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New Utøya learning centre honours victims and survivors

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New Utøya learning centre honours victims and survivors
AUF leader Mani Hussaini spoke at the centre's opening ceremony on Tuesday. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix
12:05 CEST+02:00
Thirteen teens were killed in a cafe building on Utøya five years ago. On Tuesday, a memorial and learning centre was opened to pay tribute to the victims.
Part of the cafe building in which 13 teens lost their lives on July 22nd, 2011 has been preserved in a new learning centre where young people can learn about the very values domestic terrorist Anders Breivik attacked almost five years ago: democracy and free speech.
 
The roof of the learning centre, named Hegnhuset, is held up by 69 columns, symbolizing the total number of victims who lost their lives almost five years ago to the day. 
 
The columns are surrounded by 495 thinner beams, one for each of those who managed to escape the rampage on the island with their lives. 
 
The learning centre is held up by 69 columns representing the victims and surrounded by 495 thinner beams representing the survivors. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix
The learning centre is held up by 69 columns representing the victims and surrounded by 495 thinner beams representing the survivors. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix 
 
The right-wing extremist hunted his victims down for an hour and 15 minutes, as they were trapped on an island just 0.12 square kilometres surrounded by chilly waters. Prior to the island attack, the domestic terrorist had placed a bomb near the government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight others.
 
At the heart of the new house is part of the old cafe building. While 13 people were killed in the cafe, many others survived by seeking coverage elsewhere in the building.
 
 
Bullet holes and faded roses are preserved, and an eight metre long and two metre high timeline tells what happened on that terrible day five years ago.
 
Several text messages that were sent during the attack are displayed, both from youngsters who survived and from those who did not.
 
The new parts of Hegnhuset make up a democracy learning centre and is open to all visitors. 
 
The Labour Party's youth wing (AUF), which was holding its annual gathering on the small island when Breivik attacked, hopes the new building will get young people to reflect on the meaning of democracy, the challenges it faces and what they themselves can do to safeguard democratic values.
 
“Hopefully the learning centre will contribute to making sure nothing like this ever happens again,” AUF leader Mani Hussaini told NRK earlier this year when plans for the centre were first announced
 
 
 
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