The history of the Norwegian-Korean Friendship Association by Lucie Paus Falck (President)
In 1951 NORMASH, the Norwegian Mobile Surgical Hospitable, started its work in Korea during the Korean war, close to the border to North-Korea.
The hospital opened officially on the 19. July 1951. I find in my father’s diary that the first patient was admitted the day before. That was a 13 years old boy who was severely burnt one week before.
After 3 years the hospital closed down in the end of October 1954. By that time 9000 patients had been treated, and 623 young Norwegians had been at NORMASH.
Already during the war representatives from the three Scandinavian countries began the planning of a new hospital in Korea.
And in October 1958 National Medical Center officially opened in Seoul. At that time I was there as a young girl for one year as “dependent” to my father who was Head of the Orthopedic Department for two years. NMC was later given as a gift to South-Korea.
In the years after the war, there grew up several organizations in Norway. They all worked for good relationships between the two countries. The Norwegian Korean War Veterans Association was started and has been in active work up to the present time. For the Veterans it is terribly important that the new Friendship Association was established two years ago. The Veterans Association will sooner or later have to end its work, and I know that for all members of that organization it is a consolation to know that the close relations with South-Korea can continue through the Friendship Association.
The Association was formally launched on 25. September 2009 in the residence of the Korean Ambassador at that time, Byong-Koo Choi, where we are today as well. There were about 100 people present for the occasion, and the members counted about 300 names.
The Korean Ambassador and the Korean War Veterans Association had worked on this project for quite some time before this great event.
For the veterans, and for all the people who love Korea for various reasons, it is of great importance that the good relationship between the authorities of the Republic of Korea and the people of Norway continues also in the years when the Veterans’ Association no longer exists.
I quote article 3 in our statutes: The Association aims to promote friendship and goodwill between the people of the Kingdom of Norway and the Republic of Korea. And article 4: To achieve these objectives, the Association will endeavour to promote exchanges and cooperation between Norway and Korea in cultural, social and economic fields.