The Directorate for cultural heritage signals protection of Ibsen’s apartment.
In August it was announced that the apartment building that houses, amongst other things, the Ibsen Museum and Henrik Ibsen’s apartment has been put up for sale. Because the building is not listed, it is theoretically at risk of being transformed into something else entirely.
Actor Kåre Conradi (40) is asking the Directorate for cultural heritage to consider protecting the apartment building. Now his prayers have been heard. The Directorate wishes to protect artistic homes to a greater extent. This could mean that the Ibsen Museum will become a listed building.
Kåre Conradi has acted in a number of Ibsen productions throughout his career. He’s started the Norwegian Ibsen Company and this fall he’ll do his one-man-show About Peer at the National Theatre.
To Dagbladet he expresses a wish that the Agency executive of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage, Jørn Holme, and Head of The Cultural Heritage Management Office for Oslo, Janne Wilberg, take time out and think about it.
The exterior is protected
Arbins gate 1 by the Royal Palace in Oslo contains the Ibsen Museum – where Henrik Ibsen lived for eleven years until his death in 1906. It’s the Norwegian Union of Marine Engineers that owns the apartment building, and it’s the union that now wants to sell.
There are indications that the risk of Ibsen’s apartment ending up as a construction site, or that the museum vanishes, is over.
“The exterior of the apartment building is already listed. We will now consider whether all or part of the interior will be protected” says Janne Wilberg to Dagbladet.
A rapid decision
The Cultural Heritage Management Office will in the near future make a safety assessment of the entire apartment building. The warning lights started flashing at Wilberg yesterday when the media and The Directorate for cultural heritage made her aware that the apartment building is up for sale.
“We have the ability to preserve all or part of the building. We will soon decide” says Wilberg.
She has already been in contact with the owners’ attorney. Before any sale takes place, it is important for all parties to be aware of any restrictions and regulations. The owners have received an offer of 70 million NOK, but have rejected it because they think it is too low.
Protection of artistic homes
The Agency executive of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage, Jørn Holme, has delegated his superior authority to Oslo in this matter, but signalled yesterday to Wilberg that artistic homes is on his list of priorities.
“I have urged a stronger protection of our artistic homes” says Holme.
He adds that he will not intervene in the regional administrative processes but makes it clear to Dagbladet that it is he who has the last word – in this case too.
An Ibsen powerhouse
“It seems poorly conceived, as if things have been a bit hasty. Knut Wigert had a vision and fought for it. It was he who had the basic idea for the museum, and what it represents. He’s no longer with us, but many idealists after him have kept his legacy alive” Conradi says to Dagbladet.
Conradi wants to create a greater awareness – an Ibsen-powerhouse – in Arbins gate 1. Not just for the apartment, but the museum also.
“What scares me the most is not knowing what’s going on. It feels a bit retro to go back to just having the apartment, not the museum. It should have been the opposite: the task must be to create something bigger” Conradi said.
Look to Dublin
The actor praises Dublin for what they have got at the James Joyce Centre.
“Unlike the Joyce Centre, Ibsen has actually lived in this apartment building. There is a lot of history attached to the place. Sometimes it’s difficult for Norwegians to know what Ibsen actually means. He has a tremendous political force in many countries, and is perhaps the most famous Norwegian there is.”
” I am never more proud of Norway than when I travel abroad and notice the enormous Ibsen investments out there. The legacy of Ibsen is a legacy that is important to take care of” Conradi says.