On a Saturday, you can take free one hour guided tours of Stortinget, the Norwegian parliament. A few weeks’ back I did just that and was amazed at how gorgeous the building is, in particular the ceilings! I wanted to share the photographs with you to entice you to take a tour of your own, if you are ever in Oslo!
When Stortinget was established in 1814 it consisted of 79 men. It followed the creation of our Constitution on Eidsvold earlier that year. At the time, there were few halls in Oslo that could take that many people, so they chose the auditorium at Christiania Cathedral School for their meetings. After 40 years in this location, they moved to the Royal Fredrik’s University on Karl Johan in 1854, where they met in The old festivities hall. In 1949, Stortinget was able to take over the entire building and launched a competition to extent and remodel the building to better house the growing parliament.
The main entrance to Stortinget, where the politicans enter
The Swedish architect Emil Victor Langlet won the competition and chose the historic style, which borrows elements from previous periods, in particular the gothic, renessance and baroque periods. Seen from above, the shape of the central building looks like a circle broken in half and the Swedish have claimed that is was supposed to look like a circus tent! The old part of the original building facing Akersgata was torn down in 1958 and replaced by today’s functionalistic four storey building containing the visitor’s centre, committee rooms and offices.
Stortinget is popularly referred to as Løvebakken, The lion’s hill, because of the two lions that are guarding the building from their place below the double stairs.
The entrance hall with stairs leading up to Stortingssalen
Vandrehallen, a mingling area where the politicians are interviewed by the media
The main hall where the parliament meets is called Stortingssalen — The Storting’s hall — and is a large room shaped like a Roman theatre, where the politicians sit in seven tiers. The painting behind the speaker is the most valued in the entire building and depicts the creation of the constitution at Eidsvold in 1814, painted by Oscar Wergeland.
Waiting for the press!
Stortingssalen with its gorgeous ceiling
The painting Eidsvold 1814 by Oscar Wergeland
The politicans’ seats, which are quite uncomfortable. Each has a dedicated seat organised according to which state they represent
A model of Stortinget, aka the circus tent!
The view from Stortingssalen towards Karl Johan and the Castle