Historical buildings open this weekend

Victoria TerraceNorway / Oslo. The building Victoria Terrace, headquarter of the Gestapo.Norway during the occupation 1940-45. Photo:KRIGSARKIVET

Now people with a thirst for knowledge and other people who are curious will get the opportunity to visit Ibsen’s workroom, the Gestapo headquarters from war, an insane asylum from the old days, the inside of the former Norwegian prisons and many more historical buildings.

This weekend Statsbygg’s open house event will take place all over the country. At this event they admit people to a number of historic buildings they take care of. They will also provide free tours for this event.

In Oslo the open houses include Victoria terrace. In this marvelous residential complex Henrik Ibsen lived on the ground floor, and his study and the flights of stairs are protected by the Chief Inspector of the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings. However,  many also link and associate the residential complex with much less pleasant aspects of Norwegian history, since Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst had their headquarters there during WWII.

Some of the prisoners who were transported there, chose to throw themselves out of the windows to their deaths  rather than  going through interrogation and torture in the notorious basement.


Statsbygg has taken care of cultural properties across the country for over 200 years. The reason is the need to build a national identity,  a need which sprang up when Norway became a separate nation in 1814.

Two other buildings that will open their doors to the public this weekend, are the well-known buildings Stiftsgården in Trondheim and Gamlehaugen in Bergen, both of which act as royal residences when members of the royal family are visiting.

In Stavangerthe buildings displayed include the Archaeological Museum, which was originally built as a dairy.

But the darker parts of our national history may also be viewed. Bastøy prison in Horten was called “Reform school for Neglected Boys,” but was mainly known for, and also become infamous for, a tough punishment system and brutal treatment of the boys. The treatment of the mentally ill, who were to be locked up and monitored, was also really bad.

The then current view of the asylums is illustrated by the asylum in Trondheim then being called the “slavery at Skansen.”


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today

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