What happened to the protected pharmacy interiors of Norway?
What happened to the protected
(listed) pharmacy interiors of
Photos: Nina & Bjarne Thune
when nothing else is mentioned.
A protected or listed interior means:
• No change of the interior is allowed for the
future, or as long as the interior has got this
• The business going on in those surroundings is
• No money follows such a status.
The protected pharmacy interiors
of Norway are:
• Svaneapotheket (The Swan Pharmacy) in Oslo, listed 1983.
• Svaneapotheket (The Swan Pharmacy) in Ålesund, listed 1984.
• Apoteket Bien (The Bee Pharmacy) in Bergen, listed 1993.
All those interiors were listed while still in use as pharmacies and
before the new Norwegian Pharmacy Law of 2001, that opened
for chain ownership.
The obvious whish from the authorities would be to preserve
those pharmacy interiors by using them as pharmacies.
• Established in 1628, Oslo´s first pharmacy.
• Norway´s second pharmacy, only after
Svaneapotheket, Bergen (est. 1595).
• Moved several times since 1628, last time in 1896
when it moved to the main street of Oslo, Karl
Johan´s street 13.
• Architect Ove Laurentius Ekman.
• Interior neoclassic.
• Protected by law in 1983
• Run as a pharmacy until Dec. 31, 2013.
Photo: Rolf Øhman
It has been mentioned as one of Europe´s most beautiful shops.
No great changes has taken place since the opening.
• For many years one of our
well known fellow
historians, Yngve Torud,
was the owner of
• It was already listed when
he bought it.
• He run it from 1998 till
2008 with no profit.
• He sold it to one of the
• Today he is told to be one
of the most faithful guests
at the Enoteca Svanen.
• Established in 1824.
• Rebuilt and reopened after the fire (1904) in
• Architect Martin Schytte-Berg.
• Interior and the whole building in art noveau,
• The whole building with interior protected by law
• Run as a pharmacy until 2001.
The building is placed on a central spot in the city and had to serve two functions,
pharmacy shop and private residence for the owner and his family.
The iconography of both the building and the interior is inspired by elements from
Roman architecture, but also from the Norwegian wooden stave churches.
• The pharmacy itself moved its business to new
and modern localities in the autumn of 2001
under the new name: Vitusapotek Svanen,
• The old Svaneapotheket closed its doors.
Vitusapotek Svanen, Ålesund
opened in the autumn 2001.
Photo: Frode Inge Helland
• The old interior was restored and all newer
details brought back to 1907.
• In 2003 it reopened as Jugendstilsenteret, The
Norwegian Art Nouveau Centre.
Jugendstilsenteret, The Art Nouveau
center of Norway, opened June 2003.
We can easily recognize the pharmacy and even the owners flat, but the premises have
totally changed function and atmosphere.
Bien apotek, Bergen.
• Founded in 1913 as Solheimsviken Apothek.
• Moved in 1939 and got its new name and a
totally new interior.
• The architects were Fredrik Arnesen and Arthur
• The interior is dominated by straight lines and
half curves, typical elements of functionalism.
• In 1993 the interior was protected by law.
• It was run as a pharmacy until 2001.
• In 2001 the old Bien closed its doors.
• The pharmacy business itself was moved back
to Solheimsviken under the name Ditt Apotek
• 14 years later, March 2015, it reopened in the
same area under the name Vitusapotek Bien,
• After the pharmacy business itself left the
premises in 2001, the old pharmacy was
closed for many years.
• In January 2006 it reopened as Bien Bar.
• Through the years it has become famous for
its excellent food and is today a very popular
bar/café especially for the younger population
It should not be too difficult to recognize the old pharmacy.
• So, what are your thoughts after being told
about the fate of those three unique
• There is some kind of dilemma, isn´t there?
• What could have happened if they were not
• I will give you a grave example, please open
your eyes and ears!
• Norway´s first pharmacy, established 1595.
• Rebuilt and reopened after the fire (1916) in
• The architects for the whole building and its
interior were Fredrik Arnesen and Arthur Darre
Kaarbø, who also created Bien 18 years later.
• Certain adaptations and changes around 1965
and 1995 caused the interior of the pharmacy to
be considered not worthy of protection.
Svaneapotheket´s building is quite dominant in the city centre of Bergen.
The entrance crowned with the swan is really impressive and magnificent.
• The interior of 1921 was dominated by the warm
colours of noble materials, mahogany and maple
and the Norwegian stone tiles on the floor.
• The pharmacy had kept its looks and has been
looked upon by the inhabitants of Bergen as the
leading pharmacy, the queen of all the
• In 2001 it was sold to Apokjeden and was
renamed to: Apotek 1 Svanen, Bergen.
• During a very short period in the autumn of
2014 the pharmacy was totally refurnished to
fit in with the concept of the owning
• ”Out with the mahogany – in with the
• The inhabitants of Bergen were shocked when
they saw what had happened. They could only
recognize the floor.
Apotek 1 Svanen, Bergen.
Opened after the change Nov. 2014.
a protected/listed interior means:
• No change is allowed for the future, or as long
as the interior has got this status.
• The business going on in those surroundings is
• No money follows with such a status.
• If a valuable interior is not listed, it is up to the
owner to protect it - or to totally destroy it.
• We, the audiences can only watch, think,
protest - and mourn - when the change is
My simple conclusion is:
• Never trust a pharmacy chain to take care of
anything of historic value.
• That is to say, as long as no money follows the
historic and honorable status.
• A pharmacy chain is only interested when
money, and preferably, big money is involved.
• Please bear in mind that I have been
describing the situation in Norway.
• How is the situation in your country?
• If you want to tell me, please give a word to:
Thank you for your attention
and great patience!