A walk at "Vår Frelsers Gravlund" (Our Saviour's Cemetery)

History and facts and more...

How to get there

On Foot:
From downtown, (about 1 km): From the Parliament, it is about a 10-minute walk to Vår Frelsers Gravlund (Our Savior's Cemetery). Follow the street, Akersgata, to Trefoldighetskirken (Holy Trinity Church) and continue to St. Olav Kirke (St. Olav's Church), located at the end of the street. Turn right when you come to the church; follow the street Akersveien past St Sunniva School (on the right). On your right hand side, you soon will have Vår Frelsers Gravlund, with its entrance right by the small burial chapel.

By bus:
Take bus no. 37 from Jernbanetorget (The Central Station). Get off at Oslo Katedralskole (Oslo Cathedral School) located in the street Ullevålsveien, just across Vår Frelsers Gravlund. You can enter the cemetery from above, where our office is located (Akersbakken 32) or through the gate further down Ullevålsveien. The walk in this booklet starts up at the main office.

Vår Frelsers Gravlund (Our Savior's Cemetery) as a part of a small city walk.
Total walking distance: 2.5 to 10 km. The starting point for our little city walk is Nybrua, the bridge crossing the river Akerselva, next to “Schous bryggeri”  Schous Brewery. This footpath runs right up to Maridalen, where the river has its source. Waterpower from Akerselva was the main reason for the great industrialization in Christiania from the mid-1800s. Many of the old factory buildings have been preserved and restored. Industrialization led to an explosion of population in the city, and the cholera epidemic that broke out in 1833 was the result of slums and poverty. On the west-side of the river was the city's first cholera cemetery located, Ankerløkka, this was used until 1866.

The district “Grünerløkka” is a result of a building boom from 1860 to 1890.Walking along the river you can glimpse old town houses, still used as homes, on your right. The lower parts of this district, once called “New York”, because of the rapid construction and the straight streets. The houses are still appealing and uniform.

Take left, over the bridge when passed the big, green silo on your left hand. Cross over the street “Maridalsveien” and follow the street “Telthusbakken” upward. In the 1500s, this road was a part of the main road in Norway's very sparse network of roads. The houses here were built around 1815. Walking along the street you can see preserved water pumps that was set up in the 1840s. Up to this point, people had fetched their water from the river “Akerselva”. Back then there lived 231 people here. Today’s population is around 60. When you are on top of the hill, “Vår Frelsers Gravlund” is located diagonally across the road to the left. To the right you will see “Gamle Aker Kirke”, Old Aker Church. This is the oldest building in Oslo that is still in use, built around 1080, at a time when one may still have been worshipping the old Viking gods.

This is “Vår Frelsers gravlund”
You do not have to take many steps from the well-kept lawns in the northern part of the cemetary “Vår Frelsers gravlund”, were it differs very little from other cemeteries in Norway. Now you will virtually go into the last century. On the fields east of “Æreslunden” The Garden of Honor, you stand in a forest of ancient, towering grave monuments, stone frames and elaborate cast-iron fences.

Ibsen, Munch, Bjørnson and Prøysen
On the hill, next to the chapel you will find shady pathways and small open fields between the lilac bushes and old trees. The oldest parts of the cemetery is located as far south as you can get. Here it's like everything has remained untouched for a hundred years, as a “Sleeping beauty garden” behind the hedge. What was once planted as a small beautifully miniature tree has now turned in to a big and crooked tree, almost as a Norwegian troll. At the “Æreslunden” you will find names such as Henrik Ibsen, Edvard Munch, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Alf Prøysen, just to mention some of the great personalities who are buried here. You will find beautiful busts and fine tomb-art. It is interesting to see which monuments contemporaries chose to raise over these historic central people.

The atmosphere in the cemetery shifts through the seasons. In this small woodland, right in the middle of town, we can follow all the moods that an open, lush deciduous forest has to offer. In winter, projecting only the highest monuments through the snow. At this time of year, only the main roads are plowed. In return, you will find a rare peace of the graveyard.

