Former masonic lodge

Denne artikkelen omtaler et sted

Åpne i Oslo bykart
Former masonic lodge in 1929. Photo: Anders Beer Wilse / Oslo Museum

Former masonic lodge (Gamle Logen), The, the concert hall of the former Masonic lodge at Grev Wedels plass 2, began to be used in 1844. In 1835, the Freemasons decided to erect their own building, at which time the city also lacked a festive venue. So, at the initiative of Count Herman Wedel Jarlsberg (1779-1840), a cooperation was established between the Freemasons and the citizens of the capital to build a lodge, the ceremonial hall of which would be placed at the disposal of the municipality as a reception hall. The building was designed by Christian H. Malling and Jens S. Seidelin and was officially opened in 1839, although the large auditorium was not completed until 1844. The hall is decorated in the French Empire style and has excellent acoustics. For many years it was the city’s most prominent venue for concerts and festive occasions. It was handed over to the municipality in 1862, on the condition that the concert venue was to be kept up.

The lodge played an important role in the development of Norwegian cultural identity in the 19th century. Among the cultural figures who were active here were Edvard Grieg, Henrik Ibsen, Ole Bull, Johan Svendsen, Halfdan Kierulf and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. In the 20th century, Filharmonisk Selskaps Orkester (now: Oslo Philharmonic) held its opening concert here in 1909; international guests who appeared here prior to 1940 included Louis Armstrong (2 November 1933) and Django Reinhardt (8 February 1939).

The Freemasons rented rooms in the building until 1894, when the new lodge, Stamhuset, in Nedre Vollgate was completed. A south wing was added around 1880 (arch. Wilhelm von Hanno) which is now used as a day-care centre for children. Rooms in the building were used for city council meetings from the end of the 19th century until the City Hall began to be used in 1947. In 1945, the lodge was used as a courtroom during the trial of Vidkun Quisling.

From 1947, the building was used by Oslo Loading and Unloading Office (OLLK), the large hall as a canteen; after the war hardly a concert had been held there until Oslo Summer Opera ‘re-opened’ the concert hall in summer 1984. In 1986, a foundation was established which was responsible for the restoration of the building and the concert hall. This work was carried out in 1988 (arch. Eliassen og Lambertz-Nilssen A/S), and the building re-opened on 11 Oct. 1988. At the entrance there is a statue of Edvard Grieg by Marit Wiklund (1993). The lodge is a heritage building. It is marked with one of The Oslo Society’s blue plaques.