10 Exhibitions to Visit in Norway this Spring

by Paul Joseph  |  Published March 30, 2022

With the days getting longer and the weather warmer, spring is a great time to visit Norway, with many exhibitions also taking place here during this time of year.

(Photo: Salvador Dalí (1904–1989) Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937 Oil on canvas, 51.1 × 78.1 cm Tate. Purchased 1979, T02343 Photo: Tate; © Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation/BONO 2022)

Venture beyond its encompassing mountains, vast glaciers and deep coastal fjords and you’ll soon find that Norway is also a hotbed of culture. Each year, museums across the country play host to exhibitions spanning everything from art to history to geology, and more besides. If you’re visiting Norway during the coming spring months, here are 10 great exhibitions to look out for.

The Savage Eye

Through various thematic perspectives and a range of media, this landmark exhibition will shed new light on the history of Surrealism. With the idea of the unconscious as a turning point, it traces the roots of Surrealism in Symbolism and shows how the two art movements both reflect each other and overlap. Some of the most significant artists in modern art meet here in the murky depths of the human mind, where logic and morality give way to dreams, disturbing impulses, and unbridled desire. Notable artists whose work features in the exhibition include Salvador Dalí, Vincent van Gogh, Louise Bourgeois, and Pablo Picasso, and Marcel Duchamp.

Munch Museum, Oslo / Through 8 June 2022

The Will to Change the World

(Photo: Kim Reksten Grønneberg / Nobel Peace Center)

Since 1901, the annual Nobel Peace Prize has highlighted individuals and organizations that have helped to create a better and more peaceful world. From peace negotiations and relief work to nuclear disarmament, climate change mitigation and international cooperation, the history of the prestigious award has revealed many different solutions to the world’s most crucial and difficult challenges. This exhibition invites visitors to get to know the Nobel Peace Prize a little better, as well as the man who created it and the force for change it represents. In a playful and inspiring way, it tells the story of Alfred Nobel and shows how the prize has evolved over time.

Nobel Peace Center, Oslo / Permanent

Far, far away he saw something shimmering like gold

(Photo: Knut Henrik Henriksen / Courtesy Vigeland Museum)

Known for his site-specific installations, often based on architecture and building traditions, this exhibition showcases the work of acclaimed Norwegian visual artist Knut Henrik Henriksen. In the exhibition, Henriksen lays out traces and signs related to wandering, living, learning, and being. The focal point is a wall inspired by Theodor Kittelsen’s painting “Far, far away Soria Moria Palace shimmered like Gold” – a kind of analogue pixelation of the famous painting that was inspired by the eponymous Norwegian fairy tale. By utilising panels painted with various colours, visitors gain a distinct impression of the Norwegian landscape and the notion of Soria Moria, which shimmers like an architectural sunset.

Vigeland Museum, Oslo / Through 22 May 2022


(Photo: Calle Huth/Snøhetta)

Designed by the world renowned architect firm Snøhetta, this exhibition contains some of the most exquisite objects that exist from the Norwegian Viking Age. From their numerous journeys out into the world, the Vikings returned home with riches and new ideas. Visitors to the exhibition can see incredible gold and silver treasures from distant shores that have been found in Norway, the world’s best-preserved Viking helmet, and magnificent swords, jewellery and weapons. They can also Bccome acquainted with Viking war culture and their journeys, and how society changed during the Viking era.

The Historical Museum, Oslo / Permanent

Scandinavian Design and the USA, 1890–1980

(Photo: Tapio Wirkkala, Soinne et Kni, «Leaf Tray», 1951–1954 © Milwaukee Art Museum, by John R. Glembin)

Bringing together industrial design, toys, graphic design, textiles, clothes & furniture, this exhibition explores almost a century of design that evolved through encounters & exchanges between Scandinavia and the US. The design-historical round trip traces the great emigration from Norway and neighbouring countries in the late 19th-century and the invention of the term Scandinavian Design in the 1950s. It delves into the ways that identity building, stylistic trends, and politics influenced perceptions of the objects we gather around us.

National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo / Through 7 August 2022

A World of Beads

Beads are among the oldest objects known to man, having been utilised by humans worldwide for thousands of years – and in countless different ways. They have been used as talismans in prehistoric and modern societies, as status symbols in the ancient world, as religious articles, and as a medium of trading at all times. Among today’s indigenous people, pearls have had – and still have – great value, representing far more than just personal adornment. This exhibition presents beads, costumes and photos from 31 different ethnic groups spanning five continents, exploring how beads have been made and used down the ages, and what function they have today.

Maihaugen, Lillehammer / Through 16 Auguat 2022

Nora Adwan – Sang i et fremmed land

(Photo: Nora Adwan / Courtesy Astrup Fearnley Museet)

London-born artist Nora Adwan has gained wide acclaim for her blending of images and poetry with personal narratives to create compelling sculptural audio and video installations. This new commission continues in that vein by once again drawing on her own experiences to explore issues of migration, displacement and statelessness. A video installation features an oval architectural structure in which a new video work is seamlessly projected, thus enveloping the audience for an immersive sensation as it investigates cultural alienation, inherited traumas, censorship, and other diasporic perspectives.

Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo / 23 April – 7 August 2022

Natural Born Killers – Predators in Norway

Presenting Norway’s thirteen species of natural predators – from the smallest little snow mouse to the polar bear – this exhibition explores the lives of these great wild beasts and their role in modern Norway. While many of these creatures evoke strong, resonant emotions, others remain somewhat under the radar. The exhibition also provides a platform for a wide range of different views – from the farmer to the hunter to the tourist – on what Norway’s population of predators mean to them.

Alta Museum, Alta / 2 October 2022

Witnessing Oil

(Photo: Shadé B. Martins, Norwegian Petroleum Museum)

Dinosaurs wandered on planet earth at the same time as the reservoirs in well-known Norwegian oil and gas fields were being deposited. This exhibition looks into that age,  when the likes of the Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex coincided with the creation of reservoirs that have played a crucial role in Norway’s geological evolution. It features a spectacular dinosaur display complete with animatronics that bring the exhibits to life, all designed to entertain visitors while educating them on this fascinating aspect of the earth’s history

Norwegian Petroleum Museum, Stavanger / Through 30 September 2022

Reciprocally Yours

It is agreed by many that while western aid and trade policies tend to be executed in the name of democracy and presented as a mutual good, they inevitably have connections to economic interests that require cooperation with corrupt regimes. Created by acclaimed visual artist Marianne Løvvik, this exhibition explores the intersection between democratic processes and ethical obligations, and in doing so serves to question democratic states’ self-awareness in international processes.

Narvik War Museum, Narvik / Through spring 2022