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Statue of the week: number 22

February 28, 2011

This week we pay a visit to Grunerløkka and Olaf Ryes plass.  You’d think that perhaps there would be a statue of Olaf Ryes in the square named after him – no,  the statue in the square is of someone else.  But let’s stay with Olaf Rye (1791 – 1849) for the moment. Why?  Well for those of you not in Norway (Sweden and other countries that do well at skiing etc) it may have escaped your notice that the World Cup of certain winter sports including ski jumping or hopp in norsk, is currently taking place in Oslo.  What does this have to do with Olaf Rye?  He is credited with the first world record in ski jumping.  How far?  9.5 metres.  Even Eddie the Eagle managed further than this (BTW there was a British ski jumper in the VM – James Lambert).

Anyway, back to the statue, a bust of Eilert Sundt  (1817 – 1875).  Eilert Sundt researched social and cultural issues and is considered to be the founder of sociology in Norway.  He took the perspective that culture was evolutionary.  In his research on Romany people and other minorities, he believed that they belonged to a more primative level of society and they should be helped to progress to the higher levels – not a very politically correct view by today’s standards.

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