Already in February-March, we notice the reddish-brown, shiny buds on horse chestnut. The bloom coming in May-June, if it is ever so exotic, almost as an anticlimax against all this swelling impatience. In winter, when the trees are without leaves, we can study their true being, the frivolous fluttering birch, the ashes grim, black fingers toward the sky, and the maple trees fine pattern of lace.

Today, there is no longer a special congregation connected to “Vår Frelsers gravlund”, as it was in 1808 when the cemetery opened to be a cemetery for “Vår Frelsers kirke”, Our Savior's Church (now Oslo Cathedral). The cemetery was protected in 1969, which means that new graves cannot be opened. Today, the cemetery is only used for urns and can only be used by the families that had existing family tombs before the protection, or in reused older graves.

Some history - Christiania (old name for Oslo) in the 19th century
When “Vår Frelsers gravlund” opened in 1807, Christiania was a small town, with a minor group of rich merchant families. From this time forward, the foundation was laid for Norway's industrial development. The population grew from 8.000 in 1800 to 30.000 around 1840. In the decades ahead, the industrialization really took off, and in 1900 the population had risen to 25.000.

Costly shrines was one way for the rich bourgeois to show the common people their wealth. In this group, which increased very throughout the past century, you find represents from the state of office, merchant families, and the rest of the bourgeoisie. Ordinary people, the common, we find few traces of. It is only after the First World War that the stone monuments became common to all.

Churches and cemeteries
“Vår Frelsers gravlund” was opened due to a royal decree from 1805. This decree required all township churches (Bykirke) to lay their cemeteries outside town. This graveyard replaced the cemetery that lay around “Vår Frelsers kirke”, Our Saviors church, today “Oslo Katedral”, Oslo Cathedral. Priest widow Anna Thulesius was the first one buried here in November 1808.In 1807, there was also a cemetery in Vaterland. This was reserved for the poor and was closed 1811 which resulted in a considerable strain on “Vår Frelsers gravlund”. In 1833, the epidemic of cholera broke out Christiania, and it was established special cholera cemeteries in different districts of town. One of them was Ankerløkken, were the vocational school boarding house lies to day.

From 1839, Ankerløkken was also the town’s ordinary cemetery. This was the burial place for those who could not pay for the attachment of a grave. It closed in 1857 because the graves were under water. It was decided that Sofienberg (now Sofienbergparken) should be purchased to be used as "Gander-cemetery for Christiania town" it was used by the city poor relief system for the funeral of the town residents without money. Here, the dead were buried in mass graves. Again, “Vår Frelsers gravlund” were exclusively for family graves.

In 1185 the so-called “chairrent” repealed, it means that one could no longer pay for permanent seats in the church during high mass. This had been, up until now, one of the church's main income sources. The economy for Church and cemetery now became a municipal concern.The city expanded very much from 1859 to 1878. This led to the need for burials increased. “Vår Frelsers gravlund” was now lying within the city limits, but got a dispensation from the Royal Ordinance of 1805 that said that cemeteries should be outside the city.

In 1884 the cemetery “Nordre gravlund”, Northern cemetery, was inaugurated. This was the first regular cemetery opened in Christiania after “Vår Frelsers gravlund”. "Nordre gravlund” was planned for the future, and the cemetery is still among the most beautiful in the city with its grand avenues and majestic trees. In 1892, “Vår Frelsers gravlund” was full, despite the expansion 10 years before. Again, the cemetery expanded, this time with 750 graves, using the rest of “Tostrupløkken”.  In 1911, it was full again.

The city in the 20th century
Cholera, slums and poverty in the last century has not set noticeable traces to “Vår Frelsers gravlund”. Likewise, the first half of this century, with dramatically fluctuating economic conditions, failure and working class battles, has gone rather unnoticed here. Yes, even from the German occupation during World War 2, we see few memorials, apart from an occasional sober inscription on a young man's grave; "He fell for Norway". Of course, you will find the famous war heroes Viggo Hansteen and Rolf Wickstrøm, their graves, placed in “Æreslunden”, The garden of Honor.

