Norwegian sculpture landscape on National Geographic’s top-ten list 

artscape nordland

Artscape Nordland in Nordland County has been named one of the ten best sculpture parks in the world by National Geographic.

Artscape Nordland is an international art project with invited participants from 18 countries. The project was initiated during a debate about the role of art in society, and Nordland country does not have an art museum. Instead, inhabitants and visitors have to travel quite far in order to study modern art in museums and galleries.

Now, the sculpture park is on the top-ten list of the world’s must-see sculpture parks, right next to parks in France, the U.S. and Japan.

“I am happy that it is also possible to comeplete projects of an international standard in small municipalities and a small country like Norway,” says the former Director of Culture in Nordland, Aaslaug Vaa.

Vaa was hired as the county’s cultural director in the mid-eighties, and fought for the project at a time when many of the municipalities did not want to take part in the idea. Now all municipalities are included in the project, but their level of enthusiasm and engagement varies.

“Some of the municipalities really like their sculptures and are proud of them, whereas others are not so concerned with them. Bø municipality is especially proud of their scuplture and uses it as a symbol for the municipality,” says Kristoffer Dolmen, the press contact for Artscape.

The idea of a collection of modern art in the form of sculptures with the landscape itself as an art gallery took shape in 1988, and now 35 sculptures, made by 35 different international artists, are placed in each of the county’s 34 municpalities.

“Beacons, shelters, huts, human figures, pyramids, and other monumental sculptures by internationally renowned artists such as Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley have been installed on rocks, beaches, cliffs, and in fields along northern Norway’s beautiful, remote, and sparsely populated Atlantic coast,” the National Geographic writes. The list is also included in the National Geographic book Journeys of a lifetime: 500 of the World’s Best Hidden ravel Gems.

Dolmen thinks that the recognition by National Geographic will help attract more tourists to the region.

“We never thought that the project would be known internationally. Originally it was just meant to be for the people who lived in Nordland, but now the ball just keeps rolling,” he explains.


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