January 2007
A snowy day in Oslo

I wanted to visit the Akerhus fortress after seeing it late at night when I arrived in Oslo,
beautifully lit and looming mysteriously across the harbour

the fortress was deserted, paths muffled in snow

this made the weapons of past defence seem superfluous

antique cannon, toothlessly guarding its old city

the elephant handles on these cannon were intriguing, but don't be misled by their age

This fortress saw action recently - coastal defences resisted the Nazi invasion of Oslo in 1941.

An exhibition within documents the wartime history Norway, and the extraordinary courage of local resistance movements.

There were stories of resistance and defiance
- violent and non-violent -
from Nazi school curriculum boycotts to daring (and often costly) guerrilla raids.

Underground newsheets kept the population informed despite German propaganda and censorship. This was very important and courageous, given the frequent discovery and subsequent executions for such activities.

Norweigian resistance was dealt a cruel blow when the Allies misled both enemies and allies into believing a new front would be opened up in northern Norway, a decoy for the actual offensive in north Africa. Many from the local Norweigan resistance subsequently lost their lives.

There was just a tantalising glimpse of how Norweigan merchant navy, having to flee its own shores, helped support Allied shipping efforts.

A map showed markers on coasts all around the world, and I'd love to know some of the stories...

I found this is an intimate, powerful and moving museum - would highly recommend a visit!

the ultimatum delivered by Germany, down the barrel of a gun

frozen dew-drop with gossamer, kingdom of ice

lost in the mists of the harbour, in a quieter time