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Hadeland – Norway’s new art destination

Experience dot queen Yayoi Kusama and the sensational new exhibition space The Twist at the Kistefos-Museet, as well as the fabulous glass products at Hadeland Glassverk. The Hadeland area not far from Oslo is an absolute must-go for art lovers.

With its rolling hills and delicious local food, it is no surprise that Hadeland is nicknamed “The Toscana of Scandinavia.” Quite unexpectedly, the area is now also developing into a hub for art enthusiasts, with artworks and names most often associated with shows in big metropolitan cities: Yayoi Kusama, Tony Cragg, Marc Quinn, Fernando Botero, and Bjarne Melgaard to mention a few.

The brand new exhibition space at the Kistefos-Museet, The Twist, was already an international sensation even before the doors opened.

“The Daily Telegraph, Bloomberg, Wallpaper and other media have named the new museum one of the year’s most beautiful buildings. The ambitions are that The Twist will make Kistefos-Museet, and thus Hadeland, a cool destination for art lovers from all over the world”, Christen Sveaas says to Visit Norway. The investor, passionate art collector and driving force behind Kistefos-Museet states that he feels more intoxicated by art than by wine.

It is the innovative Danish architectural firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) that has created the spectacular building – and the result literally has a twist to it. With a span of 60 metres, the bridge-shaped museum soars over one of Norway’s best rivers for trout fishing, visible through glass surfaces in the Panorama Gallery – the most extensive part of the museum.

“The Twist will excite you because you only get glimpses of the building through the forest until you come close. Then you get a surprising wow-experience. It also acts as a bridge where you can enter on one side of the river, experience the exhibition, and exit on the other side”, says Kistefos-Museet’s director Egil Eide.

Another major attraction at Kistefos-Museet is its big outdoor sculpture park, that got its first sculpture in 1948. In May 2019, Christen Sveaas unveiled the installation “Shine of Life” by Yayoi Kusama, one the world’s most talked-about avantgarde artists, perhaps best known for her signature polka dots. Her site-specific sculptural installation seems to grow out of the water and is the largest installation the Japanese artist has created in the Nordic countries. It is inspired by the eternal nature and industrial past of Kistefos.

The distinctive sculpture park got its definitive breakthrough in 2016 with the installation “Path of Silence” by Danish artist Jeppe Hein. The site-specific, large-scale water sculpture uses multiple mirrors that inspires curious children and adults to walk straight into it to play, and is only one example of why this is a great place to take the whole family.

Glassblowing galore

Barely 3.5 kilometres from Kistefos you’ll find the historical glasswork Hadeland Glassverk. As Norway’s oldest operational craft industry still in daily production, Hadeland Glassverk is a vital arena for industry, arts, and culture. “This combination appeals to the international tourist and design market”, says creative director Kate Smith, who has previously worked with large art institutions like Tate Modern and Natural History Museum in London.

The passionate glassblowers at Hadeland Glassverk let you make your own glass and invite you to the regular Glassblowers’ show. In addition to a year-round program of art exhibitions, there is a multitude of events and activities, like theatre, concerts, workshops, and shopping opportunities for the whole family.

Food as art

Art lovers who also love delicious food should visit nearby Thorbjørnrud restaurant and hotel, run by eco-farmer Olav Lie-Nilsen. He produces most of the meat, the award-winning cheese, the dairy products, the vegetables and other delicacies served in the restaurant, at his own farm. “The Danish Michelin-starred restaurant Noma launched the idea of a farm-based restaurant at least ten years after us at Thorbjørnrud”, Olav says confidently and recommends Thorbjørnrud’s homemade panna cotta with rhubarb yoghurt. When the night comes, Thorbjørnrud also offers outdoor accommodation for those who love glamping.

Locals also love the popular food and drink festival Høy på landet that takes place here in the second half of June. And don’t miss Operafest Røykenvik in mid-June, where a massive scene is floating on the Randsfjorden lake while hundreds of spectators applauding on the shore. The show is directed by Cynthia Kai.

You should also explore the eastern side of Randsfjorden, where you can go for a local art brunch at Lokstallen in Røykenvik, right by Rachel Whiteread’s installation “The Gran Boathouse”. In the churches Søsterkirkene you can experience the silence and serenity of the two twelve-century sister buildings. You can also make your way to the Hadeland Folkemuseum at Granavollen or pay a visit to the artists and craftsmen at Glasslåven Art Centre.

At the largest astronomical facility in Northern Europe, you can go from open air to outer space. The iconic solar observatory Solobservatoriet by the small town Harestua offers educational guided tours and fun activities. From 2022, visitors can explore a new planetarium, designed by the world-renowned architects at Snøhetta, who can also take credit for the Oslo Opera House.

“Hadeland is barely an hour away from the capital Oslo, and with an even shorter distance to Oslo Airport”, promises Mette Stenersen at Visit Innlandet.

Art has long traditions in the region, she adds: “Traditionally, a growing number of artists have found inspiration here. The evidence hangs on the walls of Hadeland’s many privately owned hotels. Not all artists could pay for their stay and they were allowed to settle the bill with paintings.”

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