Even though I really enjoyed coming back to Berlin yesterday, I still have a post or two to share from my time in Norway. Maybe that will help me avoid Norway withdrawals! In particular, I realized that I have yet to tell you about the visit we made to the Nobel Peace Center over Easter. After the Opera House, it was easily one of my favorite sights in Oslo.
The Nobel Peace Prize is chosen and awarded by a committee in Norway — the only Nobel Prize awarded outside of Sweden, Alfred Nobel’s home country, which is something the Norwegians are immensely proud of. According to Nobel’s 1895 will and testament, the Peace Prize should be awarded to:
…the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.
Of course the selection of the awardees is not without controversy. Most Americans will remember the buzz (mixed on all accounts) around President Obama’s 2009 award for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” And apparently international relations have cooled a bit between Norway and China after they awarded Liu Xiaobo with the Peace Prize in 2010 for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”
With all of that in mind, I was curious to check out the exhibitions on view at the Nobel Peace Center. They have a changing exhibition every year featuring the most recent winner of the prize, so we saw a pretty convincing case for why the European Union was chosen in 2012 (although Norway doesn’t even want to join the EU!).
My favorite part, though, was a room called The Nobel Field — featuring all past winners of the prize. Each Nobel laureate’s portrait is featured on a small screen, displaying their photo, the year they won, and why they were chosen. It’s incredibly captivating, and a creative way to represent the physical presence of each laureate in a relatively small space.
In the next room is an exhibition known as The Wallpapers, featuring interactive multimedia screens allowing you to scroll through information about each Peace Prize laureate, as well as about the the prize itself, and the selection process. By sliding a small lever up and down the wall, you have access to an amazing amount of information — but at the same time, you can easily focus in on what you’re most interested in knowing more about. According the the Center’s website, The Wallpapers includes more than 2,800 articles, 1,500 photos, and hundreds of videos. Apparently we were more curious than we thought, because we spent most of our time in this one room!
If you’re ever in Oslo (or you live there!), don’t pass up to the chance to visit the Nobel Peace Center. It’s right on the city’s waterfront, super easy to find, and only 80 NOK for entrance — or free with the Oslo Pass (which we bought for mein Schatz, and I highly recommend).
Have you been to the Peace Center? Who’s your favorite Nobel Peace Prize laureate?