Norway is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world, but when I think back on my time in its capital, Oslo, only one word comes to mind: Grey. Grey skies and gray water; gray buildings and a decent amount of grey-looking food; gray expressions on peoples' faces and a gray rain trailing behind me as I headed west toward the gorgeous city of Bergen the day I left.
To be sure, the place in Oslo I'm about to write about is primarily gray in color, on account of the stone sculptures that dot its footprint. But that's where the boring aspect of Vigeland Park ends: An erotic celebration of human sexuality, it's certainly the least boring place in Oslo, and maybe all of Scandinavia.
The History of Vigeland Park
Vigeland Park's origins date back to the 1930s, around three decades after Norway and Sweden dissolved their union, which granted Norway its independence. Norway had yet to amass the oil wealth that currently makes it, by some counts, the wealthiest nation on the planet and an artist named Gustav Vigeland was nearing the apex – and, unfortunately, the end – of his career and his life.
In 1939, when Vigeland started building sculptures in a section of Oslo's Frogner Park that would eventually bear his name, he was most famous for having designed the Nobel Peace Prize Medal. But while Vigeland would be dead by the end of the next decade, he would have already achieved infamy thanks to the massive scale of his masterwork, known in Norwegian as Vigelandsparken.
Oh, and did I mention that nearly all the park's sculptures depict some kind of nudity or sex?
Sculptures in Vigelands Park
Vigeland Park is home to 212 sculptures, which are made from bronze and granite, and cover an area of more than 79 acres. Obviously, you could spend an entire day exploring Vigeland's celebrations of the human body, but a few stand out among the others.
The most notable erotic sculpture in Vigeland Park is the aptly-named Monolith, a 42-foot tall phallus that is composed entirely of naked men stacked on top of one another, with particular attention given to their rear ends. Another famous sculpture in Vigeland Park is Sinnataggen, which depicts a baby that is very angry – and very naked.
How to Visit Vigeland Park
Vigeland Park is easy to reach from anywhere in Oslo, although I recommend taking public transportation to save money (taxis are exorbitant in Norway) and time (although you could walk, it'll take you at least an hour from most places in the city).
To reach Vigeland Park, ride the Oslo tram line to "Frogner Plass" station, from which you...well, walk until you reach the massive obelisks made of naked men. Can it really get more simple than that?
One amazing thing about Vigeland Park, which is particularly amazing when you consider the generally exorbitant cost of traveling in Norway, is that entrance to the park is totally free. Adding to the awesomeness is the fact that the park is open 24 hours per day, which is particularly nice during summer when the sun can stay up until well after midnight.