Church of the Holy Trinity

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Åpne i Oslo Bykart
Church of the Holy Trinity with Akersgata to the left. On left side the catholic St. Olavs Church. - Photo: Astrid Ledang / Oslo Byleksikon

The Church of the Holy Trinity (Trefoldighetskirken), The, Akersgata 60. Combined cruciform, longitudinal and centralised church with red-brick facades, large central dome with lanternina (small roof construction with windows). It has an octagonal side-tower with a spire and large Gothic-arched window above the main entrance.

The church is in the neo-Gothic style, designed by Alexis de Chateauneuf (winning entry in the architectural competition in 1849), with Wilhelm von Hanno as the architect in charge of construction. The church was consecrated in 1858 and was the first parish church in the city since the cathedral church Vår Frelsers kirke (The Church of Our Saviour) was built at the end of the 17th century. It could accommodate 1,200 seated and 800 standing churchgoers, but today the maximum permitted number is 850, with 350 sitting below.

The church lies north of the Government Quarter at the Akersgata/Hammersborggata intersection. Originally, the church lay free, high up on Hammersborghøyden, but the large government buildings and the covering over of Arne Garborgs plass, with the so-called Y Block, has lessened its prominent position, even though it still catches the eye well in the cityscape with its copper-cladded dome. With its neo-Gothic brick walls, spire and the large dome with the lanternina on top, it forms a counterpart to all the modern concrete buildings that now typify this part of the city.

The characteristic, monumental come was covered with copper in 1863; the flight of steps in front of the main entrance was laid out in 1883 in connection with a lowering of the street level. The large-scale, vaulted interior is regarded as one of the best examples of Romantic architecture in Norway. The altarpiece (1868) by the painter Adolph Tidenmand, depicts Christ’s baptism, and there are two figures of apostles (1858) by the woodcarver Olaf O. Glosimost. The marble baptismal font (1886) is by Julius Middelthun. The chandelier (1923) is by Emanuel Vigeland. The stained-glass windows in the chancel (1933-35) and two in the nave (1958) are by Frøydis Haavardsholm. The other two in the nave (1985) are by Veslemøy Nystedt Stoltenberg. A large marble crucifix which originally stood on the altar in the Cathedral, is in the chapel. The interior was plastered and painted in 1870, but the pillars and walls were restored to their red-brick surfaces after the restoration of 1956-58 (architects P. D. Hofflund, Bjarne Hvoslef and T. Sellæg). The original asphalt floor has been replaced by square flagstones. New repairs in 1993 to 1996 – the church re-opened in 1997. Some of the smaller windows of the church were shattered by the violent explosion of the terror attack in the Government Quarter on 22 July 2011.

The church, which is often used for concerts as well as church services, has a pipe organ built by Claus Jensen in 1858 with added chamber organ in 1958 by J. H. Jørgensen, and a choir organ by Nils Arne Venheim in 1988. The church has two bells from 1858.


The church was intended to have a central position in the city, which is why it was named after the first cathedral in Christiania, The Church of the Holy Trinity. For the consecration, 2000 tickets were issued, but also 3000 are said to have found their way in. It has been the backdrop for a number of major funerals. It was from here, for example, that the funerals were held for the poet clergyman M. B. Landstad in 1880, Henrik Ibsen in 1906 and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in 1910. At the last-mentioned funeral, approx. 25,000 mourners are said to have followed the bier to the cemetery of Vår Frelsers gravlund.

The church was also used for major funerals during the war. It was here that the funeral took place of the minister of culture, Gulbrand Lunde, and his wife, Marie Lunde, on 31 October 1942, after they had died on 25 October when the car they were sitting in ended up in the water off a ferry quay at Våge in Romsdal. The funeral, which was at the government’s expense, was attended by representatives of the top echelons of the Norwegian and German authorities of occupied Norway. A few days later, the ashes of the couple were placed in the family grave at Vik in Sogn.

Later, such prominent figures as Johanne Dybwad, Ludvig Hope, Erik Bye and Anne-Cath Vestly have had funerals here in 1950, 1954, 2004 and 2009 respectively.