Located on Oslo’s western waterfront, the $723m museum will be the biggest in the Nordic region when it opens on 11 June. When Norway’s $723 million mega museum open after eight-year wait, you can experience older and modern art, contemporary art, architecture and design all under one roof and in completely new ways.
The museum, which has been in the works for seven years, brings the collections of three of Norway’s most important art institutions—the former Kunstindustrimuseet, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Gallery – under one roof. Among its gems are an impressive selection of work by Edward Munch, including The Scream. The former Kunstindustrimuseet closed in 2016; the Museum of Contemporary Art closed in 2017; and the former National Gallery closed in 2019.
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From its “grey box-like” appearance and eye-popping price tag to protracted construction delays, Norway’s new National Museum has kept the critics busy.
In spite of appealing praises on the museum’s website like “the new museum will be a place for new ideas, inspiration and compelling cultural experiences. We will make art accessible to everyone and reflect the society and the times we live in,” critics claim that ‘German-Italian architect Klaus Schuwerk has spent a fortune and eight years building what has been panned by some as a slate-covered grey box’.
However, in the new museum you will find arts and crafts and design from antiquity to the present day. Here, you can familiarize yourself with everything from the unique Baldishol tapestry and Chinese imperial porcelain to fashion through the ages and the unique Norwegian glass cups of the 18th century – not to mention the latest in contemporary design and arts and crafts.
Across 13,000 sq meters of exhibition space there will be 5,000 works on show at the site off Oslo’s Rådhusplassen, making it bigger than Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum or the Guggenheim in Bilbao. Older and modern art, architecture, design, arts and crafts, and contemporary art will be presented under one roof and in new settings.
Ahead of its official opening, the museum—eager to commune with the public after years of delays – has opened its doors early to allow visitors to venture inside while the art is being installed. “We are inviting visitors to join us and have a look inside while the art is being mounted and the museum is taking shape,” the museum’s director Karin Hindsbo said in a statement. “That we have not met the audience’s expectations in recent years, I’m sorry,” she wrote in 2020.
With its new, large exhibition areas, the National Museum can now showcase more of its collection than ever before, as well as presenting a rich program of temporary exhibitions with Norwegian and international artists.
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The vast new building has two stories and 90 galleries, cafés, a shop, and the largest art library in the Nordic region. But its architectural hallmark is a spectacular new illuminated exhibition space on the roof called the Light Hall. The 2,400-square-meter space will be reserved for temporary exhibitions, the first of which will be a survey of Norwegian contemporary art. The museum also boasts an open-air roof terrace from where you can enjoy stunning views of Rådhusplassen (city hall square), Aker Brygge and the fjord.
The museum plaza in front of the main entrance will be a vibrant urban space and meeting arena with an outdoor restaurant, seating and events.
The second floor is dominated by the visual arts, from Dutch and Flemish landscape paintings to still life paintings from the 17th century and Johan Christian Dahl’s 19th-century landscape masterpieces.
Built by Norway’s government building commissioner Statsbygg, the museum has also prioritized sustainability, designed to emit 50 percent less greenhouse gasses than current building standards.
Norway’s $723 Million Mega Museum To Open After Eight-Year Wait, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): Photo Wikipedia