In the years before World War 2 the cholera cemeteries was closed and used for other purposes, perhaps because they reminded too much of a time with funeral practices that no one no longer would stand by.

In 1952, the churchwarden Schwingel suggested closing also “Vår Frelsers gravlund” as burial place, but he was against to change it to a park. This because of the strong traditions related to the monuments at the cemetery, particular to the ones in “Æreslunden”. Today, the whole cemetery is regarded an important historical monument and an important park for inhabitants.

In 1969, it was proposed to protect “Vår Frelsers gravlund” and “Gamle Aker kirkegård” to preserve part of the distinctive cemeteries in their old environment. Since 1991, there has been a systematic assessment of each individual monuments conservation value. The aim is to use the old gravesites without compromising the cemetery's historical value.

Style and fashion
At the beginning of the 1800’s neoclassicism replaces romanticism as the historical style. Neoclassicism has ancient art as model. It focused on rationale paramount, in opposition to romanticism that cultivated feelings. These two artistic trends have left their mark on the cemetery in their own way. Romanticism characterize the entirety. We find shady grove, narrow paths and cliffs that would lead the mind to the wild nature. Represented in Classicism is stronger focus on details, the use of symbols and design of the individual monument, especially in the oldest parts of the cemetery.

Up until 1800’s, it was only the richest that raised tombstones. Industry for stone and cast-ironworks were important contributors for the use of monuments that became more common throughout the 1800’s, also for the middle class. The slightly macabre and grotesque look that we can see at the older tombstones from Baroque (about 1500 to 1750), is now gone. The offensive was no longer in fashion, now one romanticized death. We find no crossbones or skulls on this cemetery.

Grave monuments was neoclassicism main genre next to the “English landscape park”. Therefore, the neoclassical monuments might perhaps be the best and most interesting in the cemetery.

The tradition with graves under the church floor and in tombs inside church was banned in 1805. The result was that tomb art moved outdoors to the cemetery. That it went so quickly to abolish this century-old tradition, show that sense, hygiene and aesthetics stood strong, this, and the tradition feeling was also weakened greatly.

Human life and the human virtues had value in itself. If we read grave epitaphs and funeral hymns of this time, it is noticeable that one preferably praised the deceased virtues. Community spirit was set high, and the cardinal virtues were justice, strength, wisdom and moderation.

Romanticism and styles around 1900
Industrialism brought with it prosperity and wealth, but also poverty, slums and unsightly buildings and urban areas. You can see upon Romanticism as an expression of a desire to forget and escape from this worlds badness that one looked upon on all sides. The "old" became fashionable, feelings stood in the forefront. One worshipped the picturesque, evocative and mysterious, particularly in horticulture and landscape art. The garden and the park would provide a refuge from the world, from factory landscape the gray boredom. Part of the cemetery, is indeed built in a romantic tradition.

National Romanticism was also an expression of a strong national sentiment that prevailed around 1814 and 1905 when the unions with respectively Denmark and Sweden was dissolved. At the cemetery the national romanticism expresses in the form of old Norwegian ornaments and a many meters high, rough chopped monoliths of granite. One can see traces of Jugend and Art Deco, which was transitional styles before functionalism, on some of the monuments and pedestals.

An outstanding example of Art Deco is the shelf on the bust of Gustav Vigeland. Designed by the artist Aasta Hansteen and raised around 1924.

Functionalism is of crucial importance for the image we get of “Vår Frelsers gravlund” today. Simplified we can say that the ideal for beauty in a cemetery under functionalism was unbroken, green lawn surfaces and rough, simple monuments. This has probably been crucial for the almost stereotypical appear and many cemeteries have received. It has at times been such strong restrictions on the height and design of the tombstones that everyone has become almost equal.

A walk through the cemetery
It is rare to see the great dramas and strong emotion expressed in Norwegian tombstones. “Vår Frelsers gravlund" is no exception in this respect. Walking around here between tombstones and portraits can remind you of sitting on a train, looking at the faces of your fellow passengers. You can try to guess the life and stories hiding behind what you see, but you rarely know anything for sure.

