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Remembering Høyblokka: The Government Building in Oslo, Norway — Confronting a Contemporary Heritage Dilemma

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Publication details

JournalThe Historic Environment: Policy & Practice
DatePublished - May 2015
Issue number1
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)58-73
Original languageEnglish


On 22 July 2011 a Norwegian extremist, Anders Behring Breivik, singlehandedly committed two terror attacks against the Norwegian Government: he bombed and damaged Høyblokka and the Government Quarter in Oslo; before travelling out to the island of Utøya, for the Labour Party’s annual youth camp, where he killed 69 people and seriously injured 33 in a shooting spree. This paper will focus on the first of these attacks, with a view to critically assessing the significance of heritage values in relation to terrorism and national identity and how these values were discussed and articulated by the Government, media, and public in the aftermath of the attack. The terms ‘difficult’ and ‘dissonant’ heritage have received significant recent attention. The example of Høyblokka, however, addresses them within the related contexts of nationalism and national identity, as opposed to global acts of terror (e.g. the Twin Towers, in which ‘The West’ was targeted) or local examples in which the heritage place was incidental (e.g. Port Arthur). We ask the question: does this focus on national identity raise specific issues with regards to cultural heritage value and heritage protection and, if so, how should (and can) society respond?

    Research areas

  • Dark heritage, Terrorism, 22 July 2011, Hoyblokka, Oslo

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