A visit to Vigeland Park in Oslo - December 2004

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A woman holding a baby at the BridgeMy wife and I have had the pleasure of stopping by Oslo on a few occasions. The last time we went there was in connection with Nikki’s annual Christmas party in mid December 2004. We spent a few hours taking a look at the beautiful Vigeland Park located in the Frogner park area. We stayed at Radisson SAS Plaza hotel near the main train station in Oslo by the way. Are you looking at me? :-) Bronze man at the BridgeWe were there during the Nobel Peace Prize award by the way so we did spot celebrities like the peace prize winner Wangari Maathai, the artist Joss Stone etc. But I would like to share a bit of the experience when it comes to a trip in the Vigeland Park. We took the underground from the hotel (a westbound line to Majorstuen station) but we could have walked because it is not really that far. If you want to walk you walk up Karl Johan, pass the Royal palace on the right hand side, walk up Bogstadveien and turn left into Kirkeveien.


About the Vigeland Park

Back to back. At the Monolith PlateauSo what is the Vigeland Park? Well, it is a park that includes 212 sculptures made by the artist and sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943). I’m not sure how the project came about but Gustav Vigeland teamed up with the city of Oslo and he got a house and a studio and in return he made sculptures for the park. You can read a lot more about the history on the homepage of the park and the museum. Gustav Vigeland himself never got to see the park finished before he died by the way.


Our visit to the park

Kids getting a ride at the Monolith PlateauWe came to the park at about 11 am and it was pretty cold. I’m used to the mild winters of Stavanger so I was freezing my butt of. There were not that many people in the park because the winter is of course the main tourist season here in Norway. So apart from some French tourists that were on a guided tour, we were all alone in the park. Well, all alone might be to stretch the truth…people use the park as a recreation area of course so there were lots of people taking walks there with their dogs and kids.


The little Angry Boy...or Sinnataggen. Located on the BridgeWe walked in the main gate and we had to watch our step. Oslo got quite a bit of snow before we got there but it turned mild and then cold again so most of the snow had turned into pure ice. Walking up and down some of the staircases in the park all of a sudden turned into an extreme sport due to this :-) When you walk in the main gate you start the road to The Bridge, The Fountain, The Monolith and the Wheel of Life. The first part we came to was the Bridge where there are 58 sculptures in bronze. There are women, children, men and some are alone and some are in groups. This 100 meter long bridge is the home of one of the most famous statues of the Vigeland Park: Sinnataggen…or Angry little boy as it is known in English. A few years back it actually disappeared for a while when someone cut of the leg on the little boy and stole it.


An old woman and a man at the Monolith PlateauNext we came to the Fountain. 6 giants are seen holding up a big “plate” and the water comes crashing down on all sides…well, it comes crashing down in the summer time I guess because the water was turned of when we were there :-) One thing I didn’t notice when I was there was the area around the fountain. According to the Vigeland Park homepage it is an 1800 square meter mosaic in black and white granite which is a big maze.. actually it is said that it is a 3000 meter long labyrinth.


The MonolithThe biggest attraction in the park (in every way :-) is Monolitten (the Monolith). The name itself is derived from the fact that this was cut from one giant block of granite..where mono means one and litho means rock. This HUGE block is located at the highest point in the park and in this 14 meter (46 feet) block there are 121 figures. Iron gate at the Monolith PlateauOne of the most astonishing fact is that it took three stone carvers 14 years to makes this column!. Around the Monolith there are 36 granite sculptures and once again humans are shown from the cradle to the grave. When we were there the sun finally came out for a while and even though it was weak in managed to give a great light when I was taking pictures. The sculptures depict man in all kinds of situations in life and it amazing to see how much life there can be in a slab of rock.


The axis through the park ends in the Wheel of Life. The wheel is made up by women, men and children holding on to each other and it symbolizes eternity.



Silhouettes of figures at Vigeland ParkOn the homepage it says “…the dramatic theme of the entire park: Man's journey from cradle to grave, through happiness and grief, through fantasy, hope and wishes of eternity.” A young girl is dancingI think this sums it up pretty good. In my opinion the Vigeland Park is a beautiful park and I never get tired of walking around looking at the different sculptures. Every time I look at them I find something new. Some are playful, some are dancing, some are sad, some are protecting their children, some are angry etc. Try to visit the park when it is not too crowded so that you can have some time to look at the different statues without having to fight for you place :-) I hope that you get to see the park one day. I’m sure that I will stop by it the next time I get the chance. If you go there please check out the Vigeland Park homepage in advance so that you can get some background information.



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A few more pictures
Lots of babies near the Monolith