We can see tombstones of families who have lost a whole brood of children in just a few years. This was far from unusual in 1800th. The extraordinary is that it was raised a monument, and that the monument is still there to see today. Perhaps we shall be pleased that the simple dates indicating birth and death, does not give us full insight to the parents' bottomless grief.

Old gravestones in a modern environment
The walk starts at the cemetery’s northeastern corner. As we enter the gate, we have field 13 to the right. This field is reserved for the Betanien sisters, trained nurses that worked at Betanien hospital run by the Methodist Church. The hospital was located in Akersbakken just outside the cemetery.

To the left we see the Administrative headquarters of Gravferdsetaten and Kirkevergen in Oslo. The building was designed by Finn Liseth in 1965. The entrance to the distinctive building is located on the ground floor facing Akersbakken, in the building's 4th floor.

The newest part

We are now on the newest parts of the cemetery, on the map you see that it opened in 1873 and 1881. In these decades industrialization had started. Now, there was a growing need for modern communications, the first railways opened and tramcar powered by electricity.

Just inside the gate, on field 14, we see a three-parted monument in granite over Anton M. Lund (1884-1930), an office manager at Norway's main railway.

When we go along field 15 and look down to the left, we see yet another fine, expressive portrait. Actor Fredrik Torp Garman (1850-1907), he was the son of a rope maker in Bergen. In young age, he traveled with theaters and received little or no training. Despite this, he became well known and recognized actor in Norway. He was characterized, hard that it sparkled, always wide, never spelled out."

When we turn around the corner of field 16, we see a powerful neo-classical monument with a bust of Fredrik Wexels (1884-1947). If we throw a glance around us before we go any further, we can see that the environment is very much like a modern, Norwegian cemetery. It is not mysterious, complex and romantic, but open and light. A hundred years ago, it looked very different, almost every grave had a small frame of stone or a low cast-iron fence framing "six foot soil". This marked that the grave was an area, not just a place where the monument stands, as we see it today.

In the 50s and 60s, most of the cast-iron frames were removed. Modern management was with right used as an argument for this practice. Quotes from a letter from cemetery manager Pål Sæland to Bishop Johannes Sememo shows it was also an expression of an esthetic vision "... You write that in the modern cemeteries the emotional, heart specific human get too little attention. I encounter sometimes this sight, and I usually like to ask if he or she believes that the heart specific human particularly lies in the things we would like to remove; in stone frames, earth mounds, etc., which makes the nice personal touches drowning in a gray untidy mass.  I cannot remember that I ever received an affirmative answer on this. The endorsement we have received from grave owner - the city's old families – about removing the frames, has surprised me greatly and reinforced my belief that it is right for the future”.

The years after 1881
Moving further south on the cemetery, to the newest fields after 1881, the picture changes. Here the cemetery also is well kept, but some frames and cast-iron fences have been allowed to stand. The wealthy citizens of these times are richly represented. The rich Christiania n’s is no longer to be counted for among only a few families, as it was at the beginning of the century. The many, and rather alike monuments of stone and cast iron testifies that mass production has made it possible for more people to raise a monument on ones grave. If you take time for a little exploring on these fields, you will find many interesting stories about people's lives and work. Many of the founders of the industry in Oslo is to be found here, including Knut Graah who founded the great Graah spinning mill by the Aker River.

In field 58, we see a nice bust of attorney Henrik Olsen Bjørn Homan (1824-1900). Along with his brother, Peter Jacob Homan, he bought a larger piece of land northwest of the Royal castle where they built 30 beautiful family homes. This area, known as Homansbyen, is a distinctive and exclusive residential area in Oslo.

In field 54, we find the monument to Ludvig Lindemann (1812-1887). He was a composer, but was perhaps more famous at the time as the organist in Vår Frelsers kirke. He delighted the congregation with improvisations every Sunday. Unfortunately, few of them recorded. "He cried himself, the organ was crying and the congregation in the church cried during his tones."

