“The King thought that Christiania also should have something uniquely its own”. This was the answer Artur Hazelius received in 1888 when he wanted to raise a replica of the stave church from Gol at Skansen open-air museum in Stockholm. (Hazelius was the founder of Nordiska museet, Sweeden’s largest museum of cultural history.) King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway did not agree with this idea!
The stave church at Gol was built in the 12th century. From the 1600s to early 1800s, the structure went through several renovations and alterations. In the 1870s, however, the congregation had become too large, so the old church was replaced by a new and bigger church.
In 1881, the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments bought the stave church, and King Oscar II offered to finance its re-erection in the public park at Bygdø Kongsgård. Because the snow conditions for sled transportation was too poor, the disassembled church could not be moved to Christiania (Oslo) before in January 1884! In the summer that same year, the church was re-erected at Bygdøy.
When the stave church was disassembled in 1884, it had been and altered and remodeled both in 1664 and 1802. Hans Gude’s drawing from 1846 clearly shows this. When re-erected at Bygdøy, only the basic interior structure was reused. The exterior was modeled after Borgund Stavkirke in Sogn on the Norwegian west coast.
Panorama view of interiorPanorama view of the exterior and the Collections of King Oscar II
The Stave Church from Gol in the Collections of King Oscar II at Norsk Folkemuseum