Unlock and Explore! The bicentenary of Norges Bank
19 June 2016–30 December 2016
The National Museum – Architecture, The Vault
The National Museum – Architecture is celebrating the bicentenary of Norges Bank – the central bank of Norway – with this exhibition. The exhibition is unusual in two ways. First, it has been created with a highly select audience in mind: children between eight and 12 years old. Everyone else enters the exhibition at their own risk. Second, although the bank is the main topic of the exhibition, the prelude is the true story of an audacious crime: on New Year's Eve 1935, the notorious master thief Ole Høiland broke into Norges Bank and escaped with a haul of NOK 15–20 million at today's values.
The tale of the bank, the city and the country
The Norwegian Parliament established Norges Bank on 14 June 1816. The chosen unit of currency was the spesidaler. The bank's first headquarters were in Trondheim, with branch offices in Oslo, Bergen and Kristiansand. Gradually 20 branches came to be established in different parts of the country. By examining the history of these branches, we can follow the building of the young nation of Norway, the wars that broke out, and good times and bad. Norges Bank's buildings are good illustrations of official building styles in Norway over the past 200 years. The exhibition provides insight into regional and urban development, and the banks in Bergen, Fredrikstad and Gjøvik are highlighted as examples of architectural styles during different periods.
Glittering objects gathered from the Bank's archives invite visitors to enter. As the title of the exhibition suggests, visitors have to “unlock” doors in order to reveal the objects concealed behind them. There is also a workshop where groups are invited to make their own banknotes.
The National Museum – Architecture is housed in Christian Heinrich Grosch's fine Empire-style building. Purpose-built as a bank, the building was completed in 1830. The exhibition is in the actual bank vault that Ole Høiland succeeded in breaking into through several iron doors, after two failed attempts. The exhibition includes objects, photographs, original architectural drawings, clips from Knut Andersen's film about Ole Høiland, and animations that present an entertaining view of the bank's history as viewed from an architectural perspective.
In cooperation with Norges Bank.