Norway Is Preparing to Open Its $723 Million Megamuseum, Home to ‘The Scream,’ After Seven Years—Get a Sneak Peek Here

The Oslo museum is the largest art museum in the Nordic region.

The National Museum exterior with Light Hall. Photo by Borre Hostland.
The National Museum exterior with Light Hall. Photo by Borre Hostland.

Norway’s new National Museum finally has an opening date. Initially slated to debut in 2020, the museum in Oslo—officially called the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design—will now open on June 11, 2022. 

The museum, which has been in the works for seven years, brings the collections of three of Norway’s most important art institutions—the former Kunstindustrimuseet, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Gallery—under one roof. Among its gems are an impressive selection of work by Edward Munch, including The Scream.

Boasting more than 54,000 square meters, including 13,000 square meters of exhibition space, the expansion cost $723 million. It makes the institution the largest museum in the Nordic region, bigger than international counterparts such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Guggenheim Bilbao.

Ahead of its official opening, the museum—eager to commune with the public after a year of delays—has opened its doors early to allow visitors to venture inside while the art is being installed. “We are inviting visitors to join us and have a look inside while the art is being mounted and the museum is taking shape,” the museum’s director Karin Hindsbo said in a statement. 

The National Museum exterior with Light Hall. Photo by Borre Hostland.

The National Museum exterior with Light Hall. Photo by Borre Hostland.

Tours to view the interiors of the impressive new building, designed by German architects Kleihues + Schuwerk, will be available to book as soon as local public-health restrictions are lifted.

The new national museum will display more than 5,000 artworks spanning antiquity to the present. The collections now housed by the museum have been inaccessible to the public for years: the former Kunstindustrimuseet closed in 2016; the Museum of Contemporary Art closed in 2017; and the National Gallery closed in 2019.

The vast new building has two stories and 90 galleries, cafés, a shop, and the largest art library in the Nordic region. But its architectural hallmark is a spectacular new illuminated exhibition space on the roof called the Light Hall. The 2,400-square-meter space will be reserved for temporary exhibitions, the first of which will be a survey of Norwegian contemporary art. The museum also boasts an open-air roof terrace looking out over Oslo’s harbor, promenade, and fjord.

Built by Norway’s government building commissioner Statsbygg, the museum has also prioritized sustainability, designed to emit 50 percent less greenhouse gasses than current building standards.

See more images of Norway’s forthcoming new national museum below.

The Light Hall interior. Photo by Annar Bjørgli.

The Light Hall interior. Photo by Annar Bjørgli.

The National Museum exterior. Photo by Annar Bjorgli.

The National Museum exterior. Photo by Annar Bjorgli.

The National Museum exterior. Photo by Ina Wesenberg.

The National Museum exterior. Photo by Ina Wesenberg.

The National Museum interior. Photo by Ina Wesenberg.

The National Museum interior. Photo by Ina Wesenberg.

The National Museum interior Photo by Annar Bjorgli.

The National Museum interior Photo by Annar Bjorgli.

The National Museum exterior with Light Hall. Photo by Borre Hostland.

The National Museum exterior with Light Hall. Photo by Borre Hostland.


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