The Norwegian capital of Oslo has started cautiously with the reconstruction of the administrative heart on Thursday. A car bomb severely damaged six government buildings and the Supreme Court on 22 July.

Workers first placed reinforced wooden walls of 3.6 metres high around the affected area with a total length of several hundred meters. Only employees with the correct access passes can enter the area, through revolving gates in sea containers and through undamaged department entrances of facades that were on the ‘shadow side’ of the explosion. The government quarter will remain closed for a long time for ‘ordinary’ visitors.

“It will be years before all affected Norwegian ministries are in new permanent offices,” Renewal and Administration Minister Rigmor Aasrud ​​acknowledged on Thursday. She is responsible for the reconstruction. The Supreme Court, which is relatively slightly damaged, will certainly be restored.

There is still no concrete plan for the badly damaged buildings, including the important ministries of Justice and Police, Oil and Energy, Economic Affairs, Finance and the Prime Minister’s office. Not even if they will be restored or demolished. “We are also considering spreading the officials more across the city,” said the minister. “We have to weigh safety, reconstruction costs and efficiency against each other,” the minister said. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 18 August 2011)