Queen Sonja of Norway has made the Palace Park in the capital Oslo a park reminding us of English romance with modern sculptures and skating ice on the ‘King’s Mirror’ (Kongespeilet). It is the king and queen who in collaboration with the Directorate of Cultural Heritage decide lasting alterations in the park. Read more about the Norwegian Palace Park in Oslo.
The Palace Park in Oslo is one of the Norwegian capital’s first and largest parks, surrounding the Royal Palace on all sides and features grassy areas as well as old, majestic trees.
The Palace Park was developed simultaneously with the construction of the new Royal Palace. The palace architect, Hans Ditlev Franciscus Linstow, took active part in the planning of the park. Over time the first palace gardener, Martin Mortensen, played an increasingly important role in the design of the park landscape. Several plans for the park were developed, all of which differed from the final result.
Related: The Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo
The Palace Park displays the romantic landscape style that dominated garden arts in the 1840s. Extensive perennial plantings, great lawns as well as some of the oldest trees in central Oslo characterize the park. Despite its historical roots, new ideas and styles are also implemented in the park design.
Queen Sonja said in an interview that King Olav had, to put it mildly, been careful with upgrades. The park needed an upgrade to make it more accessible so that people could enjoy both summer and winter there.
An open park
The park is based on the ideal model of nature which prevailed in the mid-1800s and which set the tone for European horticulture of the era. The park was constructed in the Romantic style, in which the “line of beauty” can be seen in the ponds’ undulating forms and the winding gravel paths.
The park was open to the public from the outset, and as the city expanded to the west, the park came to lie at the center of the capital city. It covers an area of 220 acres and contains about 1 000 trees, of which many were planted in the first phase of the park’s history.
Related: New Sculpture Park Opened in Oslo
One area is dedicated to native meadows, important for bees and pollinators. The park also contains seven historic statues as well as a newly opened section with sculptures designed in collaboration with children.
Thanks to the country’s monarchs, the capital has a central park that has been open to the public for almost 180 years. The green lung was established in 1840 as a park around the castle of the Norwegian-Swedish king Carl-Johan. At that time, the castle was located on the outskirts of the city. Behind was only the farmland, and the king wanted the park to extend all the way to Bygdøy. But the Parliament was stingy on allocations to the Swedish king’s castle. The first castle grant in 1824, was barely enough to cover the groundwork, and to blast a road through two boulders down to the city.
Today, the Palace Park is a valuable, protected cultural monument which the gardeners of the Royal Court work to maintain in the best possible manner for everyone’s enjoyment. It also encompasses the Palace Square – Norway’s largest ceremonial square. Every year on 17 May, Norway’s national day, the Royal Family stand on the Palace Balcony and wave to the Children’s Parade as it crosses the square. When foreign heads of state visit Norway, they are greeted by the King and Queen in the Palace Square.
The main changing of the guard takes place daily at 13.30. During the summer, concerts or drill exercises may be presented in conjunction with this ceremony.
Related: Oscarhall Summer Palace in Oslo
Interface between city and park
Abelhaugen was and still is an important element in the park, creating a visual and practical connection between the city and the castle. This part of the park is named after Niels Henrik Abel, a famous Norwegian mathematician. It is redesigned to a small but complex garden with a beautiful planting of roses and perennials.
Princess Ingrid Alexandra Sculpture Park
Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s Sculpture Park was opened in 19th May 2016 and was designed by Head Gardener Royal Estates Ane Senstad Guldahl and The Royal Court Landscape architect Thor Johansen.
The Norwegian Palace Park in Oslo, edited by Tor Kjolberg
All images © Jon Arne Foss.
For the past 8 years, Jon Arne Foss has distinguished himself as an “Oslo photographer”. Ha has been a contributer to the Oslo blog “Poor Guy” with exhibitions in Oslo at DOGA, VisitOslo’s premises in Østbanehallen and premises at Økern Næringspark.
Jon Arne has also submitted photos to NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation). “I have a fascination with Oslo’s varied content with the islands in the Oslo Fjord and the nature in the fields of Oslo, The suburban developments connected to the downtown by tram tracks and the metro,” Says Jon Arne Foss. He recommends a look at the design of the metro stations for example Romsås, Nydalen, National Theatre and Løren. The new developments in Bjørvika and Sørenga are particularly attractive to all photographers. “Give yourself some time to plan. On closer inspection you will quickly observe new lines and perspectives,” he advises.