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The National Museum of Norway

Welcome to this unique space for Norway's most extensive collection of art, architecture and design!

... and our collective memory.

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

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

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.

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')...

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

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 

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.

Don't kids find art museums boring? 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 museum contains small surprises hidden everywhere – even in the building materials...

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 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. 

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.

In addition to The National Museum, you should definitely aim for a visit at the MUNCH museum, the Astrup Fearnley and the outdoor masterpieces Ekeberg Sculpture Park and the Vigeland Sculpture Park.

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

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!

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

Here, you can find cultural experiences for everyone!

What is your next adventure?

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