most famous Christmas Tree, located in the heart of Trafalgar Square London, is shining bright with love, care and gratitude, courtesy of the residents from Oslo, Norway.

For more than 75 years, Norway has sent a tree to the United Kingdom to thank Britain for its support during the Second World War.

Last year, the Wood Central Publisher visited the tree, with its plaque reading, “The 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 – 1945, a tree has been given annually since 1947.”

image 50733569 fotor 20231222105238
In December 2022, the Wood Central Publisher visited “the world’s most famous Christmas Tree” in Trafalgar Square, London. (Photo Credit: Wood Central)

Norway has a special bond with London dating back to April 1940 after the Nazi invasion and occupation forced the Norwegian king and government to form a government-in-exile in London. 

At the same time, the British military was instrumental in training and organising commandos to attack Nazi installations within Norway.

It spurred several Norway cities to donate “impressive spruce examples” to cities right across the United Kingdom, including Newcastle upon Tyne, which for 70 years has received a tree from the people of Bergen and has come “to symbolise the deep and long-lasting friendship between Norway and the United Kingdom.”

131814190 screenshot2023 11 24163327.png fotor 20231222104640
The tree grew for 70 years in the forests north of Oslo in Norway. (Photo Credit: Mayor of Oslo)

This year’s London tree, which towers over Trafalgar Square and is PEFC-certified (of course), is a 70-year-old Norwegian spruce, dubbed the “queen of the forest” from woodlands around Oslo.

According to the BBC, fell during a ceremony in November attended by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Patricia McAllister, who described the spruce as “spectacular”.

Every year, the tree is brought to the United Kingdom by sea and then completes its journey by truck. A hydraulic crane and specialists are needed to erect and decorate the tree.

131920800 cranetree.jpg fotor 20231222105630
A hydraulic crane and specialists are needed to stand the tree up. (Photo Credit: BBC News)

The tree is then “dressed” in traditional “vertical” Norwegian lights, with the lights displayed from December 7 until just after New Year’s Day.

The tree was selected months before it fell, with PEFC – the world’s largest forest certification scheme- proudly displayed on the trees’ plaque, confirming that the tree was “sustainably managed” in the 70 years leading up to its felling.

Over 9 million hectares of Norway’s forests are certified by PEFC, making up almost 90% of the country’s forests – which means “practically all production forests are PEFC certified,” according to PEFC International.

131896634 tree.jpg
The tree has been sent as a gift from Norway to Britain since the end of World War Two. (Photo Credit: UK DFDS).

Lord Mayor McAllister said the tree felling was “astonishing, spectacular, emotional, especially when the tree was hoisted [from where it’s been for] the last 70 years.” Before confirming to the BBC, this year’s version “is a spectacular tree.” 

“It is stunning,” she said, which is distinct from some of the past trees which divided opinion online, with suggestions they were “sparse” or “anaemic.”

However, the Norwegian foresters described this year as chosen as “the queen of the forest”, putting to rest any concerns over the tee’s aesthetics!

image 43
The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Patricia McAllister (left), helped with the felling. (Photo Credit: The Lord Mayor of West Minster)

To coincide with the tree-lighting ceremony, the Poetry Society has commissioned a poem as part of an annual tradition. This year’s poem, read earlier this month, is called “T for Tree” by Isabel Galleymore and was written for children.

The spruce will remain in Trafalgar Square until January 5, when it will be chipped and composted, before planning for next year’s tree, which will begin in August.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


Related Articles