Every day all throughout the year, and totally free of charge, you can visit Ekebergparken sculpture park in the hills above Oslo. And that is just one of several places in Norway where you may enjoy amazing art outdoors for free.
Although the traditional art experience typically takes place in a museum or gallery, some of the most fantastic Norwegian works of art play out in symbiosis with their surroundings, with the weather and the seasons as part of the experience. These are free and available to everybody.
One of the places that have provided Oslo’s residents and visitors with opportunities to combine the best of culture and nature is Ekebergparken sculpture park.
When Ekebergparken in Oslo was officially opened in September 2013, the vision was to “create a unique and diverse heritage park for the enjoyment and enrichment for the city’s population, and as an attraction for visitors”. That goal has been realized, largely due to an amazing combination of artworks and location.
Ekebergparken offers a stunning panoramic view of the city and the Oslofjord, and the 40 sculptures and installations include works by international art icons such as Renoir, Rodin, Dali, and Hirst.
Among the park’s prominent Norwegian artists you’ll find Per Ung, Knut Steen, Dyre Vaa, Hilde Mæhlum, and Per Inge Bjørlo.
In addition to the artworks and the location, the area is known for its diverse animal life. More than 40 different bird species are nesting in the park, and there’s a fair chance of encountering foxes, deer, and bats on your trip through these hills.
An important theme of Ekebergparken’s art collection is femininity.
A great example is the lifelike sculpture “Walking Woman” by the British sculptor Sean Henry, where a woman is frozen in her motion through the forest. Or the squatting woman in Swedish artist Ann-Sofi Sidén’s self-portrait “Fideicommissum”.
There are several other places in Norway where you can combine great outdoor experiences and thought-provoking art. Here is a small selection.
The Vigeland sculpture park in Oslo is maybe the most famous sculpture park in the world. Here, you’ll see more than 200 sculptures by the artist Gustav Vigeland, which at least makes it the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. Approximately one million people visit the park every year.
Another must-see for sculpture enthusiasts is the Kistefos-Museet’s sculpture park in Jevnaker, Hadeland, where the collection of modern Norwegian and international art is expanding by the year. Among the artists found here is Bjarne Melgaard, Magne Furuholmen, Kjell Nupen, Olafur Eliasson, Tony Cragg, and Marianne Heske. And the museum building The Twist is worth the trip in itself!
In Northern Norway, the extensive project Artscape Nordland, or Skulpturlandskap Nordland in Norwegian, is worth tracing. In 33 municipalities in Nordland county (and one in Troms), sculptures and installations were put up between 1992 and 2015. Artists that have contributed to the project include Kjell Erik Killi Olsen, Anish Kapoor, Bård Breivik, and Sissel Tolaas.
At Bryne in Fjord Norway, you’ll find the Fritz Røed sculpture park. The park exhibits ten sculptures by the Norwegian artist best known for his monumental work “Swords in rock” that tower over the Harfrsfjord near Stavanger. Røed’s art typically revolves around joy and playfulness, but often with more serious undertones.
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