Ex-PMs in doubt over high-rise’s fate

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Two former Norwegian prime ministers who also once worked in the government’s high-rise headquarters say they’re in doubt over whether the building should be torn down. Both call it a “good workplace” but concede that many considerations are at stake after it was badly damaged in last summer’s terrorist attacks.

The government high-rise that housed the Office of the Prime Minister and the Justice Ministry, just after the attack. PHOTO: Views and News

Kåre Willoch of the Conservative Party (Høyre), who served as prime minister from 1981-1986, told newspaper Aftenposten that he thinks the high-rise that has served as the heart of Norway’s government complex for the past 50 years has become an important part of the city’s landscape. Kjell Magne Bondevik, prime minister in two separate periods over nearly eight years, also worked from the offices at the top of the building.

“I will gladly see it be rebuilt,” Bondevik told Aftenposten. A decision on the building’s fate, however, can’t be based on “nostalgic feelings,” he said. “This is about security, the condition of the building and the feelings of those working there now.”

Some have argued that tearing down the building would gratify the terrorist who bombed it, but Bondevik doesn’t think that should play a major role. The decision on the building’s future is expected after technical evaluations are completed in December.

Views and News staff