Public interest is so high in the new July 22 information center at Norway’s bombed-out government complex in downtown Oslo that officials are warning of long waiting times to get in. Some people are standing in line for over an hour to see the exhibits.
The 22 July Center opened last week on the fourth anniversary of a right-wing extremist’s attacks on the Norwegian government and the Labour Party. Nearly 6,000 people have already streamed through the sombre center that’s been widely described as “painful but important.”
Feedback from the public has been “almost entirely positive,” the leader of the center, Anne Lene Andersen, told state broadcaster NRK. Other officials are also overwhelmed by the response, with people willing to stand in line to see such things as a timeline of events on July 22, 2011, the mobile phones left scattered around the island of Utøya after a massacre there and the remains of the vehicle that carried the bomb that destroyed several government ministry buildings.
“There’s been a need for people to have a place to go,” said Eva Måge Brown, division director a the ministries’ security and service organization. She said around 1,300 people have visited the center daily, standing in long lines even in the rain.
Elin Englund was among those visiting the center this week, along with three generations of her family. “We must not forget what happened,” she said. Another visitor, Elisabeth Røed, added that she wanted “to remember those who lost their lives. We must learn for the future. This was an event that affected the entire nation.”