Oslo was renamed Christiania in 1624 after Christian IV of Denmark and Norway ordered its rebuilding after a fire destroyed the city for the 14th time. It was rebuilt near Akershus Festning (Castle). The original name of Oslo was restored in 1925. The statue is of Christian IV’s glove pointing to where Oslo was rebuilt.
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Oops, I missed a week. Never mind there’s two entries this week.
We return this week to Aker Brygge. This statue is of Aasta Hansteen and is located near where the ferries depart and the shopping centre. Aasta (1824 – 1908) was the first woman in Norway to train professionally as an artist. She was also the first woman in Norway to give a public lecture and wrote several books. She was criticised and ridiculed by many at the time for her beliefs and actions. Later she was a source of inspiration for the women’s movement. This statue of her was sculpted by Nina Sundbye and erected in 1986. Aasta also has a street named after her in Oslo.
This weeks statue is also a war memorial erected in 1989 and located in Birkelund Park in Grunnerløkka. It is dedicated to the 100 Norwegians who joined an international brigade and fought in the Spanish Civil War. The poem on the memorial is by Ingeborg Refling Hagen (1895 – 1989) an author and teacher. She was a supporter of the republicans in Spain and worked to increase awareness of the rise of facism.
Do you recognise her? She’s quite well known, and unlike the inspiration for most of the statues on this blog she’s alive! Any idea? Yes, it’s a statue of Kate Moss. The statue, known as Sphinx, is by Marc Quinn and is hollow bronze coated in white paint and was first exhibited in 2006. Marc Quinn has made several studies of Kate Moss including a life size 18 carat gold version,called Siren, for a British Museum exhibition in 2008. Sphinx is located permanently here in Oslo, in the Folketeatret passage, between Storgata and Youngstorget.
This week we move a short distance from statues of the week 56, 57 and 58 to the junction of Karl Johans Gate and Lille Grensen. Here sits Christian Krohg (1852 – 1925), an artist, author and journalist. He was inspired by the realists, taking his themes from everyday life.
Yesterday was the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution. This was written in 1814 at Eidsvoll with representatives from all round Norway. The constitution is celebrated every year on the 17th of May (a public holiday) with children’s parades (the one in central Oslo lasts about 3 hours, with the King, Queen and other royalty standing and waving at the parade as it passes in front of the palace). The eating of ice cream and hot dogs in great quantity is allowed and there is also some drinking happening amongst the adults. Wilhelm Friman Koren Christie (1778 – 1849) was one of the people involved in the writing of the consitution. He was the secretary and sent a letter on behalf of Christian Fredrik (who was elected as King of Norway at Eidsvoll) to the UK asking for their support for Norway’s independance from Sweden. This letter was never answered. WFK Christie did become the first president of the parliament, and was involved in the discussion regarding the union with Sweden.
On the 175th anniversary of the consitution in 1989 a statue of WFK Christie, by Kristian Blystad, was erected in front of the Storting (pariliament). This is this weeks statue.
So Maria, Wendy and I were talking the other day about writing. We do this every six weeksish. Maria mentioned that she missed my blog and that I should get in the groove and start blogging again. I have several statues that I had already taken photos of back in 2012, which was when I last blogged. So I found the photos, worked out which were the last statues I blogged about and here I am 🙂
Statue of the week is in the same vicinity as statue of the week 56, just outside the Stortinget. This is Christian Michelsen (1857 – 1925). Michelsen was a shipping magnate and was elected to the Norwegian parliament (Storting) in 1891, becoming the prime minister in 1905. 1905 is a significant date in Norwegian history as this is when the union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved. Michelsen was heavily involved in the dissolution. The union required that laws relating to foreign affairs could not be passed by the Norwegian parliament, they required the consent of the Swedish parliament. Norway was not happy about this and wanted control over foreign affairs and created a bill providing the Norwegian parliament with this power. Sweden disagreed and King Oscar (of Sweden and Norway) refused to sign the bill. As a result the whole of the Norwegian cabinet resigned. King Oscar was unable to form a new government and was declared unfit to rule and therefore ceased to be King of Norway. This formed the legal basis for the dissolution of the union. Later there was a national referrendum which showed the Norwegian will to dissolve the union. Another referrendum was held asking Norwegians if Prince Carl of Denmark would be an acceptable person to become King of Norway – a democratic monarchy. The Norwegian population said yes and Prince Carl became King Haakon VII of Norway. Michelsen remained a politician until 1907 when he resigned.
We journey along Karl Johans gate this week from Universitetsplassen to Eidsvolls plass outside the Stortinget (the parliament building – a literal translation is “the big thing”). Here to the right hand side of Eidsvolls plass when facing the Stortinget stands a statue of Carl Joachim Hambro (1885 – 1964). CJ Hambro was a journalist, author and Conservative politician , serving as a member of the Stortinget for 38 years. He understood what Hitler had in mind for Norway and organised the escape of King Haakon VII, the Royal family, and the government on a train that left 30 minutes before the Germans arrived in Oslo.
Back to Universitetsplassen this time and to the companion of Anton M Schweigaard. This is Peter Andreas Munch (1810 – 1863) – no, it’s not that Munch this is a different one! Peter Andreas Munch was a school friend of Anton Schweigaard, but is known for his work on Norwegian medieval history. He was also one of the first non-catholics to gain access to the Vatican’s archives.
The University of Oslo used to be based in downtown Oslo but now only the Faculty of Law remains in the original buildings, with the rest of the University located at Blindern (which has been developed since the 1930’s). The university was founded in 1811 and was modeled on the University of Copenhagen and the University of Berlin. Until 1946 it was the only university in Norway. In front of the original buildings (Domus Bibliotheca, Domus Media and Domus Academica) on Universitetsplassen stand two statues.
Statue 54 is of Anton M. Schweigaard (1808 – 1870) who was a professor of jurisprudence and economics in the 1830s and 1840s. He helped Norway to become a capitalist economy and served as a member of parliament from 1842 – 1869.