After the opening of Deichman Library (2020) and the Munch Museum (2021), the National Museum marks the completion of three major cultural institutions in Oslo over the last three years. It was first established in 2003-2005 with the merger of four museums in the fields of older and modern art, contemporary art, design and craft, and architecture. After the construction of the new building, designed by Klaus Schuwerk (Kleihues + Schuwerk), the museum’s total area is 54,600 m2. The exhibition space is 13,000 m2 — almost twice as much as the museum’s former spaces, making it not only the largest museum in the Nordic region but also bigger than international museums such as Rijksmuseum and Guggenheim Bilbao.
Architect Klaus Schuwerk has designed with the perspective of housing artworks for centuries and the museum is built with clean and robust materials, like oak, bronze and marble, that will age with dignity. The entire facade is covered with Norwegian slate and as a FutureBuilt pilot project, it’s designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% compared to current building standards. The building also includes a spectacular space for temporary exhibitions — the Light Hall situated on the roof — as well as a large open-air roof terrace with a great view of the city and the largest art library in the Nordic region.
The museum’s collection holds around 400,000 objects ranging from medieval tapestries to modern design classics and contemporary artworks. Special rooms will be dedicated to the museum’s significant collection of works by Edvard Munch, including The Scream, royal gowns worn by Norway’s two queens, and a display of works by renowned Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn. Prominent artists on display will include Harald Sohlberg, Harriet Backer, Theodor Kittelsen, Gustav Vigeland, Hannah Ryggen, Lucas Cranach, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Ida Ekblad.
For the opening, this Saturday, the mentioned Light Hall will be filled with an extensive survey of new Norwegian Contemporary art featuring almost 150 artists and groups of artists.