If you are visiting Oslo and want to see something completely bizarre, head to the Vigeland Sculpture Park in Frogner.
Vigeland Park is one of the top tourist attractions in Oslo, attracting over a million visitors annually. Proof that it is undoubtedly one of Norway’s more unusual sights.
That is primarily because it features over 200 naked sculptures in all kinds of poses. And it’s also the world’s largest sculpture park by a single artist.
With credentials like that, you have to include it in your Oslo itinerary.
So read on and find out if Vigeland Sculpture Park is worth visiting. Believe me; this is one Oslo attraction you won’t want to miss!
Getting to Vigeland Park by public transport
Vigeland Sculpture Park is within Frogner Park, in the neighbourhood of Frogner in Oslo. It is Oslo’s largest park spanning 45 hectares.
To reach Vigeland Sculpture Park, you can hop on the Line 3 subway from Oslo Central Station to Borgen, and then it’s a 13-minute walk to the park.
Alternatively, take Blue Tram No 13 to Skoyen and walk for 10 minutes to Vigeland Park.
If you prefer to walk all the way, Vigeland Park is 4 km from the centre of Oslo and will take around an hour.
What will you see in Vigeland Sculpture Park?
Prepare yourself for Gustav Vigeland’s visionary sculptures
Oslo’s unique park, known for its extensive collection of over 200 sculptures, is often referred to simply as “Vigeland Park” or (Frognerparken in Norwegian) because of its location in Frogner Park.
Visiting it is one of the free things to do in Oslo and is open to the public all year round.
The Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland created the sculptures, which took over 20 years to complete. They are made from bronze, granite, and wrought iron.
They are arranged in a carefully designed layout within the park, including the Monolith, the Fountain and the Wheel of Time.
Vigeland cast naked sculptures so they would never date. Sadly he passed away before the park was finished, so he never got to see his work in situ.
Your first glimpse of the bronze Vigeland statues is as you enter the park and walk over the 100-metre-long bridge which crosses the boating lake.
These sculptures are your first foray into the Vigeland vision and show men fighting, women nursing babies, children playing and probably the most famous of them all, Sinnataggen (the angry small boy).
He can be seen looking angry, crying and stamping his feet. A Norwegian friend told me that locals rub his hand for good luck. You will see that the area is gold and shiny, where oxidization has occurred, and the patina has worn away.
The Vigeland sculptures primarily depict human figures in various poses and forms, showcasing a wide range of emotions, relationships, and stages of life.
They are bizarre and controversial; you will either love what you see or be dumbfounded by them.
I was astounded by some of the sculptures on display, but then the Norwegians are a more liberal and open-minded bunch than the English!
I feel that certain individual sculptures depict poses that the viewer may construe as unacceptable, and I wonder if this was Vigeland’s intention. You will understand what I mean when you see them!
The Monolith is Vigeland Sculpture Park’s most iconic feature; a towering sculpture carved from a single granite block rising 17 metres into the sky and featuring 121 naked figures.
It depicts a column of intertwined human figures and is a powerful representation of the human journey from birth to death – it is most certainly a talking point!
Around the Monolith are 36 huge stone sculptures depicting all kinds of human emotions.
Take time to view the Vigeland Fountain, an outstanding piece of 20 statues enveloped with trees surrounding the fountain’s pond. Each sculpture represents different stages of life, from birth to old age.
The central fountain sculpture depicts six men carrying a large dish.
Also, check out the Wheel of Life, a sundial representing eternity. It is situated at the top of the hill allowing a focal point with fantastic views of the Monolith and across Frogner.
It is a circle of bodies, children, women and men holding on to one another, representing the continuation of life.
Time to Wander
Although Vigeland Sculpture Park is primarily famous for its collection of sculptures, it is also a beautiful setting in its own right.
Fountains, bridges, flower beds, ornate gates, terraces and interconnecting pathways all lead to Vigeland’s masterpiece, The Monolith.
Visit Vigeland Museum
If you can’t get enough of Gustav Vigeland’s work, pop into the Vigeland Museum on your way home. It contains some of the sculptures’ original casts, his studio and information on the sculptor’s interesting life. The museum is closed on Mondays, and an entry fee exists.
The Oslo City Museum is also in Frogner Park and tells the story of Oslo’s growth over the centuries.
Toilets within the park are located close to the cafe and are chargeable (make sure you have some small change with you. I was caught out and couldn’t use them!)
Final Thoughts on Vigeland
Even though I had seen images and read about Vigeland Sculpture Park, I wasn’t prepared for the intensity of its design.
It’s a thought-provoking place that offers visitors a unique experience, and after visiting it myself, I believe it is an Oslo landmark that can’t be missed.
I was pleased I had seen Vigeland, even though it is probably one of the strangest places I have visited in Europe (apart from Kutna Hora’s bone church in the Czech Republic).
Vigeland is most definitely unique, and I doubt I will ever see anything quite like it again!
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