The new National Museum
The new National Museum will become the largest art museum in the Nordic region and a venue for entirely new encounters with art.
Never before has an art museum like this been built in Norway. The new National Museum will become the largest cultural centre in the Nordic region. The museum is currently being built at the site of the former Vestbanen railway station in central Oslo and is set to open in 2020.
Art, design, and architecture in new contexts
No fewer than 5,000 works of art will be on display in the permanent exhibition. This exhibition will be the very core of the museum. This is where works from all of the museum’s various fields – older and modern art, architecture, design, craft, and contemporary art – will meet and interact in new contexts.
Atop the roof, a large, brightly illuminated art hall is being constructed. The hall will be longer than the Royal Palace and will feature temporary exhibitions on a much larger scale and with a greater range of leading international artists than has previously been possible.
A new venue in the cityscape
The new museum shall be a rewarding and inspiring place to be. It will feature a publicly accessible roof terrace with a spectacular view of Oslo City Hall, Akershus Fortress, the Aker Brygge neighbourhood, and the Oslofjord.
Featuring outdoor seating among trees, plants, and natural rocks, the square in front of the main entrance will be an attractive meeting place. It is a location where you can picture yourself enjoying a range of events taking place throughout the long summer nights.
The new National Museum will entail even more opportunities to meet up with friends, family, and colleagues over a coffee or a bite of food. The museum will also be outfitted with a large and airy library, a well-stocked museum shop with a design- and art-inspired selection, and various venues that allow visitors to engage in creative activities.
New future for art
The new building shall signal the National Museum’s role as one of Europe’s leading venues for art and culture. Construction is well under way, and now it is really possible to see the contours of what is to come.
In line with the National Museum’s vision of creating new generations of art enthusiasts, the new museum aims to be a shot in the arm for the visual arts in Norway.
At Vestbanen, we will have both a large, great art venue and an important meeting place for the public of all ages. I look forward to the opening in 2020 with great anticipation.
– Minister of Culture Trine Skei Grande
Learn more about the new National Museum at the Mellomstasjonen information centre right next to the construction site.
The collection exhibition – the core of the new National Museum
The collection exhibition will become the new National Museum’s permanent exhibition and will exhibit twice as many works from the museums' collections of art, architecture and design.
The exhibition aims to show how art and culture are a central part of history, society, and the life we live here and now. It will be displayed in an area of no less than 10,000 m² extending over two floors.
Mankind’s encounter with art
In the exhibition you will encounter works from antiquity to the present day, with a primary focus on the development of Norwegian visual arts, decorative arts, design, and architecture.
Throughout the course of history mankind has created, collected, and related to art, design, and architecture in various ways. The exhibition explores how this activity has manifested itself in art. It also shows how both Norwegian art and the Norwegian art scene are part of international trends and interactions.
The new permanent exhibition allows you to participate in art even more strongly and reflect on what you come across at the museum.
Medieval tapestries, imperial porcelain, and royal apparel
The museum’s ground floor is where you will find decorative arts and design from antiquity until the present day. Get to know the unique Baldishol tapestry (believed to be from the twelfth century), imperial porcelain from China, exquisite eighteenth-century Norwegian glass chalices, shifting fashions from various eras, and contemporary design and decorative arts. And so much more!
The first floor will primarily be devoted to art from the fifteenth century on. In these galleries you will for example see the museum’s collection of seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish landscapes, the early-nineteenth-century national-romantic works of Johan Christian Dahl, the Munch gallery with the iconic Scream, and the museum’s highlights from today’s national and international contemporary art.
New connections: All art is now!
The connections between art, design, and architecture are explored in new constellations that juxtapose different disciplines and eras. This allows you to experience new narratives across genre and time.
The exhibition brings to life the history from the various periods when the collection gradually came into being, including the art, architecture, and design that is being created today. With this approach the National Museum wants to convey that all art is now!
Get a first-hand look of the work on the new permanent exhibition
At the National Museum’s library in Kristian Augusts Gate 23, you can study models of the galleries that will house the new permanent exhibition and learn more about how the exhibition will look at the new museum. You can also study the models from the street.
The National Museum will collaborate with the Italian firm Guicciardini & Magni Architetti to design the new collection exhibition.