In field 53, we find the tomb of Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812-1885). He collected Norwegian folk fairy tales. We also find Agathe Backer Grondahl’s (1847-1907) tomb in this area. She was the sister of the great Norwegian painter Harriet Backer. She herself, was pianist and composer best known for its charming piano pieces. On the monument, she is portrayed with her husband.

Fields 38-52 contain the oldest graves in the cemetery, although many probably have been lost and replaced with new ones. A few steps from the trail, onto the field 49, is a tall, bright neoclassical monument rising over plant-owner Harald Berg (1823 to 1895). He was co-owner of Christiania Glasmagasin, the famous store down town, and combined this and five glassworks in to one company. Before his time, all attempts to get mills for glasswork operating in this country had failed repeatedly. Norway's Christian Youth Association has raised the beautiful portrait of dean Chr. Hall (1841 to 1911). He worked with young people all his life and started countless youth associations throughout the country. "He had a straightforward and therefore reckoned strong and victorious faith in God's kingdom power." Johan Selmer extends above us in the form of a bust and a shelf inspired by Art Deco. He was a composer and conductor, founded the orchestra association and had otherwise a great influence on Christiania public's musical tastes in the 1880s and 90s. On the same field, you will find a nice, old grave framed with cast-iron fence, "Breiens grav" says melded with squiggly letters.
Union Resolution Plans
In field 46 is a rare example of free sculpture. Hans Georg Jacob Stang (1858-1907) was minister of defense in 1905. When he joined the government in 1900, Norway had several failed attempts behind dissolving the union with Sweden using negotiations. Therefore, he formulated short and sweet his program: to resurrect the Norwegian defense. He meant that this was the only way Norway could ensure the necessary freedom of action under the Union's settlement that he had long considered inevitable. He succeeded with his resolutions.

Oskar Braathen
The writer Oskar Braathen (1881-1939) also has his grave in this field. It has a simple monument in raw granite. His books draws a vivid picture of the people on the east side of Christiania and Oslo. Most famous is perhaps the play "The Kid" and the novel "Wolf's Lair". You find a beautiful bust of him at “Beyer-brua” the bridge that cross the river “Akerselva”.

The small staircase leads up to a hill with great views of “Æreslunden”. The bell tower is on your right, once used as a dinner bell for workers at the cemetery. Notice how the perspective changes as you go along, that things gradually come into view. This is typical of the romantic garden art.

The oldest fields
Continuing across the small plain and down the stairs, you come down on to field 45. The most famous tomb here is the grave of Camilla Collett (1813 to 1895), Henrik Wergeland's sister. Along with Aasta Hansteen she stood primarily among the controversial women of the last century. She wrote, among other things "Amtmannens daughters", Norway's first tendency novel. Otherwise, she is known for her unrequited love for the poet Johan Sebastian Welhaven (1807-1873), her brother's bitter enemy. His grave is located at field 26. Welhaven and Wergeland deeply disagreed and argued in verse in the newspapers' slots.

The Wergeland Statue

At the end of this field, you will find the Wergeland-statue, perhaps the finest monument at the cemetery. Henrik Wergeland (1808-1845) is one of our greatest poets. He was radical and unconventional, a warm advocate removing the clause in the constitution that denied Jews access to the kingdom, and an eager public education man. He is also the originator of the celebration of 17th of May, and arranged the first children’s parade. Jews outside the Norwegian border raised the Wergeland-statue. It is a rare example of Neo-Gothic tomb art, based directly on their role models. It is a Gothic ciborium, like a canopy over an altar, with Wergeland’s bust in the center. A lying torch symbolizes death, and a crowned harp is the symbol of a poet who has won a victory.

Nearby is the monument of Ole Vig (1824-1857), a beautiful but worn portrait of the man. He was a great reformer of school in the last century. It is no coincident that this tomb is located near Henrik Wergeland. They were close friends, and Vig continued and brought on the public information that Wergeland had begun. He worked with starting the first people colleges in Norway, and did important work for the development of the Norwegian normal prose. He had less significance as a poet, but the song "Among all the land" is standing.

