OSLO, Norway – The second round of the peace talks between the government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines took place at a hotel some 18 kilometers away from the main city of Oslo in Norway.
Before the second round, the peace talks was held at the Holmenkollen Park Hotel.
Asker has approximately 57,000 inhabitants and ranks second wealthiest municipality in Norway based on median household income, according to Go Norway website.
The Holmenfjord Hotel, located in Asker, a suburb outside Oslo was where both panels of the government and NDF spent discussing substantive agenda of the peace negotiations since Thursday, Oct. 6. It was also where they signed the joint statement Sunday afternoon, Oct. 9.
Using Asker or Oslo in reference to the venue of the talks “is very much the same” said hotel general manager Arve Giske in an interview with Davao Today.
The hotel was built in 1985 but during the 19th century it became a vacation hot spot for tourists in Oslo and has since then been “rebuilt a couple of times,” said Giske.
The 18,000-square meter Holmenfjord Hotell was originally a timber building which was listed for captain Peder Arnesen.
In 1914, one of Arnesen’s descendants, Paul Svendsen expanded the house to two floors. The house was upgraded into a boarding house called Gronlia Pensjonat og Badehotell in 1924 to 1925.
The hotel was renamed to Holmen Bad, and later to Holmen Sommerhotell by Agnes Hornemann in 1928. The present owner of the hotel is Norway billionaire and businessman, Trygve Hegnar, who took over in 1987.
Hegnar has owned a lot of ships and is a major shareholder of Hurtigruten, a Norwegian cruise, ferry and cargo operator.
The hotel now has, 170 rooms with 40 different conference rooms.
“It’s not too big for a convention like that, the people are close to each other so they can get a nice time to talk and spend time with the conventions, but far enough from Oslo,” Giske said.
Giske, who works for the hotel for the last 30 years, said it would be an honor for the hotel if something good will result from the peace talks.
“Of course it’s an honor. If it leads to something good it would be very big honor for us to host this and my Filipino workers have been very excited about working about this, so they really had a good time. They loved to work with this,” he said.
Giske said the hotel has 10 Filipino workers whom he described as “very nice people, always very kind and always smiling.” (davaotoday.com)