In 8500 BC the great ice sheets covering the lands, where Norway currently lies, pressed the land down. As the ice gradually disappeared, the land started to rise and the oldest settlements were arranged on the highest parts of the landscape – in Ekeberg. Today this neighborhood of Oslo is known for the picturesque views of the city, the fact that Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” was painted from Ekeberg, and for Ekebergparken Sculpture Park. It was opened in 2013 and located in an area that has been a public park for 130 years. The city bought the land in 1880s and made it free and available for everyone “out of consideration for the population's physical soundness”.
The park still encourages the population to be “physically sound”, since you need to be fit to see all the marvelous works by prominent Norwegian and international artists including August Rodin, James Turrel, Salvador Dalí, Lynn Chadwick, Marina Abramovic, Richard Hudson, Per Ung with many others. And it is so worth the walk! It is a wonderful place to enjoy nature and see the sculptures, just make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
The park was an initiative of the Norwegian businessman and multimillionaire, property director and art collector Christian Ringnes. Ekebergparken is owned by the city council of Oslo and the artworks are owned by C Ludens Ringnes Foundation. One of the first things you see, when entering the park is Lund’s house – a white Swiss chalet style villa, where you will find the museum of history and nature (with exciting research and history materials on Ekeberg). There you can take your kids to experimental drawing workshop that takes place every Sunday, all classes are inspired by the park’s sculptures. That adds new dimension for the little ones and helps understand and appreciate art. In summer by the Lund’s house your kids might want to visit the climbing park. Here children can frolic in safe surroundings, while they get to test their coordination, balance and their parents’ nervous system.
The park is vast, but easy to navigate – all designated walkways are suitable for strollers. That is if you don’t wander to the woods! The name Ekeberg literally means – the oak mountain, so it is some walking uphill too, but along the way you are rewarded by the great artworks and at the top you will see a big picnic area with a beautiful view of Oslo. Coming back to the name – Oak Mountain, but you won’t see a lot of oak trees here. Most probably they disappeared during the Middle Ages, when oak was used in shipbuilding, and in the 1600s when oak was exported from Norway to England and Holland. The park’s landscape varies from valleys to old dense woods and free-standing trees. It is home to more than 40 species of nesting birds: chaffinch, siskin, robin, fieldfare, blackbird, willow warbler and different tits that you can hear and various wild animals, that you won’t see, but rest assured they are there.
The park is easy to get to – it is just 30 minutes walking from the Oslo city center. Otherwise you will need trams 18 or 19, look for Ekebergparken tram stop. You can also drive there or take a taxi, just a 15 minutes ride from the center. When preparing for your trip, we suggest downloading the free app from the park’s site or at least downloading the detailed map of the park. It will guide you through and you won’t miss any of the artworks! Take note that The Skyspace by James Turrell is open only on Sundays so plan your visit ahead if you want to see it.
Ekebergparken Sculpture Park offers a unique chance to experience sunrise or sunset from Jamer Turrell artwork. It is pricy, but if you are travelling in a group and can share the payment, it must be unforgettable. In the old water reservoir Turrell created two idiosyncratic installations. A visit here also includes the adjoining work Ganzfeldt, where James Turrell's magical universe of lights exists.
Ekebergparken Sculpture Park is a great place to BREATHE, relax and contemplate. If you are in Oslo for more than a week, or if you are a nature-lover, it is absolutely a must-see. It has its charm every part of the year and we plan to be back in spring, when the flowers break into bloom and the nature goes from “The Scream” (remember the German title Munch gave the work is Der Schrei der Natur – The Scream of Nature) to “The Dance of Life”.
Born in Moscow into a theatrical family, Alexandra’s professional path into the art world was inevitable. A passionate art and history enthusiast, Alexandra completed a PhD in American Studies and is now a Research Fellow at the Institute of US…