The chapel
When we stand by the Wergeland-statue, we can look down on the chapel, built in 1864. Around 1935 it was rebuilt, and expanded with a side alter. The fond wall, decorated with a mural by Per Vigeland in 1940. The chapel received its bell in 1967, previously it was called from “Gamle Aker kirke” for funerals.

The bust of Gisle Johnson, at field 41, is a portrait of an Orthodox theologian. He fought for a more pure Lutheran faith and confession, and was among other things a dogged opponent of Grundtvigianism (Protestantism). On the same field you can find the tomb of theater director Rasmus Rasmussen (1862-1932), equipped with a nice bust. He immigrated to America 18 years old and struggled hard as lumberjack, until he got help by an itinerant theater troupe. He returned to Norway in 1887 and debuted in Bergen the same year. Later, known as folksinger, and as an outstanding theater director in Trondheim and Oslo.

Directly opposite him, we find a fine bust of Jakob Rosted Sjur Walnum (1851-1925). He was a priest and founded the Society for the obstruction of pedlar, later Norwegian mission among homeless people, where he was General Secretary. The first orphanage for homeless children built in 1900, followed by five more.

A little further down, on field 40, you will find an expressive bust of Gina Krog (Georgina Anna Sverdrup Krog, 1847-1916). She was a founding member of Norwegian women's association, and was an uncompromising advocate of women's suffrage. She founded Woman Suffrage Association, but then, when it would go for the right to vote only for wealthy women, she founded National Association for Women's Suffrage. This association raised the beautiful bust of Aasta Hansteen at her grave in 1910 (see this). Close by we find the monument of Hartvig Nissen (1815-1894), famous schoolman and school reformer. He founded a reform school in 1843, a high school based on principles that were brand new in Scandinavia.

Very ancient monuments

In field 39 is one of the oldest examples of real intact tombs, a beautiful neoclassical stonework. Markus Pløen was timber merchant, lived from 1778 to 1836. He came to Christiania in 1794 and was elected to the Parliament. He built a beautiful house at “Høvik Hovedgård”, and was a famous figure in town. “Pløens gate”, Pløens street is named after him. The beehive symbolizes diligence and frugality, along with Mercury's rod, the Greek trading god.

The high cylinder of metal looked upon facing the hedge is an example of the poetisering of death, and highlighting of the deceased virtues was normal during classicism. Blomendal Pettersen was a merchant.

In field 38, we can see several very old monuments with fading font from about 1850. Granite with inset marble were common at this time. Nicolai Andresen (1781-1861) tomb has a Gothic Quatrefoil window, which is rare as ornament on a grave. He was an immigrant to Christiania from Schlesvig-Holstein and was a major banker.

There is a  high stone monument raised over hymn poet Elias Blix (1836-1902). His most famous hymns includes "No livnar det i lundar" and "Gud signe vaart dyre Fedreland”. Such standing stones were common around the turn of the century, when the national romantic currents were at its strongest. They are symbols of power and strength.

The proud and the rich
Justus Heinrich Schwensen was, like Nicolai Andresen, a significant banker and an immigrant from Southern Jutland. He was Christiania’s richest man around 1850. The beech trees has grown large since then, now enveloping the whole tomb in a mysterious half-shade. The monument on field 37 is a rare example of Baroque tomb art at “Vår Frelsers gravlund”.

 The cast iron plate, which is placed on the side, above Hertzberg, is a copy of an empire tomb. A bit further down, we see a tall red tombstone. It is the memorial over Jens Ratke (1769-1855), the first manager at Tøyen botanical garden. He was originally a zoologist and scientist, but because he had to cover teaching, both in zoology, mineralogy and botany at the young University of Christiania (opened in 1811) he was not published as much as he wanted.

Along the hedge, we see a big, monumental tombstone with a ball on top. The monument is from about 1920 and is an exquisite example of total design in 20 years new-empire. Professor Alexander Ludvig Malthe (1845-1928) was a surgeon, and known to have unusually low mortality during surgery. Looking back it is easy to understand this in light of the fact that he had studied and written a lengthy article "About the modern Anti Septic."

