Coordinates: 60°01′25″N 010°14′53″E / 60.02361°N 10.24806°E / 60.02361; 10.24806
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Detailed map of Tyrifjorden, with Utøya encircled in red
Utøya is located in Norway
Coordinates60°01′25″N 010°14′53″E / 60.02361°N 10.24806°E / 60.02361; 10.24806
Area0.106 km2 (0.041 sq mi)
Additional information
Official websiteutoya.no

Utøya ([ˈʉ̂ːtˌœʏɑ] ) is an island in the Tyrifjorden lake in Hole municipality, in the county of Viken, 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.


The ferry MS Thorbjørn at the arrival pier at Utøya. The nearest white-painted house is one of the original houses on the island.

Utøya is owned by the Workers' Youth League (AUF), a youth group associated with the Labour Party, which holds an annual summer camp there.

The island is operated commercially by Utøya AS.[2]

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.[3]

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.


The island was a croft until purchased by the politician Jens Bratlie in 1893. Bratlie used the property as a summer residence until 1933 when it was purchased by the Trade Union Confederation.[4]

The island was given as a commemorative gift by the Oslo Trade Union Confederation on 28 August 1950,[5] and it has hosted several political organizations' summer camps.

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 alone 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 he caused 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 massacre[edit]

According to the island's manager (as of 2016), Jørgen Frydnes, "Rapidly it became clear, that ... [the bereaved]needed more time. [Construction work, or] The construction was put on hold for two years".[10]

After the attack, several donations were given to AUF for the restoration of the island. Some of the buildings would be demolished, including parts of the cafeteria building where 13 people had been killed.[11] Some of the buildings had been demolished, as of 2016.

With some disagreement having been bridged (as of 2016), the future of Utøya has been a source of disagreements among the victims of the attacks and their families. While the AUF planned to rapidly rebuild and return to Utøya, others wanted to leave the island as a memorial to the dead.[12]

The massacre at Utøya remains the deadliest mass shooting worldwide committed by a single perpetrator.[13]

Places and buildings[edit]

Bays on the island's coastline include Bolsjevika.[14]

There are paths including Kjærlighetsstien[15] (lovers' lane or 'the love path').[14]

A hill – "used by discussion [groups]" leads to [a barn, according to its name,] Arbeidsmiljølåven.[14] Other buildings are "the café building" and the pump house.[14]

As of 2016, ["the hill"] "Bakken" is used by the audience for speeches.[16]

Memorial place[edit]

The place of memorial is called Lysninga ("the clearing"); a part of it is Ringen ["the ring"].

The place of memorial is called Lysninga ("the clearing") which lies at the highest point of the island.[17] It was unveiled during the summer of 2015.[18][19]

Components of the memorial place include Ringen ("the ring") – a "ring of steel [that] hangs between trees and here the names and age[14] of the majority of those 69 killed are engraved".

The 'ring' weighs one (metric) ton; one part of it weighs 350 kilograms. Alice Greenwald gave advice about leaving some space on 'the ring', so that some of the bereaved can later change their mind – so that their deceased relative's name is permitted to be engraved on it.[10][20]

Hegnhuset ("safeguard house")[edit]

Hegnhuset in 2017
Photo from 2012. In 2014, the AUF decided not to tear down the building.[21]
Photo from 2012. Thirteen people were killed inside, and several youths escaped or jumped out of open windows.

Hegnhuset – consists of "parts of the café building (kafébygget ) ..., where 13 people were killed ..., [that] have been preserved (as of 2016); around- and under the café building – a læringssenter ("learning center") " has been created;[14][22][23] 69 columns support the roof,[14] inside the glass walls (of the exterior of the building).[24] 495 "safeguarding" planks – positioned vertical in the ground – enclose the building; with space – svalgang – between the planks and the building.[24]

"The house will protect the memory of the 69 who were killed at Utøya", wrote the father of one of the massacre's survivors in a newspaper article.[14]

The building has been named Hegnhuset – "a place that shall safeguard (hegne) democracy".[25] A synonym of hegn is the imperative form of the verb "safeguard"; therefore Hegnhuset can mean "safeguard house" (with the determinate conjugation of "house").

