Oslo city politicians finally approved the long-awaited, hotly contested project to build a new Munch Museum, replacing the current museum in the city’s Tøyen district. The new museum that will rise next to the Opera House on Oslo’s eastern waterfront is budgeted to cost NOK 2.8 billion (USD 430 million).
It’s taken the politicians several years to agree on the investment in a new museum to house the vast collection of paintings and other works that the city inherited from Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Then it took more time to settle on where it would be located. A clear majority finally approved the so-called “Lambda” glass high-rise design that won the architectural competition for the museum, despite some surprise last-minute objections by several contemporary Norwegian artists.
Construction is due to start next year with the museum expected to be ready to receive Munch’s art from the Tøyen site in 2018. It’s scheduled to open to the public in 2019.
City government leader Stian Berger Røsland of the Conservative Party called the museum approval “historically important” for Oslo and Norwegian culture. The acting city politician in charge of cultural affairs, Anne Siri Koksrud Bekkelund from the Liberal Party predicted the new museum will attract more international attention and visitors.
“Munch’s art is much more important abroad than many in Oslo realize,” Bekkelund said, adding that the museum “will mean more tourists in Oslo both from within and outside the country.”