Oslo, Norway: Part 2

Flying back from our arctic adventure in Alta, on our way to Kraków, we managed to steal another day in Oslo to complete the attractions that were unable see in a our previous stopover; The Nobel Peace Prize centre & the National Art Gallery.

Nobel Peace Prize Centre

The Nobel peace prize is unique to Oslo. Formed at the request of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor and and owner of the early dynamite industry (where he made his fortune), Nobel meticulously outlined his vision for a yearly set of prizes in the fields of Chemistry, Physics Psychology/Medicine and Peace. Of the 5 categories, Nobel designated 4 to Sweden and the one (peace) to Norway. Oslo elects the panel, fields the nominations and award’s it winners in its town hall. Many famous (and humble) people/organisations have been awarded the prestigious title, finding their place amongst laureates who’ve made the greatest contribution to mankind.

Now I must say, after recent controversies, such as awarding the peace prize to Obama before he’d done anything and the recent nomination of Donald Trump I have to admit that I’d become a bit weary of the peace prize. However, as I made my way through the exhibits of the Nobel Peace Centre I realised how wrong I was. I was very moved to see the caliber of the candidates and their stories. I was also very pleased to see that many of the candidate were not just picked on their popularity, most of the candidates were new to me, I took great pleasure reading the achievements of individuals quietly improving the world away from the public eye.

In terms of the exhibitions on display, there are usually four main sections; the first is a changing exhibition on the ground floor that takes up the largest space. On the day we visited the exhibition showcased the work of Herlinde Koelbl a photographer who visits military bases around the world researching the process of learning who are “enemies” are, learning how to kill, and showcasing what an “enemy” looks like to different parts of the world; ultimately highlighting the ludicrous nature of such ideas. This was an eye opening exhibit for me, highlighting some really important concepts.

The second exhibit showcases the achievements of Te individual/group who received the award the previous year (In this case the Tunisian Method).

The next room showcases the entire history of peace prize laureates. This is very tastefully done, through a he use of intuitive technology, lighting and music it manages to impress yes direct attention towards the winners and enhance moment.

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The final exhibition chronicles the life of Alfred Nobel laureate Brough the use of a giant book and smart projection. This was pretty cool and fairly informative but a little limiting as only 3-4 people can use the book at once which takes quite a while to go through, creating a bit of a queue.

Overall, I highly recommend a visit, it’s encouraging and inspiring and unique to Oslo (there are museums wherever you go but no Nobel peace prize centre!) Costs €10.5pp.

National Gallery

After our disappointment with the Munchmuseet we were determined not to leave Oslo without seeing a painting for the infamous ‘the scream’ series. So off to the National Gallery of Norway we went. It was actually terrific and honestly much better value than the Munchmuseet, housing a better selection of Munch’s ‘greatest paintings’

as well an impressive collection of works from Norway

and around the world (including a couple of Picasso’s famous works.

I was also very impressed by how the gallery explained the progressive periods of art throughout history and their room that encourages you to pick up pencil and paper; trying your hand illustrating a sculpture at hand then displaying it for others to see. Very cool. If you have the time, definitely add this to your itinerary! Costs €10.50pp

Oslo, Norway: Part 1

We managed to steal a day in Oslo on our way up to Alta to visit a couple of leading attractions in the city. Arriving in Oslo was a mixed feeling for me because 1) I’ve always wanted to visit Norway (part of my family lineage is from Norway) but 2) It was a  cold winter’s day 3) we’d just spent a night slumming it in Oslo International Airport (Norway is a little spency so you gotta be thrifty). So despite my enthusiasm, conditions were not their prime.

But despite the conditions, Oslo delivered! Although looking a little drab from the pictures I soon discovered that Oslo seems to put more effort into the the interior of its buildings than the exterior; which would make sense I guess seeing as though winters here are cold and long. Each building we walked through oozed quality from inside out.

Having all day public transport passes also made getting around a breeze. During the day we managed to visit 3 attractions; The Viking Ship Museum, The Munchmuseet and the Vigeland Sculpture Park. I expand on these attractions below:

The Viking Ship Museum

This museum was actually exceptional. The ships and artefacts that they have on display far exceeded my expectations. Beautifully preserved ships with fine detailing, carts and sleds preserved in the blue clay of burial sites and objects of everyday life that cut straight through time displaying their ingenuity. An easy bus ride ride from the city centre on bus number 30 and costing around €8 per adult (which also grants you access to the Historical Museum in town – containing the only Viking Helmet ever found -> no horns sorry)

Munchmuseet

Edvard Munch is Norway’s most famous artist, best known for his series of paintings called ‘The Scream’. Friends with Monet and Van Gogh, Munch’s expressionism shares the stage with some heavyweights. With the Munchmuseet holding a copy of The Scream, we were happy to spend the €10 per person to enter. Sadly were a little disappointed to realise upon exit that while yes, they do have a copy of the painting, it wasn’t on display at that time.

Instead they had an exhibition comparing the works of Munch to a photographer called Robert Mapplethorpe, whose highly erotic work had more pieces on display than Munch. Don’t get me wrong, Mapplethorpe obviously had talent and the pieces by Munch on display were magnificent but overall made for an unwelcome surprise when you’d been expecting something else. It just goes to highlight the importance of calling ahead to assure what you’re looking for is actually on display.

Vigeland Sculpture Park

Vigeland Sculture Park holds the highest record of being the world’s largest sculpture park consisting of just one artist. Its free to enter and open year-round, Vigeland Sculture park has over 200 sculptural pieces on display, depicting several nude characters moving through the cycles of life and emotion. Many pieces are stirring and thought provoking, including the large monolith in the centre of the park, a tangle of bodies expertly carved out of one large piece of stone.