The new Nasjonalmuseum is open

Prime Minister Støre congratulates Norway’s taxpayers


Photo: Iwan Baan / Najsonalmuseet
Norway’s new Nasjonalmuseum opened to the public in Oslo on June 11. With galleries spanning two floors, the museum houses 6,500 treasured works of art, which help to tell the history of the country.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor Party) agrees that the brand new National Museum in Oslo has cost “an awful lot of money,” but he is proud of the result.

“Yes, such a museum is expensive, but now the investment has been made, and in my opinion, it has become a great home for Norwegian art, architecture, and design, which should be open to everyone,” Støre said to NTB.

On June 11, the new museum, which cost  NOK 6.15 million, opened to the public. The prime minister and members of the royal family were present.

The museum houses Norway’s most extensive collections of art, architecture, and design,with 6,500 works presented in the exhibitions, which are displayed in 86 rooms over two floors.

A good use of taxpayers’ money

Addressing whether this was good use of Norwegian taxpayers’ money, Støre said, “I want to conclude with yes, and also congratulate the taxpayers.”

Last year at this time, then Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservative Party) also visited the National Museum, which was then over half-finished and in the process of being filled with art.

“We have spent an awful lot of money on this,” she said, and emphasized that it was the previous red-green government that made the decision to build the museum in 2013.

“We can always discuss: Should it cost just as much as this? But done is done and eaten is eaten, I tend to say,” Solberg said.

Støre agrees with the assessment that it has been very expensive but believes that it is important to have a great home for Norway’s national art.

“It shows how our history has also been creative, and a modern nation should have that,” he said.

Cuts in public construction

The government is currently concluding negotiations on a revised national budget. Several large construction projects have been scaled down, and the government has been clear that public spending must be reduced to prevent rising inflation and interest rate increases.

The prime minister would not answer whether it would have been possible to build such a museum within the current economy.

“These are questions we don’t need to reflect upon, but we will proceed in a good and responsible way in the future, so that we can continue to have great cultural experiences,” he said.

Proud of the effort

The opening weekend began on June 10 with an exclusive dinner, where Queen Sonja, the crown prince couple, and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark were in attendance.

The government was also heavily represented, with the prime minister, the minister of culture, the minister of foreign affairs, and the minister of trade and industry all present.

“I am so proud of everyone who has been involved in this large-scale project, for any contribution, large or small. For the courage and perseverance, for the team spirit that has made it possible. Not to forget the taxpayers,” the prime minister said.


Foto: Javad Parsa / NTB
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit participated in an official dinner to celebrate the opening of the new museum.

High ticket prices

The museum opened to the public on June 11, with a live broadcast on NRK1. A total of 15,000 free tickets were distributed for the opening weekend.

Up until 2011, the entrance fee to the museum was free, but now, the regular entrance fee is NOK 180 for adults, which puts the museum at the very top of the price range in Norway. Only two public museums have more expensive tickets.

Children younger than 18 enter free, while the senior tickets cost NOK 110, with the same price for everyone younger than 25.


This article originally appeared in the June 24, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Alan Dunbar

Award-winning baritone Alan Dunbar holds a bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., and advanced degrees in vocal performance from Indiana University in Bloomington. Dunbar was a founding member of the Minnesota-based internationally acclaimed male chamber vocal ensemble Cantus. They made numerous recordings and sang throughout North America and Europe from 1998-2004. Dunbar continues to perform as a soloist and teaches voice at Winona State University in Winona, Minn.