Opinions This is a debate post. The post expresses the writer’s views.
Noisy interest associations, outspoken local people and wooed national politicians are to thank for the fact that Gol Stavkirke and Jotunheimen have advanced from municipal to national cultural heritage. The Sagrada Familia, Roman Forum, Gokstadfunnet and Bryggen in Bergen are today cultural heritage for the whole world.
Bergstadens Ziir is part of the identity of a Rørosing. Likewise, it is the privilege of the Drøbaking and Vennes communities to alone understand the significance of their venerable libraries and cultural centers.
The authorities have to respect the affection!
I inherited an old pendulum clock from my father, such a grandfather clock, or floor clock, if you will.
Dear child, many names, you know.
– It won’t be yours. Inherited property is something you have on loan. For example, you can’t sell the clockwork, my boy. The gift consists in the joy and responsibility of preserving and handing over the inheritance to the next generation – your children. This equates to the farmer’s responsibility in leaving the farm in slightly better condition to the next generation.
My father was conservative in values. He was a man from the Conservative Party, and he taught me the conservatism of building the future in respect of and on the basis of the existing.
Høyre’s decision to sell Torget 6 does not practice conservative values, but is somewhere between classical liberalism and political neoliberalism. As a conservative party, it is therefore not surprising that Frogn Høyre is experiencing an internal dispute over its own decision.
The Cultural Heritage Act of 1978
In a conservative context, it is interesting to refer to the Solberg government’s expressed goals for cultural policy. By Storting message 16, the Conservative-dominated Solberg government introduced the term “cultural environment”; as a collective term for its defined values, expressed as commitment, sustainability and diversity. The report to the Storting describes the status, challenges, opportunities and measures in the cultural environment policy.
On 22 June 2022, the Støre government followed up on Stortingsmelding 16 and set up a legislative committee with a mandate to replace the Cultural Heritage Act of 1978. The legislative committee’s task is to build on a balance between cultural environmental values, business interests and other societal considerations.
The committee must deliver its report in the form of a Norwegian public report (NOU) by 1 February 2025.
Among the inputs to the ongoing work on revising the Cultural Heritage Act of 1978, the city antiquarian in Røros invokes the current cultural heritage act as deficient, as the law alone authorizes the protection of archaeological cultural monuments older than 1537. The consequence is determined by the city antiquarian in Røros municipality, Magnus Borgås, in that large amounts of archaeological cultural monuments and cultural groups are today without protection.
Herskapsgården – today with address Torget 6 dates from the 18th century, and was formerly owned by Jacob Carlsen, later his son, merchant and banker, Christen Carlsens, and then consul Parr Samuelsen.
In 1862, the beautiful property was handed over to the town of Drøbak, and has since housed the public library (in the attic), middle school, secondary school, trade school, school dentist, municipal administration, and is today known and referred to as the country’s most beautiful library.
In a decision by the Verneforeningen Gamle Drøbak on 15/1/2024, the building mass in Torget 6 is referred to as, “… original and as a well-maintained example of a patrician residence from the 18th century. The front door in the empire is original. Several of the ceilings on the first floor are original from approx. 1740, as well as some of the wall panels in the rooms to the west have clear traces of hand planing. On the 2nd floor in the “yellow” room, both the ceiling and wall paneling are from before 1800. In the basement, the ceiling bears traces of both hand-sawn and sawn boards. The house is structurally in very good condition and therefore has no immediate need for rehabilitation.”
In its decision of 15.1.2024, Verneforeningen Gamle Drøbak expresses concern that Frogn municipality intends to sell the property, out of the municipality’s ownership.
I share the concern!
Drøbak square is the meeting place in Drøbak. The forum for political agitation, solemn celebration of municipal or national events, or simply a square for buying, selling or meeting acquaintances. At the town’s square there is, as it should be, a public building, and from the square and/or the building the Norwegian flag must fly in accordance with the Flag Act of 10 December 1898.
A consequence of Torget 6 being sold by the municipality is that we no longer have a lit (in a double sense) people’s building at Drøbak square.
Since 1862, the stately property, Torget 6, has served as a working house for Drøbak’s population.
The public library was originally allocated some smaller premises in the old service residence which was located between the prayer house (Christmas house) and Drøbak square. In 1976 the building burned to the ground, and four years later the town and village got their public library in Christen Carlsen’s former great room.
