The history of The Saga Column
As early as 1836 the poet Henrik Wergeland issued a call to the Norwegian people to build a memorial to mark Norway’s independence, enshrined in the Constitution of 1814. The monument was to be built outside the parliament building in Eidsvoll and was to be called “Eidsvollsøyla” – the Eidsvoll Pillar. The sculptor, Wilhelm Rasmussen, won the competition to design the monument. The pillar’s decoration represents the history of Norway from the unification of the country in 872 up to the National Congress in 1814.
On its top is the first King of Norway, Harald I on horse.
Unfortunately Willhelm Rasmussen joined the Nazi party before the war and supported the Nazis during the war. The style of the sculpture also coincided with Nazi preferences and propaganda during the war (he even created a similar, but much smaller, explicitly Nazi monument in Stiklestad which was torn down and buried immediately after the war). Therefore the Parliament decided that it should never be raised. However, Aasmund Elveseter, an art lover (who actually fought the Nazis during the war) had the column completed. In 1992 it was erected ‘in the middle of nowhere’ – at his hotel – as the Saga Column.
Pictures by unknown photographer