Sunday, 16 August 2009

What to see: The Peace Monument, Karlstad

The Peace Monument in Karlstad’s Great Square must be one of the ugliest monuments in Europe. Worms emerge from a helmeted skull which is trampled to the ground by a woman breaking a sword in two, symbolising the triumph of peace over war.
The monument was done by the sculptor Ivar Johnson (1885-1970), who luckily for his reputation is better known for his “Woman by the Sea” outside the Maritime Museum in Gothenburg. This sculpture was unveiled in 1955 to mark the 50th anniversary of the peaceful dissolution of the union between Sweden and Norway. After more than three weeks of difficult negotiations, which took place in the Masonic Lodge to the monument’s right, an agreement was signed by the prime ministers of the two countries on 23 September 1905.
In 2005 four stone benches were added in a circle around the monument, inscribed with quotes from those present at the negotiations.

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