Inside the café building, preserved (as of 2016) are bullet holes in walls, "the open windows where several youths jumped out to escape" the murderer; an old chart (that was there in 2011) that says "you must know the past, to understand the present and peer into the future", and pictures of dead victims; at least one heart-shaped stone, with the inscription "Missing you [singular]", lies on the floor.[26]

In lillesalen ("the small hall") there is a piano; one was there during the crime. Court testimony has indicated that persons hiding behind the piano on 22 July 2011 were shot.[27]

In 2016, Oliver Wainwright named it one of the "top 10 buildings of 2016", adding that "the Hegnhuset on the island of Utøya makes a simple, powerful record of an event that shook the very foundations of Norway's national identity. The cafe building, where Anders Breivik murdered ... before killing a further 50 on the island, has been retained as a stark relic, its walls sliced with Matta-Clark rawness, and encased in a simple timber and glass pavilion".[28]


  1. ^ Coastline for the property "0612-235/1 Utøen", according to Statens kartverk, http://seeiendom.no/ Archived 14 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Utøya 2010 – AUFs summer camp (Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking". Auf.no. Archived from the original on 4 September 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Utøyagrafikk". Adressa.no. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  4. ^ Bergens tidende magasinet 21.juli 2012 s.13.
  5. ^ Store Norske Leksikon: Utøya Archived 1 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 July 2011
  6. ^ "VGs fotograf havnet midt i bombedrama – hjelper skadede barn". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). 24 July 2011. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
  7. ^ Gibbs, Walter (31 March 2011). "At least 93 dead in Norway shooting, bomb attack | Reuters". Uk.reuters.com. Archived from the original on 20 October 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Norway attacks: The victims". bbc.com. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  9. ^ Terrorofrene på Utøya og i Oslo
  10. ^ a b Astrid Hauge Rambøl (22 July 2016). "Med Utøya som arbeidsplass". Klassekampen. pp. 28–9.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ Johnsrud, Nina (5 July 2012). "Splittet om Utøyas framtid" (in Norwegian). Dagsavisen. Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  13. ^ Herring, Keely; Jacobson, Louis. "Is Barack Obama correct that mass killings don't happen in other countries?". www.politifact.com.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Kjell-Erik Nordenson Kallset (1 July 2016). "Tar tilbake Utøya". Klassekampen. p. 2.
  15. ^ https://www.dagsavisen.no/debatt/kommentar/2023/06/15/varige-spor/. Dagsavisen. Retrieved 2023-06-17
  16. ^ "– Vi gikk langs kjærlighetsstien i går, og noen hadde sterke reaksjoner". Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  17. ^ Publisert 1 (19 July 2016). "50 turer dagen til Utøya på det meste". Nrk.no. Archived from the original on 20 July 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  18. ^ Gabrielle Graatrud (18 June 2016). "Etterlatte frykter at 22.juli-minnestedet blir en bauta over gjerningsmannen". Dagbladet.no. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  19. ^ "No shame in turning around!". Dagbladet.no. 4 April 2016. Archived from the original on 6 June 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  20. ^ About the Memorial Site 22 July at Utøya itself Archived 20 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine utoya.no (in Norwegian)
  21. ^ "AUF lar kafébygget på Utøya stå". 2 July 2014.
  22. ^ "Kafébygget på Utøya åpnes igjen". Vg.no. 19 July 2016. Archived from the original on 22 July 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  23. ^ "Hegnhuset symboliserer de drepte på Utøya". Nrk.no. 18 July 2016. Archived from the original on 18 July 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  24. ^ a b "Nødvendigheten og minnene". dagsavisen.no. Archived from the original on 22 July 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  25. ^ Åshild Lappegård Lahn (18 July 2016). "Vil hindre at det skjer igjen". Klassekampen.
  26. ^ "Kafébygget på Utøya åpnes igjen – VG". Vg.no. 19 July 2016. Archived from the original on 22 July 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  27. ^ Av Per Erik Hagen (20 April 2012). "Breivik husket ikke skyting i Lillesalen på Utøya". Budstikka.no. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  28. ^ Wainwright, Oliver (5 December 2016). "Oliver Wainwright's top 10 buildings of 2016". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 17 December 2016. Retrieved 16 December 2016.

External links[edit]