On the weekend when Queen Sonia officially opened the new National Museum of Art and Architecture in Norway, there was a long-standing political battle over location and cost. The exterior of the building is compared to both prisons and shopping centers, but critics are impressed with the interior.

Norway’s new National Museum is huge, but it still fits snugly in its perfect location on the western waterfront of Oslo. Adjacent to the City Hall Square, it surrounds the Nobel Peace Center and is adjacent to the popular Aker Brygge complex (upper left) along the fjord. Photo: Nasjonalmuseet / Iwan Baan

“Oslo is now home to the largest museums in the Nordic region,” said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre at a formal supper on Friday night, when the opening ceremony began. Norway is a “small country” but a “proud country” and the museum aims to be “a place and a home for everything we are and everything we can do”. ..

The opening of the new Norwegian National Museum was seen as a very important event for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) to broadcast the entire ceremony live on national television. Queen Sonia, an artist and art historian, is cutting ceremonial ribbons on Saturday.Photo: NRK screen grab

On Saturday, Queen Sonia uttered the royal family’s “Wow!” Just before she cuts her ceremonial ribbon at a long, delayed opening outside the vast building. She also took up the prime minister’s theme. “Today we are inviting us and getting a new home that tells us who we are.” She called it “at the same time huge and intimate,” and “in that room, We are not alone. “

The new National Museum is a combination of four old state museums. Three of them have been closed for several years: the highly beloved National Gallery, the Old Museum of Applied Arts (Kunstindustrimuseet), Museum of Contemporary Art and Norwegian Architecture Museum in Oslo. Various closures over the past seven years have triggered public protests, not only in the Corona crisis, but also in severe criticism when the opening of the new National Museum was significantly delayed.

The controversial process of integrating all of them into the new National Museum actually took 20 years and cost more than NOK 6 billion (about US $ 800 million considering various exchange rates along the way). It all involves big debates, criticisms, and especially the conflict between the museum architect Klaus Schwerk and the museum owners.

The exterior and logo of the new National Museum have not impressed the general public, but their content will probably impress.Photo: National Museum / Ina Wesenberg

Most of the people involved tried to get rid of it as the opening was approaching and there was a lot of media coverage.Schwerk remained unhappy and complained to the newspaper Dagsavisen Various cheap types of materials are used to build the building, the façade and its new logo look like a shopping center, the new Danish director of the museum is “arrogant”, and her management team is his For example, I refused to use it. Interior design, furniture, flooring. He even claimed in May that he was denied admission to the museum when he wanted to show a wealthy art collector around the building. The museum replied that he invited them without telling the museum, and it was closed to such a visit on Saturday, which he chose for safety reasons.

When the museum announced its program for the next few years (some argued that “Norwegians were not enough”), there were also criticisms of the museum’s external partnerships and commercial cooperation. After the pre-opening visit was provided to the media and members of museum support groups, many criticisms not only subsided, but were replaced by praise adjacent to praise.

“It’s okay to get excited now!” Found one review in Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten..The public “will love it,” another critic wrote. Dagsavisen.. “This is a place you can enter and you just lose yourself all day,” wrote yet another. The museum was applauded for its “great functional quality”, but it’s a good idea to put it in context by gathering it in one new place with more space to display Norwegian national treasures. Most people agree with.In one example, a classic Norwegian painting Brudeferd i Hardanger (The Hardangerfjord Bridal Procession) is hung next to the vintage Hardangerfjord, and since 1848 national costumes have appeared on the icons of Adolftidesh and Hansgude.

Like thousands of other items, the classic Norwegian landscape painting has been revived. Photo: Nasjonalmuseet / Iwan Baan

Some have reunited with art that hasn’t been published for years and admitted that they shed tears when they saw it appearing much better now. The “Munch Room” of the Old National Museum has returned to a new and improved state, showing some of Edvard Munch’s most famous and famous works. scream It is on permanent display.

There are also other classics, such as the large landscapes of the Finnish romance era in the late 1800s and a magnified exhibition of Norwegian contemporary artists including Bjarne Melgard and Sami artists including Maleto Ann Sara.

Then all the treasures come from the Old Applied Arts MuseumIncludes years of royal shoes and clothing, Norwegian and international designer ball gowns and fashion, porcelain, silver, furniture and other design examples dating back to the Viking era.

Queen Sonia, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and Crown Princess Haakon reunited at the pre-opening gala on Friday night and, for many years, wore royal clothing on special occasions. In this photo, Queen Maud (far right) in a gown worn at the coronation of Haakon VII in 1906, and Queen Sonia in 1991, when her husband Harald V succeeded her father King Olav. Facing the gown you wore. (Photo: Kongehuset / Sara Svanemyr

The new National Museum currently has 86 rooms and 6,500 works on two floors, awaiting thousands of more. Overall, there are about 400,000 items in the National Museum’s collection, and management promises that the public will soon see treasures they’ve never seen before.

“Many people will find a visit to a museum like going home,” commentator Maud Steinger wrote: Dagsavisen.. “The key to the new National Museum is that it is built for the future, showing the past, present and years to come. The cultural heritage of the Norwegian country is finally back.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

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