The Occupation Frieze in the Oslo City Hall

The Occupation of Norway

During world war 2, from 1940-45 Norway was occupied by Nazi Germany. In the City Hall of Oslo is an almost 30 meter long fresco, named Okkupasjonsfrisen (The Occupation Frieze). It shows scenes from the years of the occupation. Some of it is even based on personal experiences of the artist Alf Rolfsen. It was commissioned for the opening of the new Rådhus (City Hall) in Oslo in 1950.

The work is both figurative, narrative and monumental, and is divided into five overlapping sections. A great monument and reminder of those five hard years during the war.

—> You might also like: A Visit to the Oslo City Hall

Here’s a presentation of the different sections:

The ww2 Resistance Norway

The first part depicts the resistance movement aka. Gutta på skauen (the boys in the forest) going into hiding in the forest to plot sabotage operations and other ways to disturb enemy activity in Norway.

Gossip ww2 norway

Meanwhile, news is being exchanged among Norwegian women at the well. Notice the agents in the back…

Fresco ww2 oslo city hall

Enemy planes are coming in, and below you can see the warship Blücher being sunk in the Oslo fjord. The destruction of the Norwegian society has begun.

The occupants are entering people’s homes. Notice the boy with the clenched fist, believed to be based on a personal experience to the artist Alf Rolfsen.

nazi soldiers fresco ww2 city hall oslo

The Nazis continue their destruction, and you can see the Statue of Justice laying broken on the ground.

The resistance movement is plotting their attacks in a basement, and above you can see partisans appearing against the morning sun.

The war is coming to an end, and prisoners are set free, blinded by the daylight.

17 mai norway oslo city hall

—> You might also like: The FRAM Museum in Oslo – Top Rated

In the final part the war is over and the celebration of freedom begins. A 17th of May parade is seen in the back marching forward into a future that we can not see.

I hope you enjoyed this picture presentation of the Occupation Frieze. Make sure to visit the City Hall next time you travel to Oslo. Also check out the YouTube-episode that I made.

Pål Link: Official Oslo City Hall website

Things to do in Oslo

Hei Hei! I’m Pål. Your travel guide to Norway.

Need a local guide in Oslo or advice on travel in Norway?

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Tour guide, travel writer & YouTuber. Passionate about sailing, hiking, history, food, art and travel.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. Brilliant work by the artist Alf Rolfsen in helping us and future generations to remember this history. As is sadly seen again today, we must remain vigilant and maintain the strength to defend against brutal aggression.

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