Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Monument to witchcraft trial victims in Vardø, Norway by Peter Zumthor and Louise Bourgeois

August 16th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal

The Steilneset memorial opened on June 23, 2011. The memorial is part of the National Tourist Routes project, and was one of the last, major installations designed by the groundbreaking French-American artist Louise Bourgeois.

The art installation in Vardø in the north of Norway was a collaborative effort between Louise Bourgeois and architect Peter Zumthor. Louise Bourgeois passed away in May 2010.

  • Architect: Peter Zumthor &  Louise Bourgeois
  • Location: Vardø, Norway
  • Year: 2011

Steilneset memorial was officially opened on Midsummer’s Eve (Photo Heiko Junge Scanpix)

Steilneset is a memorial to the 91 people convicted of witchcraft and executed in Finnmark County the 1600s. The monument consists of two buildings – a glass construction, which houses the work by Louise Bourgeois, and a 125-metre long memorial hall with a window for each of the victims.

The National Tourist Routes in NorwaySteilneset is a part of the National Tourist Routes in Norway project. These comprise 18 selected scenic routes from Varanger in the north to Jæren in the south, which pass through spectacular Norwegian scenery and have designated stopping places along the way from which modern architecture and works of art can be appreciated.

Photo by Heiko Junge Scanpix

“And this is exactly what we can experience here at Steilneset, far to the north and in the easternmost part of Norway – spectacular art in magnificent and rugged natural surroundings,” stated Queen Sonja in her remarks at the opening ceremony.

The Queen, who has visited several of the other National Tourist Routes sites, expressed great admiration for the project: “The ability of a simple rest area, a footbridge over a rushing river or a stopping place along the road to generate a sense of awe is really quite impressive.”

Steilneset memorial

To date, six stretches of road have been granted full status as National Tourist Routes: Sognefjellet, Gamle Strynefjellsvegen, Hardanger, Helgelandskysten North, Lofoten and Rondane and more than one hundred rest areas have been established. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration estimates that all 18 tourist routes will be fully completed by 2020.


Steilneset memorial

The witchcraft trialsDuring the witch hunt of the seventeenth century, Vardø was the town in Norway with the highest number of convictions and executions for witchcraft. A total of 91 people were convicted and burnt at the stake in Finnmark between 1600 and 1692.

Steilneset memorial

“Steilneset is a symbol of the intolerance of the period, but can also serve to remind us of the prejudices, injustices and persecution that exist today,” stated Queen Sonja in her speech.

The art installation is a gift from Louise Bourgeois, arising from her long-standing commitment to fighting injustice.


Steilneset memorial

Steilneset Memorial

Related posts:

Contact Peter Zumthor and Louise Bourgeois

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Categories: National Monument, Peter Zumthor

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