The bombing in Oslo and the massacre on the island of Utøya on 22 July 2011 were the worst terrorist attacks in modern Norwegian history. Eight people were killed in the Government Quarter in central Oslo, and 69 were killed on Utøya, an island outside the capital that is the historic home of a summer camp organised by the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing (AUF). Most of the victims were young people. Many more were injured and subjected to life-threatening danger, both in the Government Quarter and on Utøya. The damage was enormous.
The attacks were politically motivated, carried out by a Norwegian right-wing extremist targeting democratic institutions, the Labour Party in particular, and politically involved youth. The terrorist’s atrocities lack precedent in Norwegian history.
In 2012, the government decided to establish two official memorials, one in connection with Utøya, the other in the Government Quarter in Oslo. The permanent memorial at Utøyakaia, the mainland berth for the ferry to Utøya, opened in the spring of 2022. A temporary memorial opened in the Government Quarter in 2018, which the permanent memorial resulting from this process will replace.
KORO’s previous project relating to remembrance sites was concluded in 2017. You can read more about the process here (in Norwegian).
The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development (KDD) has commissioned KORO to develop a preliminary project for a permanent national memorial to be established in the Government Quarter. You can read the commissioning letter here (pdf in Norwegian). In June 2023, the commisioning letter was updated. This letter is available here (pdf in Norwegian).
The government has set off an area for the memorial within the Johan Nygaardsvolds plaza. At the foot of the historic Høyblokka building, the area is close to where the bomb was detonated and to where the entrance to the new 22 July Centre, a national remembrance and learning centre dedicated to the legacy of the attacks, will be. Along with this learning centre, the memorial will be part of the new Government Quarter. Accessible 24 hours a day, the new memorial will be a suitable place for commemorative events. The names of the 77 victims will be part of the remembrance site.
The preliminary project will be carried out as an open call for expressions of interest, followed by a subsequent two-stage art competition for selected artists and architects. The winning proposal will be chosen by an interdisciplinary jury consisting of experts from the fields of art and memory studies as well as persons from relevant interest groups and affected persons.
These are selected to make proposals for the memorial
18 September 2023, an open call was announced with application deadline on 1 November 2023. KORO received 220 applications from artists, architects and groups. 5 and 6 December 2023 the jury met to select ten participants for part one of the competition.
On 5 January 2024 these ten participants were announced:
• Anna Daniell
• A K Dolven and Cathrine Vigander
• Beate Hølmebakk and Per Tamsen
• Henning Sunde, Hanne Tyrmi and Rainer Stange
• Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Jorunn Sannes and Sandra Mujinga
• Marianne Heier
• Matias Faldbakken
• Merete Røstad and Jad El Khoury
• Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta (Raqs Media Collective)
• Sumayya Vally and Suzanne Lacy
Memorials and Society
The process towards realizing the memorial will involve the public, and KORO will facilitate open events with the aim of supporting public discussions and critical discourse around the histories and possibilities for memorials today. The conversation series Memorials and Society: expectations, negotiations and artistic articulations will be a forum for professionals in the fields of public art and memory work to share knowledge with the public and the jury.
The first event took place on 21 September 2023 with contributions by Mathias Danbolt, Jørgen Watne Frydnes, Trude Schjelderup Iversen, Mari Magnus, Camille Norment and Mechtild Widrich. A second event took place on 10 November 2023 with contributions by Anne Lene Andersen, Mathias Danbolt, Suzanne Lacy, Outi Pieski and Trude Schjelderup Iversen.
As part of this series, in June 2024, KORO will host a seminar where the selected artists in the competition will present their proposals in a public setting.
The events will be streamed and documented.
Programme for the Preliminary Project
KORO have developed a programme for the preliminary project that is an important part of the basis for the competition. The programme is available as pdf here:
We want to facilitate a good and open dialogue with the public. We want everyone to feel free to send us questions and input. You can contact the project manager Mari Magnus at mm(at)koro.no.
Johan Nygaardsvolds plass, Oslo
Mari Magnus , KORO
Trude Schjelderup Iversen , KORO
Informasjon og formidling
André Gali , KORO
Regitze Schäffer Botnen
Hege Maria Eriksson
Nora Ceciliedatter Nerdrum
Trude Schjelderup Iversen
Fabian Wahl Sandvold
Kunst til andre offentlige arenaer
Closed competition, part 1
Closed competition, part 2
Winner is announced