City Hall Oslo  

OSLO – The 2004 WCF World Congress will be organized by the 'Nordisk Selskab for Campanologi og Klokkespil' (NSCK). The Society comprises five Scandinavian countries: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland. The City of Oslo, capital of Norway (population 500,000), will host the Congress which runs from Sunday, 27 June to Thursday, 1 July 2004.

Afterwards, Congress participants may spend a few extra days travelling in Scandinavia before joining the international masterclass to be held in Løgumkloster, Denmark, starting on July 7 and ending on July 11.

On various programmes and leaflets, the carillon of the City Hall in Oslo is heralded as The voice of the city, which is also the title of the first Norwegian carillon CD issue. The voice of the city is also the promotional theme and motto for the forthcoming Congress.

At present, there are seven carillons in Norway. An eighth instrument is currently under construction and will be installed in the tower of Oslo Cathedral next year. Funds for this new carillon were generously donated by a wealthy citizen of Oslo. The bells have already been cast by the Olsen Nauen bellfoundry of Tønsberg. Five carillons will be included in the Congress programme: both carillons of Oslo (City Hall and Cathedral), the carillon of Sandefjord (25 bells cast by Schilling) and the carillon of Bragernes Church in Drammen, an instrument of 35 bells cast in 1961 by the Bergholtz bellfoundry of Sigtuna, Sweden and, of course, the travelling carillon of 52 bells by Olsen Nauen will also be available.

The oldest carillon of Norway is located in Stavanger on the west coast of Norway. In 1922, a shipping company gave a 22 bell instrument cast by the Warner bellfoundry of England. Later, this instrument was enlarged to 49 bells by Olsen Nauen. The Cathedral of Trondheim installed a carillon of 37 bells by Olsen Nauen in 1976. In 1983, the same founder installed a carillon of 26 bells in Molde Cathedral.

In Oslo, the City Hall's first carillon was installed in 1952, consisting of 38 bells. The four largest bells were cast by Olsen Nauen; the 34 other bells came from the Causard foundry. As the Millennium was approaching, and with the City of Oslo celebrating its 1000th anniversary and the City Hall its 50th, it was decided to install a new, enlarged carillon. The order was subsequently given to Olsen Nauen bellfoundry. With its 49 bells and a total (bronze) weight of 19,671kg, this instrument is now the largest carillon in the Nordic countries. A new North European standard keyboard was also installed. The Festival Bell is the biggest bell in Norway with a weight of 3,900 kg and a diameter of 1.88 meters (6'-2"). The inauguration took place on the top of the eastern tower of the City Hall in December 1999 (bitterly cold!).

A major part of the Congress will be held at Oslo City Hall, which is situated in the city centre and is within walking distance of the Royal Palace and the Parliament Building. Located on the waterfront and overlooking the bay of Oslo Fjord, the City Hall reflects the historic role of Oslo as capital of a seafaring nation. This magnificent building is the political and administrative heart of Oslo. The City Hall was officially inaugurated in 1950; it has an important place in the history of Norwegian art and architecture and stands as a monument to the main artistic movements from the middle of the 20th century. In addition to being a work place for some 450 municipal employees and politicians, Oslo City Hall also attracts more than 10,000 guests, visitors and tourists every year.

Since 1990, Oslo City Hall has been the venue - every 10th of December - for the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize. This ceremony, which is broadcast live on television throughout the world, has been a significant factor in making Oslo City Hall an important tourist attraction for visitors. This year, carillon music will welcome the procession of Peace Prize winner(s) and royal guests as they approach the City Hall. The City Hall is also an arena throughout the year for 400 or more large and small functions, receptions, banquets, award ceremonies and civil confirmations.

On New Year's Eve 1999, eighty thousand citizens crowded Oslo City Hall Square to witness and celebrate the turn of the the Millennium. The festivities were also organized to celebrate Oslo's one thousand year anniversary. Naturally, the carillon was played on this special evening, in combination with a large fireworks display.

More specific tourist information about Oslo, including numerous pictures, can be found on the website: www.oslopro.no. Best to select the English text version.