Further, into field 38, we find a nice owl raised over prof.med. M. Schjeldrup (1769-1852). The owl is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. Schjeldrup received inadequate education as a child because of a speech impediment (stuttering). In 1789 he travelled to Copenhagen, where he had heard that one could become a physician without being a student in advance. In 1805, he received his official medical exam with the highest degree, and in 1813 he was appointed professor at the Royal Fredrik's University of Christiania. He was a highly valued teacher and some of his popular lectures were published both in Swedish and German.

Bust made by Gustav Vigeland
The first thing that strikes us in this field, is the extraordinarily beautiful bust of Aasta Hansteen (1824-1908), made by Gustav Vigeland. Aasta Hansteen was a painter, but more famous as a feminist. She was radical, hated Welhaven and loved Wergeland. A female writer and speaker was a sensation in itself in Christiania at the time. About her childhood, she has said, "In the 1840s, Norway's Capital was a desert, especially regarding Art. I was lucky to have my precious Father believing in my abilities doing everything to help my development.

In front of the Aasta Hansteen’s bust we find a good example of an intact iron fence. Such fences were very common in the last century. The horizontal monument is raised above the soil to the extent that it is reminiscent of a sarcophagus, a burial custom amongst the noble. Notice that the wife is born Lædel, they were Christianias executioner's family through several generations. OH Nissen at the next grave was the director of prison. He collected and published statistics on inter alia young, poor criminals in Christiania.

If you cross at an angle against the wall to the field 43, you will find a number of interesting tombs. Sigvard (1842-1903) and Laura Gundersen (1832-1898), is a known acting couple in Christiania, study their nice double portrait. Some of us may feel “tran” flavor (cod liver oil) in the mouth as we catch a glimpse of the next grave. There is Peter Møller (1793-1869), who all Norwegians associate with Peter Møllers Medicinal cod liver oil “tran”. He developed a new and faster method for recovery of oil from the cod liver. At the tomb, we can see his portrait along with other pharmacists in the family. Here we also find a particular speaking and distinctive portrait of Teodor Løvstad (1843-1913), musical director and editor. He made a name for himself in the Norwegian journalist's history with his witty pen, as Ka'l Olsen from Vika.

Angel in marble made by Gustav Vigeland 
Down to the left, on field 30, you will see a nice piece of work of Gustav Vigeland. It is a mighty life-sized angel made in marble. It is standing on the grave of the Fabritius family. Nearby are also the burial place of the family Schibsted. Amandus Theodor Schibsted started the newspaper Aftenposten.

Close, on field 32, at the corner toward field 43, you can find the monument of Ivar Aasen (1813-1896), the originator of what we today call “Nynorsk”, one of two Norwegian official languages in Norway . He collected grammar and word of Norwegian dialects. From here, you can also see field 28, with the characteristic monument of Jan Groth. It looks as if the portrait grows organically and directly out of the rock.

“Æreslunden” The Garden of Honor

In the heart of “Vår Frelsers gravlund” lies “Æreslunden” The garden of Honor.  This opened in 1904 with the desire to give the country's big men and women an honorable burial. The first one that got its place here was the painter Hans Gude.

In this part you see only a few Christian symbols. Although some monuments are very simple, they are also a clear tribute to the so-called geniuses. The idea might have been that this was almost over people (supermen) who walked upon the earth. Therefore, one found it not appropriate to chisel into symbols of hope or grace.

It is the City council in Oslo who decides who can be buried in “Æreslunden”. After 1984, according to a resolution in City Council no new burials has taken place. 

List of the people buried in “Æreslunden”, listed in the order they are buried. In several cases, the urn is sat down (or moved from another burial sites) several years after their death.

