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The opera at the museum

Today the Opera House in Oslo and the Geopark in Stavanger were added to the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Her Majesty The Queen presented models and architectural drawings of the two facilities as a gift to the museum.


The Opera House designed by the architectural firm Snøhetta has become an icon and key tourist attraction in Oslo. The Geopark, created by the firm Helen & Hard, is a public park for children in Norway’s oil capital, Stavanger. The design of the park is based on the topography of the Troll natural gas and oil field in the North Sea. The park uses materials from the petroleum industry as decoration and as play equipment.

The models of the Opera House and the Geopark will be incorporated into MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design. Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA, explained that the curators in the department had been following developments in Norwegian architecture for some time, and described the internationally renowned architectural firm Snøhetta as the “tip of the iceberg” in a rich and exciting architectural and design community.

Queen Sonja referred to architecture as the leading field in Norwegian design today and welcomed the interest from MoMA:

“MoMA has always been a frontrunner in recognising new innovative developments in the arts. We are all excited by your interest in Norwegian architecture. Today these two models become part of your famous collection – which as you all know - houses models of some of the most important buildings of our time.”

Prior to their visit to MoMA, Their Majesties visited Ground Zero, where terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 destroyed the World Trade Center.

At Ground Zero

A memorial park has been constructed on the site. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum were erected as a tribute to the close to 3 000 victims of the terrorist attacks and to all those who risked their own lives to save the lives of others.

In the two deep “footprints” where the Twin Towers once stood, there are now two Memorial pools featuring enormous waterfalls and edged by bronze panels into which the names of the victims have been inscribed. One of the other main features of the Memorial Plaza are the 200 oak trees, of which one – the “Survivor Tree” – actually survived the 11 September attacks. The Nordic heads of state are gathered in New York to mark the centennial anniversary of the American-Scandinavian Foundation. This morning they each laid a bouquet of white roses at the foot of the Survivor Tree:

Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja laid flowers on behalf of Norway. Sweden's bouquet was laid by Their Majesties King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia. Iceland was represented by President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and Dorrit Moussaieff, and Finland by President Tarja Halonen. Denmark’s bouquet was laid by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary.

The only building in the memorial park is the Memorial Museum. The museum tells the story of the 11 September attacks through photographs, film, personal effects and the stories told by survivors. The pavilion was designed by Snøhetta.

100th anniversary of the American-Scandinavian Foundation

The American-Scandinavian Foundation has held a number of events during the past year to mark its centennial anniversary. These have included in particular three Nordic art exhibitions, the last of which, “Luminous Modernism”, was opened by Queen Sonja yesterday. The celebrations will culminate this evening with a Centennial Ball at the Hilton New York.

All the Nordic countries will be represented on the highest level: King Harald and Queen Sonja, King Carl Gustaf, Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine, President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and Dorrit Moussaieff, Tarja Halonen and Pentti Arajärvi, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary will all be in attendance.


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