Visit the area where Edvard Munch grew up and get a whiff of what Oslo was like in the late 1800s.
If you are interested in the places in Munch’s life and would like to get an idea of what Oslo was like when Munch was living here, a stroll around the borough of Grünerløkka is recommended. Munch spent most of his childhood in this area. It is not possble to visit any of Munch's old apartments. However, all the buildings where he and his family lived are still intact, in what is one of Oslo’s best kept areas with architecture from the latter part of the 19th century.
Munch’s addresses at Grünerløkka
Edvard Munch and his family moved from Pilestredet in the city centre to the newly established Grünerløkka and Thorvald Meyers gate 48 in 1875. The lively Torvald Meyersgate has been Grunerløkka’s main street since Munch’s times.
During the period 1877-1882, the Munch family resided in an apartment in Fossveien 7. While living here, Munch’s sister Sofie died of tuberculosis. This was both a devastating and defining experience for Munch, later rendered in the painting Death in the sick room and several other works. The family also lived in Fossveien 9 for some time.
Olaf Ryes plass 4 was the Munchs’ home from 1882 to 1883. The buildings that surround this square today are by and large the same as when young Edvard lived here.
Schous plass 1 was the last address Edvard Munch shared with his family, from 1885 to 1889. At this time he was established as an artist, and the first versions of the groundbreaking painting Sick Child was painted here. Today, the building houses Edvard coffee bar, where you can enjoy an espresso in honour of the late tenant.
Telthusbakken and the honorary cemetary
Edvard Munch’s burial site is located only a short walk from Grünerløkka. If you follow Helgesens gate westwards you reach a recreational area called Kuba, where you can cross the Akerselva river. On the other side of the river is the picturesque Telthusbakken, which Munch painted on different occasions while living in Fossveien. At the top of the hill you’ll see Vår Frelsers Gravlund, where Munch is buried on the honorary cemetery along with several other Norwegian notables.
Map of Grünerløkka plotting the addresses mentioned above:
Map by Google maps. Photo credits, from left to right: © NatalieManyor (CC BY 2.0); Old Aker church © Munch-museet/Munch-Ellingsen-gruppen/BONO; Olaf Ryes Plass © Munch-museet/Munch-Ellingsen-gruppen/BONO.
Sources: Frank Høifødt. 2002. Munch in Oslo. Damm; www.munch-museet.no