Hans Gude (1825-1903), one of our great national romantic painters. Along with JC Tidemann he painted including Bridal Procession in Hardanger which hangs in the National Gallery. The tomb is powerful, it almost reminds of a city gate.
Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), play writer and poet, need hardly any presentation here. Lillebil and Tancred Ibsen has also received its burial here.
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832-1910), poet, politician and intellectual “chief”. In front of the National Theater, you can see the statue of him that he, himself characterized as a standalone harassment: "It looks as if I’m in a spitting raise"
Johan Sverdrup (1816-1892), Prime Minister.
Thorvald Lammers (1841-1922), composer.
Thomas Fearnley (1802-1842), painter and close friend of l.C. Dahl.
Richard Nordraak (1842-1866), composer.
Jørgen Løvland (1848-1922), teacher and liberal Left politician. Prime Minister in 1907-1908. Chairman of Noregs Mållag.
Axel Heiberg (1848-1932), businessman and consultant, known for his support of Norwegian sports, science and art. Founder of “Det Norske Skogselskap” (The Norwegian Forest Company).
Johan Halvorsen (1864-1935), composer, violinist and conductor, largely abroad.
Iver Holther (1850-1941), composer, conductor and music editor. Created Christiania City Orchestra in 1890.
Christian Krogh (1852-1925), painter.
Oda Krogh (1860-1935), painter and famous figure of the so-called Christiania Bohemians.
Erik Werenskiold (1855-1930), painter.
Bjørn Bjørnson (1859-1942), actor and theater director, son of Karoline and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. Marcus Thrane (1817-1890), leader of the first labor movement in Norway.
Viggo Hansteen (1900-1941), Supreme Court lawyer and politician. Contributed greatly to avert NS' attempts to control the LO. Was executed at Akershus September 10th 1941 together with Rolf Wickstrøm (1912-1941), club chairman.
Johanne Dybwad (1867-1950), actress and instructor. Played most of Ibsen's female characters.
Nils Chr. Ditleff (1881-1956), writer and diplomat. Norwegian ambassador in Stockholm during World War 2.
Herman Wildenvey (1886-1959), writer.
Edvard Munch (1863-1944), painter.
Olaf (Jacob Martin Luther) Bull (1883-1933), poet. One of this century's most important Norwegian poets.
Sigurd Hoel (1890-1960), author. Also of great importance as a critic and literary consultant.
Carl J. Hambro (1885-1964), the press man, writer and politician. Arranged the Elverum authorization in 1940, which gave the government's work in London a constitutional basis.
Kaja Eide Norena (1884-1968), singer with major tasks in foreign opera scenes.
Martin Tranmæl (1879-1967), politician, editor.
Arnulf Øverland (1889-1968), writer, poet.
Alf Prøysen (1914-1970), writer and folk singer. Retrieved his motives from croft.
Louis Irgens Jensen (1894-1969), composer.
Klaus Egge (1906-1979), composer.
Borghild Hammerich Riefling (1901-1978), General Secretary of the “Danish assistance” that sent food to Norway during World War 2.

In connection to “Æreslunden” is:

JS Welhaven (1807-1873), a writer.
Agnes Mowinkel (1875-1963), actor and director.
Georg Stang (1858-1907), officer and politician.
Camilla Collett (1813-1895), born Wergeland, writer and feminist activist.
Henrik Wergeland (1808-1845), writer.
Peter Chr. Asbjørnsen (1812-1885), writer, naturalist and collector of fairytales.

Continue to field six, notice the long stretch of fine busts on the grave of piano manufacturer Thor K. Hals on field 6. Another grave worth a detour is the grave of MB Landstad (1802-1880), pastor and hymn poet. In 1852, he received a request from the ministry to take on the work of collecting a Norwegian hymnbook. It came out in 1861, but raised criticism because it seemed that he had driven the Norwegian humiliation too far; many popular words and expressions seemed offensive. The psalm book, approved for use in church in 1869, and revised by Gustav Jensen in 1923. The neoclassical monument on Landstads grave is beautiful and well preserved

Source: By the warden of Church in Oslo / Cultural Heritage Management Office / Landscaper mnla Dorte Gjefsen/Kari Haaland Osberg

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