Public library is the right term – a people’s gathering place for writings – an independent meeting place and arena for building democracy, imparting knowledge, studies, cultural events, public conversation and debate.
From ancient times, you will see that a library was housed in a building with a venerable expression.
Preferably with Ionic columns, with two scrolls (volutes) that convey knowledge and wisdom.
In Drøbak, cultural manager, Olav Sandsmark Drøbakmannen, found Christen Carlsen’s venerable mansion, with its gilded banquet hall, living rooms, timber walls and symbolic location at Drøbak square, too dignified.
We all pronounce – “affectionate value”. The value we recognize in good feeling is not a calculable golden calf, but irreplaceable and difficult for outsiders to understand.
I write, “acknowledge.” I don’t need to understand the emotional attachment another person has to a memory or an object. All I have to do is respect!
The venerable, light blue painted mansion with address Torget 6 has de facto such an emotional value for the culturally equipped Frogninger and Drøbakinger. Herskapsgården has been well preserved and is today the city’s pride and cultural heritage, and where the royal palace is guarded by King Karl Johan on horseback, the city’s magnificent building is protected by, the house’s old friend, the father of the constitution, the county magistrate, Christian Magnus Falsen.
An affection value is therefore often a historical cultural heritage, and contributes to an important understanding of who we are as human beings and of our history. Shared cultural heritage is about cohesion and identity in a village, city or country.
In Britain’s former colonies, the population is today demanding the return of the cultural heritage the colonial power once robbed of itself, and in war-torn Ukraine, the population is fighting desperately to protect its cultural heritage from loss and destruction.
City and country
As a conservative, I would say that the present is built for the future, with a view to the past. Preferably paraphrased as “having one foot on the ground”. By experiencing one’s point of view, one also knows one’s given assumptions.
In 1842, Drøbak received its market town rights and city status. On 12 May 1961, Drøbak and Frogn were merged into one municipality. The children from the countryside in Frogn and from Drøbak then distributed themselves to the newly built schools, Dal school, Heer school, Drøbak school, Sogsti school and Seiersten school. We got a sports hall, which explained the location, named “Frognhallen” in 1974, and despite the fact that the mayor of the Conservative Party, Jorunn Kolbjørnrud, thought the administration should be located in Drøbak, the municipal administration moved from Drøbak to the new town hall on Odlotomten in Frogn.
What was left in Drøbak after the municipal administration moved out of town in 1988?
Yes, the Vinmonopolet, the Public Library, the cinema, the marina, a hard-hitting boxing club and some artists remained in Drøbak, but a match put an end to the Public Library, and thus the remaining 5,000 books made their way up to Seiersten secondary school. Olav Sandsmark – dressy conservative and head of culture in the municipality, saw the unfortunate fact that the offer in Drøbak was limited to the cinema, mentioned boxers,
Liquor stores, the boat harbor and a handful of artists, which probably also contributed to the cultural manager ordering the literature to be moved back to Drøbak.
That in a nutshell (and with a twinkle in the eye)
The People’s Love, my Reward
King Karl Johan was far from loved, but he had an expressed desire and verbalized goal to one day collect his reward by winning the people’s love.
He understood it, this Karl Johan – the immigrant who came from abroad, and who today has the capital’s parade street named after him. He really respected that Christian Magnus Falsen, sanctioned a more lightly styled version of Norway’s constitution, and wisely understood – to some extent, to listen to the voice of the people.
Drøbak and Frogn are home to many people with out-of-town origins. The designation “immigrants” is therefore a timely reminder to the municipality’s guests and immigrants to behave with appropriate humility, and to show respect for the city and the village’s cultural uniqueness.
Has it fallen to the board of the conservative Frogn Høyre to listen to the people? Has it occurred to the party’s elected officials to treat with caution, an intervention, which has not been announced in the programme, ahead of an election?
The opposition can easily become an assault.
Well, the Progress Party and the Pensioners’ Party are enforcers in the famous sale and relocation decision. As stated above, however, I still have expectations of accountability from the conservative party Høyre.
According to Frogn Høyre’s introduction to the political program for the period 2023-2027, it states that one of the party’s most important tasks is to create trust in, and support for, the local decision-making processes. Amen!