Henrik Ibsen, dubbed the “father of modern drama”, is the most performed playwright in the world behind William Shakespeare. At the Ibsen Museum in Oslo, you can see a comprehensive exhibit featuring the writer’s life and work and go on a guided tour of the apartment where he resided in the last 11 years of his life.
The Beatles exhibition
John Lennon was first introduced to the works of Ibsen by his wife, Yoko Ono. We can see how much he was influenced by Ibsen throughout the subsequent years; for instance, the White Album‘s original working title was A Doll’s House.
It is no surprise that Lennon was so deeply influenced by Ibsen, as there are many parallels between their lives. Ibsen considered himself a modern man and his writings, like Peer Gynt and A Doll’s House, were considered scandalous to many of his contemporaries because they questioned established traditions and social norms. Ibsen’s dramas are still performed around the world and continue to influence contemporary culture and film.
Ibsen’s last apartment
Henrik Ibsen and his wife, Suzannah, bought their centrally-situated apartment in 1895, after Ibsen had found international acclaim as a writer. It is thus considerably grand and extravagant for those times. The Norwegian Folk Museum has restored most of the home with the original furniture, fixtures, décor and colours from Ibsen’s time, with the help of Ibsen’s descendants and the Ministry of Culture.
The evening parlour, with furniture chosen and arranged by Ibsen himself
Henrik and Suzannah Ibsen’s respective bedrooms
I was quite impressed by Ibsen’s apartment and how affluently he lived. It seems that he lived almost like royalty in his last years and even waved to tourists from his window. Even though I have not read any of his works, it was still interesting to learn about the life and personality of the most famous Norwegians in the world.