Fairy Tale Room

The National Gallery
Permanent exhibition

Come to meet Nøkken the water spirit, princesses, trolls and other fairy tale creatures from the museum’s extensive collections.

A staged fairy tale universe

The Fairy Tale Room offers audiences a new experience of traditional Norwegian fairy tales. Scenographer Milja Salovaara has created a fairy tale universe with walls in blue velvet and a floor covered with carpets – only the artworks themselves shine in a magic light in the dimly lit room. The entrance portal to the room is a close copy of Theodor Kittelsen’s custom-made frame to the self-portrait diplayed in the room. The portal has been crafted by woodcarver Boni Wiik at the Centre for Rural Culture in Dovre in the heart of Norway.

Water lily peepholes

The scenography of the Adventure Room reflects the central role of the water spirit Nøkken. There are fairy tale characters on the walls as well as in other surprising places. Visitors can view reproductions of some of the most famous fairy tale characters by looking down into the water lily peepholes in the floor. The original drawings are fragile and sensitive to light, and only rarely exhibited.

Kittelsen and Werenskiold, water spirits and trolls

The exhibition includes works by Theodor Kittelsen, Erik Werenskiold, Hanna Pauli, August Cappelen and Rolf Nesch. We meet the water spirit Nøkken, trolls, fairy tale castles, princesses, Ash Lad (Askeladden), the Seventh Father of the House, Buttercup (Smørbukk), King Valemon the White Bear, and many others.

A rich collection of fairy tale drawings

The museum’s rich collection of drawings includes a number of the original drawings to Asbjørnsen and Moe’s illustrated editions of Norwegian folktales. These fairy tale drawings represent an important part of the Norwegian heritage, and as their custodians, the museum wishes to pass on their legacy to new generations. The public is invited to view the original drawings at close range in the study room.

Fairy tales and national awareness

Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812–1885) and Jørgen Moe (1813–1882) played a significant role in the collection of fairy tales. Over the years, these tales have appeared in a number of new editions, and several generations of artists have helped visualize their texts. Erik Werenskiold and Theodor Kittelsen, the creators of the so-called classic fairy tale illustrations, have not only gained a special position within the fairy tale tradition, but also in the history of Norwegian illustration. Their ability to lend shape to the fairy tale figures in the earliest book publications also played an important part in building national awareness.

Location: The National Gallery

Address: Universitetsgata 13



In our Adventure Room, children of all ages are invited to listen to fairy tales and meet Ash Lad as well as other characters from the world of fairy tales. An activity booklet for children is available in the room.

Please order by sending an email to: omvisninger@nasjonalmuseet.no

The room has been made possible with the support of the DNB Savings Bank Foundation (Sparebankstiftelsen DnB).