Statues are boring, right? Try and tell a teenager they are going to spend the morning looking at sculptures depicting the journey of life. Chances are you’ll get a huff and some seriously raised eyebrows in return.
However, the Vigeland Park in Oslo is different. It has 212 statues spread out in a perfectly symmetrical park which, in addition to celebrating one of Norway’s greatest artists, also serves as a favourite picnic place amongst Norwegians in summer. One has to be pretty hard boiled not to get impressed with the huge, yet intricate statues. Oh, and did I mention that all of Vigeland’s statues are nude? Your teenager may develop an sudden interest in carved monuments after all…
Gustav Vigeland (1869 – 1943) dedicated fourty years of his life to creating this vast park in the centre of Oslo. Not only did he create the statues, he also designed the layout of the park, including the wrought iron gates and the park’s lamps.
The Vigeland Park (also known as the Frognerpark) is open to the public free of charge, and one can easily spend hours roaming around the statues. Grasping what Vigeland wanted to convey with his sculptures is something you cannot do in an hour. After all, we’re talking about the battles of mankind here. The troubled love between man and woman. Childbirth, ageing, the full circle. Therefore, the best way to take it all in is by meandering down the main axis of the park, maybe bring some bread to feed the ducks, throw in a coffee break at the park’s wonderfully old fashioned cafe by the bridge (NOT the more modern cafe by the entrance). Spending more than just a few hours is the way to go.
If you’re lucky enough to be there on a sunny day, expect the park to fill with the smell of bbq’d hot dogs at teatime. Once the Norwegians finish work, they will head to the park with a single use bbq, a few beers and maybe a football. This is one Oslo experience which won’t let you down. It won’t blow your holiday budget and it will most likely change the way you view statues forever.Best part of the park is that the statues are accessible to touch, feel and even climb on! You’ll have to look far to find a more artistic playground for your children. Anatomy cast in stone turns out to be a big hit with teenage visitors… The icing on the cake is no doubt “The Monolith”. It is a 14m high statue consisting of 121 figures. Its exact symbolic meaning is debated, but one common interpretation is that it represents man’s quest to become closer to the divine.
For a more detailed description on the park head to: