Tycoon wants to take over Oslo tower

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Tryvanns Tower still literally towers over Oslo, but it’s been closed and abandoned for the past two years. Now local real estate tycoon Christian Ringnes wants to buy it from the city, and has big plans for a major renovation.

Tryvannstårnet literally towers over Oslo from its perch in the hills above Oslo, not far from Holmenkollen and Frognerseteren. PHOTO: Wikipedia/Thomas Berglund

“Tryvanns Tower is one of my childhood icons,” Ringnes told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “I want to give it back to the city.”

It was built in 1962, part of a wave of similar towers erected elsewhere in Europe. It sent broadcasting signals to radios and televisions all over Norway, but also functioned as an observation tower from its scenic location in the hills above Oslo, not far from the Holmenkollen Ski Jump.

It became a major tourist attraction, with an elevator taking visitors up to an observation deck with views over the city, the fjord surrounding forests, and at least half-way to Sweden. It also offered a gift shop and kiosk.

New fire-fighting regulations forced its closure in 2004, when the city decided it would cost too much to bring it up to modern standards. In 2017, when Norway shut down its FM radio, the tower lost its last operating use, and has been sitting dark and rather forlorn ever since. There have also been reports it may be torn down.

Ringnes, a civic-minded entrepreneur who earlier has restored the Ekeberg Restaurant on the other side of town and developed a sculpture park around it, has big plans for Tryvannstårnet, as it’s officially called. He told NRK he wants to open a new café and restaurant at the top of the tower, along with some surprises.

“The tower should be opened to the public again,” Ringnes said, adding that he’d likely cooperate with the adjacent Tryvann Winterpark ski center.

City officials, meanwhile, are trying to decide what to do with the tower that’s still leased out to Telenor, the state-controlled telecoms firm that operated its communications equipment. Lan Marie Berg, the top city politician in charge of the environment and transport, said she wants to see the tower put to use again.

“It’s one of the most well-known landmarks in Oslo,” Berg, who represents the Greens Party, told NRK. “We need to get back to what and how it should be used.”

The Conservative Party intends to propose selling the tower on the open market. “We want Tryvanns Tower to once again be open for Oslo residents and visitors, with a restaurant and an observation platform,” Eirik Lae Solberg of the Conservatives told NRK. That’s what Ringnes needs, even while expanding his sculpture park at Ekeberg and planning to construct a gondola up to it.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund