Opposition to Jonas Dahlberg’s Memorial to Norwegian Terror Victims Is Mounting

Model of Memory Wound, a gap cut into the Sørbråten peninsula by artist Jonas Dahlberg as a memorial for the victims of the 2011 massacre. Photo: courtesy Jonas Dahlberg Studio.

Many are not pleased with the plans for a Norwegian memorial project for the victims of the July 22, 2011 attacks committed by Anders Behring Breivik. Though the selection of Jonas Dahlberg’s proposal, Memory Wound (as reported by artnet News), was initially greeted with enthusiasm, there is now growing disapproval among locals, families of the victims, and experts.

Geologists have pointed out the physical challenges presented by dramatically bisecting the Sørbråten peninsula, claiming that its porous rock foundation cannot support the planned facade, while locals don’t relish the idea of being regularly reminded of the tragedy. Opponents have formed a Facebook group, calling the proposed site “a rape of nature” and expressing fears that tourists, or worse, Breivik admirers, may make pilgrimages to the site. Most damning is the response from the victims’ family members, some of whom are unhappy that the memorial will display their loved ones’ names, especially so far away from Utøya Island, the site of the tragedy.

Despite the widespread criticism, Svein Bjoerkaas, director of Norway’s public art organization Koro, stands by the decision, telling Agence France-Presse to “keep in mind that this memorial is not only for those—relatively few—who are against it, but also the many who are in need of it.”

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