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An architectural drawing of the Munch Museum in Bjørvika in Oslo, Norway
The Munch Museum, Bjørvika in Oslo.
Photo: Estudio Herreros / Kultur- og idrettsbygg

The extraordinary new Munch Museum gets an equally unique foundation stone

More than 40,000 objects associated with the famous painter Edvard Munch will be moved to the upcoming new Munch Museum in Oslo. But first, a few historical treasures are to be buried at the building site.

This friday, Crown Princess Mette-Marit will lay a foundation stone for the new Munch museum in Bjørvika, Oslo. The ceremony is the official start of the construction of the museum, known as Lambda in Norway.

If everything goes according to plan, the new Munch Museum will open to the public in 2020. Here, travellers from all over the world will enjoy the famous painter’s most notable works, such as “The Scream”, “Madonna” and “Girls on the Bridge”.

The building will be extraordinary in many ways, and the foundation stone is no exception. It consists of a small casket with objects from the different municipalities where Munch lived during his lifetime. The casket is to be walled into what later will be the museum’s foyer.

Among the objects are a golden brooch, apple seeds from Munch’s garden at Ekely and a copy of his will.

“We wanted to invite all the municipalities that Munch had a connection to. That way, we can show that this is a building for the entire country, not just for Oslo”, Eli Grimsby, director of culture and sport buildings in Oslo, explained to NRK (article in Norwegian only).

When the casket is sealed inside the foundation, the objects won’t be seen by anyone. The object will only be unveiled again in a distant future – perhaps after an excavation?

A fascinating thought, Raymond Johansen, the Governing Mayor of Oslo admits. He had the honour of putting the objects in the casket before it was closed.

“Actually, I felt a bit emotional. It felt like I was part of something big. I had a rare opportunity of putting the past into an undetermined future. Someone may get to open the box, but we have no idea when that will be”, Johansen said to the newspaper Aftenposten (Article in Norwegian only).

Several municipalities have donated objects for the box. Løten municipality brought soil from the farm Engelaug østre, where Munch was born, while Kragerø brought glass pearls inspired by the Munch painting “The Sun”.

Åsgårdstrand municipality donated a small stone from the pebble beach where Munch painted “Girls on the Bridge”.

Among the more unique objects is a brooch after a woman named Karen Bjølstad from the town Fredrikstad. She became Munch’s foster mother when he was five years old.

The new Munch Museum in Bjørvika costs NOK 2.7 billion (298 million euros), and is going to be a majestic building consisting of 13 floors.

The building will rise 60 metres tall above the ground, and also stretch 60 metres below sea level at its deepest, according to Aftenposten.

The museum will be located next to the opera, as well as a brand new library.

The downtown waterfront area in Oslo has during the last years been reborn as a chic neighbourhood with contemporary museums, restaurants and urban living.

Experience Edvard Munch’s world

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