The fate of a controverial national memorial to the victims of the 2011 massacre on the Norwegian island of Utøya was thrown into more doubt this week. Not only is the entire project heading for court, local authorities have now blocked further consideration of the state’s applications for building permits.
Residents of the area where the memorial is to be built have been trying to halt the project or have the memorial moved out of their area. They contend it will force them to be reminded of the tragedy every single day and that it will bring constant traffic into their small community, which lies just across the fjord from the island where 69 people were killed and scores more injured.
Now the authorities in the local municipality claim the state’s building permit application was incomplete and does not conform to the zoning for its location. The authorities also cite the uncertainty against the local residents’ lawsuit to block the project, which will go to trial next spring.
The residents were surprised but relieved by the authorities indefinite postponement. It all means the memorial will not be built any time soon, if at all. The project also caught more attention this week when state broadcaster NRK revealed that an architecture student had raised concerns about the project, after she discovered that the memorial’s design by artist Jonas Dahlberg resembled a design she had submitted as well. Dahlberg has claimed he had never even seen her design before submitting the winning design chosen two years ago.