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Tyrifjorden map Utøya highlight.png
Detailed map of Tyrifjorden, with Utøya encircled in red
Utøya (Norway)
Location Tyrifjorden
Coordinates 60°01′25″N 010°14′53″E / 60.02361°N 10.24806°E / 60.02361; 10.24806Coordinates: 60°01′25″N 010°14′53″E / 60.02361°N 10.24806°E / 60.02361; 10.24806
Area 0.106 km2 (0.041 sq mi)

Utøya (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈʉːtœʏɑ]) is an island in the Tyrifjorden lake in Hole municipality, in the county of Buskerud, Norway. The island is 10.6 hectares (26 acres),[1] situated 500 metres (1,600 ft) off the shore, by the E16 road, about 20 km (12 mi) driving distance south of Hønefoss, and 38 km (24 mi) northwest of Oslo city centre.


Utøya is owned by the Workers' Youth League (Arbeidernes ungdomsfylking, AUF), the youth wing of the Labour Party, which holds an annual summer camp there. The island was given as a commemorative gift by Oslo Trade Union Confederation on 28 August 1950,[2] but also serves as a camp site for other events, including other organizations' summer camps. The island is operated commercially by Utøya AS.[3] The island was a croft until purchased by Jens Bratlie in 1893. Bratlie used the property as a summer residence until 1933 when it was purchased by Trade Union Confederation.[4]

The island is largely forested, with some open spaces. A small pier on the east side of the island is used to ferry people to and from Utøykaia on the mainland. There are also permanent buildings. Hovedhuset ("The Main House"), Stabburet ("The Hórreo"), and Låven ("The Barn") are located together near the dock. Up on the hillside (LO-toppen) are the main campgrounds, the cafeteria building, and the sanitary building. Skolestua ("The school house") is located further south.[5]

The name[edit]

The first element ut means 'out', or 'outermost'; the last element øya is the definite form of øy, meaning 'island'. Utøya is the southernmost (or farthest "out") island of three which lie in the lake of Tyrifjorden. The name is used in reference to its position in relation to two other islands (lying north of Utøya); Storøya (Big Isle) and Geitøya (Goat Isle). Storøya is the northernmost, and Geitøya lies between Utøya and Storøya. All of these islands were formerly used for herding (as is shown in the meaning of Geitøya) by the people at Sundvollen. Utøya is quite clearly connected to the name of Utvika on the shoreside.

2011 massacre[edit]

On 22 July 2011, a mass shooting took place at the AUF's summer youth camp, where 650 young people were staying. Anders Behring Breivik arrived on Utøya dressed as a police officer and told those on the island that he was there for security reasons following the explosions in Oslo which took place a few hours before. He then began shooting at individuals, continuing until the police arrived one hour after the first alarm call. The suspect immediately surrendered.[6] Combined, the attacks in Oslo and Utøya left 77 dead, with 69 killed on the island, 33 of whom were under the age of 18.[7][8][9]

After the attack, several donations were given to AUF for the restoration of the island. Some of the buildings would be demolished, including the cafeteria building where 13 people had been killed.[10] AUF's summer camp in 2012 was held at Bjørkøya (southeast of Brevik in Telemark) under increased security.[11] A ceremony was held at Utøya on the first anniversary of the attacks, attended among others by Jens Stoltenberg, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and Mona Sahlin.[12] The massacre at Utøya remains the deadliest shooting worldwide committed by a single gunman.

The future of Utøya has been the source of disagreements among the victims and family of the attacks. While AUF's plan is to rebuild and return to Utøya, others want to leave the island as a memorial to the dead.[13] On 6 March 2014, it was announced that a slice of rock will be removed from the mainland near the island of Utøya and is the winning design for a memorial to commemorate the victims of the 2011 massacre. Rubble from the 1,000-cubic-metre (35,000-cubic-foot) slice of rock will form part of a memorial in Oslo where Breivik detonated a bomb.[14] Efforts are under way to try to reclaim the island for youthful idealism and relaxed political discourse by opening it up again for summer camps.[15]


  1. ^ Coastline for the property "0612-235/1 Utøen", according to Statens kartverk, http://seeiendom.no/
  2. ^ Store Norske Leksikon: Utøya Retrieved 2011-07-24
  3. ^ "''Utøya 2010 – AUFs summer camp'' (Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking". Auf.no. Archived from the original on 4 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  4. ^ Bergens tidende magasinet 21.juli 2012 s.13.
  5. ^ "Massakren på Utøya (Annotated photo of Utøya)". Haugesunds Avis/Nyhetsgrafikk. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "VGs fotograf havnet midt i bombedrama - hjelper skadede barn". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). 24 July 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Gibbs, Walter (2011-03-31). "At least 93 dead in Norway shooting, bomb attack | Reuters". Uk.reuters.com. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  8. ^ "Norway police lower youth camp death toll to 68". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011. [dead link]
  9. ^ Terrorofrene på Utøya og i Oslo
  10. ^ "Har fått inn 35 millioner kroner på Utøya-fond" (in Norwegian). VG. 2 May 2012. Archived from the original on 18 May 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "AUF-leir åpnet på Bjørkøya" (in Norwegian). Telemarksavisa. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Kandal, Odd Vegard; Bulie, Eivind. "Her tar AUF Utøya tilbake" (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Johnsrud, Nina (5 July 2012). "Splittet om Utøyas framtid" (in Norwegian). Dagsavisen. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26472037". BBC News. 6 March 2014.  External link in |title= (help)
  15. ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-33811197

External links[edit]