Four years on, Utøya comes back to life

Four years after Anders Behring Breivik's bloody rampage, the Norwegian island of Utøya will return to life this weekend as it hosts its first Labour youth camp since the carnage.

Four years on, Utøya comes back to life
A boat on the way over to Utøya. Photo: AUF
More than 1,000 participants — a record number — are expected to descend on the tiny heart-shaped island from Friday to Sunday, including a handful of survivors.
Breivik killed 69 people, most of them teenagers, on July 22, 2011 when he opened fire on a gathering of the Labour Party's youth wing (AUF), spreading terror as he hunted them down for an hour and 15 minutes, trapped on an island just 0.12 square kilometres (0.05 square miles) surrounded by chilly waters.
Breivik later explained that he wanted to wipe out the nascent leaders of the party, Norway's dominant political force, which he blames for the rise of multiculturalism.
Just prior to the Utoya attack, the right-wing extremist had placed a bomb near the government headquarters in Oslo, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) away, killing eight people.
“We are going to reclaim Utøya,” AUF leader Eskil Pedersen vowed the day after the attacks, as normally-tranquil Norway reeled in shock from its worst peacetime atrocity.
Pedersen, who survived by fleeing aboard the only boat linking the island to shore, was insistent that Utøya remain the political forum it had been for decades.
Four years later, the site will finally reopen for the AUF summer camp in what is certain to be an emotionally-charged event.
Some families of victims were opposed to the idea that teenagers would return to the island to play football, flirt and hold fiery political debates at the site where their children were killed.
And for some survivors, it's still too soon to go back.
“I'm not sure I want to return to the camp, so I prefer to wait until I really want to go,” 21-year-old Labour party member Marie Hogden told AFP.
With water up to her knees, she escaped Breivik's bullets by hiding behind a cliff.
Mani Hussaini, a 27-year-old from Syrian Kurdistan who was elected the head of AUF last year — and who embodies the multiculturalism so reviled by Breivik — acknowledged that this year's summer camp would be “special”.
The 2012 camp was cancelled, and the two following years it was held at another location.
Families and survivors have visited Utøya on a few brief occasions.
“Those who are preparing to return to Utoya are helping to write a new page in the history of the island,” Hussaini told AFP.
Another survivor, 20-year-old Astrid Willa Eide Hoem, is one of those who has decided to be there this weekend.
“It's important for AUF as an organisation and for me as a person,” she said. “Utøya has to continue to be a workshop where young people learn about democracy, politics and activism.”
The leafy, green island has in the meantime received a facelift. Thanks to donations and the work of hundreds of volunteers, new buildings have been built, while the old ones have been renovated with respect to the dead.
The cafeteria, where 13 youngsters lost their lives, was initially to be torn down but has been maintained, with its bullet holes intact. But another wooden building is being built and will partially encompass the cafeteria as a
memorial centre.
“The new Utøya should be a place to remember, to learn, and to cultivate political activism,” Hussaini said.
A little further away, a memorial entitled “The Clearing” has been mounted in the woods: a giant steel ring suspended from the evergreens, bearing the names of 60 of the 69 victims.
In a sign that the wounds are far from healed, nine families did not want their loved ones' names to appear on the ring.
Breivik, meanwhile, is serving a 21-year prison sentence, which can be extended indefinitely as long as he is considered a danger to society.

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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday 

Find out what's going on in Norway on Tuesday with The Local's short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday 
Oslo Operahus .Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Only one in ten Norwegians plan to travel abroad this summer 

Around ten percent of people in Norway are planning to take a holiday abroad this summer, according to a survey carried out by tourism organisation NHO Reiseliv.

Seven out of ten respondents said they still plan to holiday in Norway this year, even if they receive a vaccination before the holidays start.

READ MORE: ‘My arguments didn’t matter’: How I ended up in a hotel quarantine in Norway 

Viken and Vestland are this year’s most popular travel destinations for Norwegians planning a “staycation”. Young people were the most likely to want to remain in Norway this summer. Just under half of those aged between 18 and 29 said they wished to stay in Norway this summer. 

Third of Utøya survivors have received abuse or threats

A third of Utøya survivors have been victims of hate speech or received threats, according to a new survey. 

Three-quarters of respondents said that the reason they received the abuse was linked directly to the Utøya terror attack, the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Studies (NKVTS) found. 

The massacre on Utøya was the second of two terror attacks carried out by Anders Breivik on July 22nd, 2011. Of the 69 people who died in the attack, 32 were under the age of 18. 

Fewer in Oslo willing to ditch cars 

A climate survey carried out by the city of Oslo has shown that fewer people than before are willing to cut back on using their cars. The proportion of those who think that Oslo city centre should be car-free has fallen to 45 percent from 52 percent last year. 

READ ALSO: Could Norway introduce mandatory inbuilt car breathalysers 

When asked whether Oslo City Council had gone too far in removing cars from the city centre, almost half said that they believed that this was the case. 

“A change in the attitude around these measures may be due to more people feeling dependent on cars during the pandemic. There has been a lot of debate about measures that have been introduced or are planned to be introduced,” Heidi Sørensen, Director of the Climate Agency, told the Dagsavisen newspaper

Tighter Coronavirus measures in Trondheim 

Gyms, museums and swimming pools have been closed, and alcohol service in hospitality has been stopped in Trondheim. The new measures come barely a week after restrictions were last tightened. 

“We need to shut down most of Trondheim to get control. It is only days since we last tightened measures, but we are in a situation where we must take even stronger action,” Morten Wolden, the municipal director for Trondheim, told state broadcaster NRK.

Norway reports 292 new Covid-19 cases

On Monday, 292 new coronavirus infections were registered in Norway. This is a drop of 52 compared to the seven-day average of 344. 

In Oslo, 48 cases were recorded, an increase of two on the capital’s seven day average of 46. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 1.0. This means that every ten people that are infected, will, on average, only infect another ten people, indicating that the infection level is stable. 

Total number of Covid-19 cases so far. Source: NIPH