Mellomstasjonen – en route to the new National Museum
Welcome to Mellomstasjonen, where you can find out about the plans for the new National Museum.
In 2020, the new National Museum will arrive at Vestbanen, the former site of the western Oslo railway station. In the meanwhile, you can visit the Mellomstasjonen information centre and get to know what is set to become the largest art museum in the Nordic countries! At the centre you can study the construction project, join guided tours and breakfast meetings, and participate in artist talks with contemporary Norwegian artists.
The name Mellomstasjonen – Norwegian for “a station along the way” – indicates that the centre is a step on the way to the new National Museum.
See the calendar below for more information about events.
New museum shop
The museum shop at Mellomstasjonen offers a variety of unique items you won’t find just anywhere. Let yourself be inspired by art, architecture, and design, and find unique and personal gifts for both yourself and others. Follow the National Museum’s shops on Instagram, and drop in for a look!
The National Museum is moving!
Over 100,000 objects have to be moved before the new National Museum can open in 2020.
The National Museum’s collections include paintings, sculptures, drawings, works of applied art, design objects, architectural models and installations. They all have to be documented, conserved and carefully packed before being transferred to their new home in a pristine new museum.
Heading home to Vestbanen
The National Museum’s collections will be moved from five current locations to the new building at Vestbanen. More than 5 000 works of art, objects and models will be on public display in the new museum’s 91 exhibition rooms. Others will be safely deposited in internal and external magazines.
300 removal-van trips
The magazines at the new National Museum have 7 000 square metres of floor space, which, together with an exhibition space of 14 000 square metres, will be enough to accommodate most of our collection. A total of 300 transport trips will be needed to move the entire collection to its new surroundings.
Click here to read more about the National Museum’s specialist logistics staff!
An open museum
The foyer of the new Museum will be open and spacious, with information desks, a museum shop, an auditorium seating 174 and a restaurant.
There will be sufficient space for visiting school classes, tourists and other larger groups. This is a major improvement compared to the existing museum buildings, which are hampered by narrow and impractical reception areas.
The museum’s permanent collections will be exhibited on the ground and first floors; design and decorative arts on the lower level, and above, the visual arts from antiquity to the present. The visitor will be able to access the large library as well as the roof terrace from here. The terrace will provide stunning views towards the square in front of the City Hall, the harbour and the fjord.
The Exhibition Hall
On the second floor, the visitor will enter the magnificent Exhibition Hall, the space for temporary exhibitions. The Exhibition Hall is a key element in the new museum’s architecture. With its ceiling height of approximately seven metres and filtered light, it will provide a unique sense of space. The Exhibition Hall will be able to accommodate exhibitions on a scale which was impossible in the previous buildings.
The new museum and the renewal of Oslo
The Opera House at Bjørvika has been received with enthusiasm, and large residential areas and numerous office buildings are being constructed in its neighbourhood.
In total, the building volume is equal to that of the city centre of a medium-sized Norwegian city.
The renewal started on the waterfront just thirty years ago. The closure of the Aker Shipyard enabled the creation of Aker Brygge, a new and traffic-free area near the City Hall. This new area is now being doubled in size with the addition of Tjuvholmen, where the Astrup Fearnley Museum will be the big attraction. This private contemporary art museum and the new National Arts Museum will complement each other, to the benefit of the visitor.
The location of the new National Arts Museum will provide a clear boundary towards the square in front of the City Hall. The building will create an elegant transition between the new area of the city and the older city centre. It does not compete with the City Hall and respectfully bows to the historic buildings along the waterfront. The large building exudes a quiet dignity, reflecting the institution’s role in society.
The Architect's own words
Firmitas was a term used in Antiquity to define one of the most important qualities for a building: it should be solid and lasting.
We live in an age that produces things that soon become obsolete, and that are quickly discarded. This is of course profoundly unecological.
A museum represents the collective memory of the society to which it belongs, values that are important for future generations. The longevity of a museum building therefore becomes doubly important. The materials should stand the test of time, so that the building can age with patina and dignity.
Timelessness is in many ways unobtainable. All objects are marked by their time. But if we try to avoid the sensational, and seek eternal qualities, this building may well become a symbol of the deepest aspirations of our generation. That is our ambition for the new National Arts Museum.