The Utøya Memorial Site is Officially Open

The Utøya Memorial Site at Utøyakaia officially opened on June 18 2022, and the Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre gave a heartfelt speech during the opening ceremony. The memorial site is to remember each of the 77 victims of the July 22 terrorist attack.

The memorial site itself is located at the pier where the ferry between the island Utøya and the mainland is. This makes it possible to visit even without booking a ferry over to the island.

Memorial Site at Utøya
Memorial Site at Utøya. This is not the new memorial site at the pier, but rather one that’s on the island itself. Photo by Human-Etisk Forbund / CC BY-SA 2.0.

The memorial itself is 77 large bronze pillars that form a curved question mark. Each pillar is three meter tall, and there’s one for each victim.

The Memorial Site is mostly these big pillars, with room for your own reflection. There is not a lot of info about the attack itself, so it’s nothing like a museum or place to go to learn about the attack.

Sorry for the lack of photos. The memorial site opened just a few days ago, and I have not been able to get there to capture photos of it yet. This article will be updated once I get a chance to visit.

Main house at Utøya
The main house at Utøya. Photo by henninghafskjold / CC BY -SA 3.0.

Getting to Utøya Memorial Site at Utøyakaia

The Utøya Memorial Site is found close to the harbor MS Thorbjørn that travels between the mainland and Utøya island. To get there from Oslo, drive south on E18 to Sandvika, then change to E16. Follow E16 until you see a big sign that says “Nes i Hole”. This road is called Utstranda, and you simply follow this until you see the sign for the parking lot at the memorial site.

The drive from Oslo is only 45 minutes in total. It’s very tricky to get to the memorial site by public transport as of 2022.

The memorial site is open to anyone, is free of charge, and can be visited at any time.

MS Thorbjørn is the ferry between the mainland and Utøya
MS Thorbjørn is the ferry between the mainland and Utøya. Photo by Human-Etisk Forbund / CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Utøya Memorial Site was supposed to open last year

July 22 2021 was the 10 year anniversary of the attack, and the memorial site was slated for an opening at this date. However, construction took longer than planned, and the entire project was delayed by almost one year.

This was unfortunate, but at least they managed to get it ready for the 11 year anniversary later this year. There was a lot of national debate about the memorial site, and the neighbors living in the area have been protesting it. While this might seem like a terrible idea to protest, their reason was that they wanted to move on, and not having to look at a big memorial every day. This reminds them of the attack, which most of the inhabitants got affected by.

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