Press release | Date: 16/03/2016 | Ministry of Culture and Equality
The Government has decided that the national memorial site to commemorate the victims of the terrorist acts of 22 July 2011 will be completed at Sørbråten in the municipality of Hole in 2017.
“We will never forget the attacks on the government building complex and at Utøya on 22 July 2011. The attacks were a tragedy for everybody who was affected, and touched us as a community and nation. National memorial sites are important places where we as a nation can grieve, mourn those we lost, and unite in support of the values that came under attack and were put to the test on that day,” says Minister of Local Government and Modernisation Jan Tore Sanner.
In June 2012, the Stoltenberg Government decided to create two permanent national memorial sites, one at the government building complex in Oslo and a second in the municipality of Hole. In March 2013, the Stoltenberg Government specified that the national memorial in Hole would be located at Sørbråten.
The Storting approved costs for building a national memorial at Sørbråten in December 2013, and in February 2014 Jonas Dahlberg, from Sweden, won an international competition for the design of the memorial sites. Initially, completion of the Hole memorial was scheduled for 22 July 2015.
In response to the strong and divergent views expressed by those affected by the terrorist acts, the Government decided to delay creation of the memorial site. The National Support Group for Victims of the 22 July Attacks favours construction of the memorial site as planned; the neighbours at Sørbråten, however, do not want the memorial in their local environment.
“The local residents should have been involved more actively from the start. That is why we have met many times with the groups involved, both together and separately, as well as with the municipality of Hole and with individuals. Throughout, our overriding objective has been to find a solution that everybody is willing to support,” Sanner says.
Over the winter a new process was undertaken to try to find a solution agreeable to all parties. Important participants included the National Support Group for Victims of the 22 July Attacks and the local residents’ association Utstranda Velforening. Meetings have been held with the various parties, both separately and together. In addition, alternative locations for the monument have been considered at the request of local residents and their association.
“The uncertainty surrounding the creation of the memorial site is an extra weight for everyone involved. The Government has had a strong desire to arrive at a solution that unites everybody, but has now come to realise that this will be impossible. At the same time, everyone wants a decision to be made now,” Sanner says.
“We will therefore adopt the central governmental zoning plan for the area and plan for an opening of the memorial site in the summer of 2017.”
“We are intent on putting mitigation measures in place to minimise the burden on the local community. For road safety purposes the central government will fund street lighting along the county road that runs past Sørbråten. We will also discuss other road safety measures with the municipality and the county,” Sanner adds.
The Ministry of Culture is in dialogue with the artist to consider minor adjustments in the design of the artwork.
“The artist fully understands that there may be a need to adjust the design of the memorial site, and we are in touch with him via KORO (Public Art Norway). Together with KORO we will also look into the possibility of designing an expression of gratitude and recognition to the local community in connection with the national memorial site,” says Minister of Culture Linda Hofstad Helleland.
A memorial site will also be created at the government building complex in Oslo. The two art projects, in Hole and Oslo, are linked artistically, so that further planning of the Oslo memorial monument will depend on progress and clarifications regarding the memorial site in Hole as well as on the continuing work of planning the new government building complex.
Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, telephone for media: + 47 22 24 25 00
Ministry of Culture, telephone for media: + 47 90 23 10 93