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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Oslo officials approved sculpture park

Oslo city officials finally gave real estate developer Christian Ringnes their approval for his plans to create a large sculpture park in the hilly forest at Ekeberg, just behind the popular Ekeberg Restaurant he rehabilitated several years ago.

The approval came despite widespread protests from some local residents and environmental activists. Several were in the chambers at City Hall last week when the matter was discussed, and Mayor Fabian Stang felt compelled to call police to stop their booing and disruption from the gallery.

Others supported the project, believing it will enhance the area and be a new tourist attraction. They claimed that Oslo’s famed Vigeland Park in Frogner also attracted lots of protests when it was conceived in the early 1900s.

Ringnes’ new park will feature 80 sculptures of female figures spread over an area encompassing 255 mål (about 60 acres). Politicians on both ends of the political spectrum supported the project, with the right-wing Progress Party saying it would be a cultural and natural “pearl” for Oslo and the Socialist Left party (SV) saying it would neither damage, commercialize or pave over the forest that’s long been a popular area for walking. The Labour Party called the sculpture and cultural party a “future-oriented gift” to the city. Ringnes has acquired the statues and is financing the park’s creation, while a new foundation he’s setting up will be mostly responsible for its maintenance.

No action was taken on another Ringnes proposal to build a gondola from the waterfront at Bjørvika up to Ekeberg.

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