MUSEUM GUIDE: Norway’s capital is packed with museums, and they’re often popping up in the news. We’re following that news, and focus every week this spring on a specific museum worthy of a visit.
THIS WEEK: Queen Sonja herself opened a new exhibit on the Royal Palace at the state architecture museum.
The exhibit took years to put together, and the queen was actively involved, reports newspaper Aftenposten. “I’m so glad and grateful that this exhibit came together,” she told Aftenposten on Thursday, noting how construction of Oslo’s Royal Palace had a major impact on the city’s urban planning.
Its architect was Hans Ditlev Frantz Linstow, and it took him nearly 24 years to get the palace built. The project started in 1825, 11 years after Norway broke away from Denmark in 1814 and Oslo (then called Christiania) once again became a capital.
The exhibit is called “Slottet and Linstow,” and it features 107 of Linstow’s original drawings for the palace, initially built for the Swedish King Carl Johan, since Norway was in a union with the Sweden at the time. “There’re really gorgeous and it’s fantastic that so many of them have been preserved,” Queen Sonja said.
The queen, who lives in Linstow’s building and played a key role in its expensive restoration in the 1990s, claims that Linstow’s plans not just for the palace but for a large area around it were critical to the city’s development. At the time, the hilltop where the palace was built (called Bellevue høyden) was quite a ways away from Christiania’s downtown. Linstow’s designs for the palace gardens, the palace’s placement and streets leading up to it influenced development of the entire area.
Queen Sonja pointed out that not many people realize that Linstow initially planned for the palace gardens to extend all the way down to the fjord at Frognerkilen. The boulevard leading up to the palace, today’s Karl Johans Gate (spelled with the more Norwegian “K” than the Swedish “C”), was orginally supposed to be called Slottsveien (literally, “the way to the palace.”)
In addition to his drawings, the national architecture museum has on display a cardboard model of the palace made by Linstow in 1825 so that King Carl Johan could set the buildings together himself.
The architecture museum is part of Norway’s National Museum, formed by a merger of the National Gallery, the Applied Arts Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum and the Architecture Museum in 2003. It’s located at Bankplassen 3 in the city’s historic district of Kvadraturen, behind the Akershus Fortress.
The exhibit will run until October 10. There’s also a cafe at the museum, with outdoor seating when the weather is nice, open during museum hours.
The Royal Palace itself will be open to the public for annual guided tours from June 20 through August 14. Tours are offered in English at selected times during the day and tickets cost NOK 95, NOK 85 for children, retirees and students. See the palace’s web site for details. (external link)
The National Museum – Architecture
www.nationalmuseum.no (external link)
Open: Tues, Weds, Fri from 11am to 5pm; Thurs from 11am to 7pm, Sat and Sun noon to 5pm. Closed Mondays.
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