News Norway

Munch Museum on Oslo waterfront gets greenlight

Agreement reached just days before the opening of an show celebrating the 150th anniversary of the artist’s birth

Herreros Arquitectos's "Lambda" design for a new Munch Museum on Oslo's waterfront. Illustration by Mir/Herreros Arquitectos

Plans to move the Munch Museum to a new glass structure on Oslo’s waterfront finally got the official green light on Tuesday last week—four years after the Spanish architectural firm Herreros Arquitectos won the competition to design the new building.

The “Lambda” project had stalled because of wrangling by local politicians over the cost and location of the new museum, with those opposed to the move arguing that the new building should be built on the museum’s current site in Toyen, a residential area of Oslo. An agreement was reached just days before the opening on 2 June of the exhibition "Munch 150", the centrepiece of a series of events to be staged in the country to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Norway's most famous artist.

The decision “shows that even the starkest political opponents can put aside their differences for the [common] good”, said Hallstein Bjercke, the city’s commissioner for culture and industry, at the press opening on Friday for the exhibition. The Norwegian minister of culture, Hadia Tajik, joined Bjercke in expressing relief that the dispute has been resolved.

The 12,000 sq. ft museum, which is expected to cost NKr1.6bn ($273m), is due to open in 2018. “Oslo is the fastest growing city in Europe and the new, modernist Munch Museum is part of that growth. [Because of the new museum] Munch will have a key role in how modern Oslo will look,” Bjercke said. Officials are due to meet Wednesday to discuss further details.

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