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The National Museum of Norway

Welcome to Norway’s unique new space for its most extensive collection of art, architecture and design!

National museum .
Photo: Christine Baglo/Visitnorway.com
National museum .
Photo: Christine Baglo/Visitnorway.com

...and our collective memory. 

The National Museum of Norway .
Photo: Maverix / Visit Norway
The National Museum of Norway .
Photo: Maverix / Visit Norway

It’s the largest museum in the Nordic region, and bigger than international museums such as the Rijksmuseum and the Guggenheim Bilbao.

The National Museum of Norway .
Photo: Iwan Baan
The National Museum of Norway .
Photo: Iwan Baan

The museum is located in the popular Aker Brygge area on Oslo’s waterfront, which offers spectacular views of the fjord!

The National Museum in Norway .
Photo: Iwan Baan
The National Museum in Norway .
Photo: Iwan Baan

About 6,500 of the more than 400,000 works in the collection will be shown in the permanent collection exhibition. The museum will also host several temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

Exhibition at the National Museum .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Maverix
Exhibition at the National Museum .
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Maverix

In other words – it has something for everyone! Whether you are looking for iconic masterpieces, such as Harald Sohlberg's Vinternatt i Rondane ('Winter night in Rondane')...

Vinternatt i Rondane at the National Museum .
Photo: Maverix / Visit Norway
Vinternatt i Rondane at the National Museum .
Photo: Maverix / Visit Norway

...or the latest fashion – like this dress worn by Kim Kardashian!

Exhibition at The National Museum of Norway .
Photo: Nasjonalmuseet / Ina Wesenberg
Exhibition at The National Museum of Norway .
Photo: Nasjonalmuseet / Ina Wesenberg

"We want it to be a meeting place for people from all different walks of life. A place where you can go to study, attend concerts, have meetings, or take a coffee break and read a book."

Tord Krogtoft, Marketing Director 

Tord Krogtoft at The National Museum .
Photo: Maverix / Visit Norway
Tord Krogtoft at The National Museum .
Photo: Maverix / Visit Norway

Norway's new home for art

The National Museum of Norway was founded in 2003, when the National Gallery, the Museum of Art and Design, the Museum of Architecture, the Museum of Contemporary Art merged. The process of moving more than 400,000 objects to the new premises that opened in 2022 took over one year to complete.

Over 6,500 art works from the collection will be on display in the huge exhibition halls, which contain over 90 rooms. The first level features a collection of design and crafts from antiquity to the present, while contemporary art is exhibited on the second level. Last but not least, the 2,400 square metre Light Hall on the third level provides a bright and unique setting for temporary exhibitions.

Make sure you have plenty of time if you plan to see it all! 

World famous artists

The collection contains works by some of the biggest names in art history, from both Norway and abroad. One of the most famous Norwegian Modernist painters is Edvard Munch, whose art fills an entire room.

Here you can find iconic paintings including The Scream (Skrik in Norwegian) and Madonna. Other famous painters from Norway include prominent naturalist and national romantic painters Adolph Tidemand, Hans Gude, Christian Krogh, Theodor Kittelsen, Harald Sohlberg, Thomas Fearnley, and more.

The museum also exhibits works by some of the biggest international names, including Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, among others.

Contemporary works by artists including Ingerid Kuiters, Daisuke Kosugi, Ilavenil Vasuky Jayapalan will also be exhibited, with many more to come.

It's not only the paintings that are worth a visit, though. Among the museum's absolute highlights is the Baldishol carpet, woven sometime between 1040 and 1190, and a 600-year-old Ming Dynasty dragon vase.

Conservation efforts

Many museum objects are fragile, and can be easily damaged, even by environmental factors such as light. The museum has therefore installed special lighting that is individually adapted to each space.

"Artificial light technology allows us to set the light correctly, so that it doesn’t damage the art. Certain pieces and paintings even periodically require complete rest and need to be taken down for a while," says the museum's communication advisor, Hanne Marie Willoch.

She says that the collection went through an extensive conservation process in connection with the move to the new museum.

"For example, all the paintings were subjected to a 'check up' before being hung in the new museum. On some paintings, conservators rinsed every square centimetre with a small swab, which turned totally black from all the dust and dirt! Smoking was once permitted inside the old National Gallery, so many paintings have become covered by tobacco smoke, fumes from perfume, and other pollutants," says Willoch.

Aren't art museums boring for kids? Not this one! 

Look for small surprises hidden in the tree in the Adventure Room or play games that are found in the sitting areas throughout the exhibitions.

The Adventure Room at The National Museum of Norway .
Photo: Nasjonalmuseet
The Adventure Room at The National Museum of Norway .
Photo: Nasjonalmuseet

The museum contains small surprises hidden everywhere – even in the building materials...

Materials of The National Museum .
Photo: Annar Bjørgli
Materials of The National Museum .
Photo: Annar Bjørgli

240-million-year-old fossils

When the architects chose the building materials, they wanted to use pure and robust materials that will age with dignity, like oak, bronze, marble, and slate. Parts of the floor are even made of a very rare white stone from France called mussel lime. But what is perhaps the most impressive touch is the many small fossils hidden in the stone material, dated to be around 230 to 240 million years old!

One of the largest of these (though it is admittedly quite small) is an echinoderm that was found when the floor was laid. You can see it embedded in the floor right in front of the stairs leading up to the Light Hall. See how many hidden treasures you can spot!

A foot by a fossil in the floor at the National Museum
Fossil in the floor at the National Museum.
Photo: Fredrik Ahlsen / Maverix

A living building

The new National Museum is a model project in the FutureBuilt program, which sets very strict environmental requirements. Among other things, the building must meet an energy standard corresponding to a passive house.

The National Museum is so extensive that you will probably need a whole day (...or even days!) to explore all the different rooms and exhibition spaces. But don't forget to take a break or two. Bolle Bar is a cosy café in the middle of the building that serves excellent food based on Norwegian culinary traditions, and the best buns in town

In summer, you can also enjoy prawns and delicious food on the rooftop terrace, overlooking the harbour and the Town Hall area. 

Café at the National Museum in Oslo
Café at the National Museum in Oslo.
Photo: Christine Baglo / Visitnorway.com

Oslo: The art city

In recent years, a lot of new museums and cultural venues have popped up in and around Norway's capital city.

If you love art and culture, Oslo is definitely the place to go!

A chair with a view at the MUNCH museum .
Photo: Einar Aslaksen
A chair with a view at the MUNCH museum .
Photo: Einar Aslaksen

Don't miss out this huge sculpture, The Mother,  by acclaimed British artist Tracey Emin, just outside MUNCH, where you can see a huge collection of the famous Norwegian painter Edvard Munch's works, including The Scream.

The museum is one of the biggest museums in the world devoted to a single artist!

"The Mother" by Tracey Emin beside MUNCH in Oslo. .
Photo:
Girl looking at MUNCH museum in Bjørvika in Oslo .
Photo: Christine Baglo /Visitnorway.com

Experience The Twist at The Kistefos Museum in Hadeland, an hour's drive from Oslo. 

The Twist at Kistefos in Hadeland .
Photo: Benjamin Ward
The Twist at Kistefos in Hadeland .
Photo: Benjamin Ward

Here, you can find cultural experiences for everyone!

What is your next adventure?

The fountain at the Kistefos Museum .
Photo: Nikolas Gogstad-Andersen
The fountain at the Kistefos Museum .
Photo: Nikolas Gogstad-Andersen

Art experiences in Oslo

Munch

Get inspired

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