"North & South" is an ambitious project by the Dutch national museum of church art Museum Catharijneconvent, where key pieces of medieval church art from Norway and Catalonia, Spain is brought together in one exhibition. Norway and Catalonia are the only two places in Europe where the original art is still present and they show surprisingly many similarities. The exhibition takes its guests on a trip through Norway and Catalonia, displaying unique artifacts and spectacular films showing cultural history and nature hand in hand.

The exhibition provides exciting opportunities for promotion of Norway as a cultural and historical destination, so when the museum approached The Norwegian Embassy in The Netherlands and Innovation Norway in The Hague, the Visit Norway team decided to set up a cooperation in the form of a media trip to Norway and a networking event in connection to the opening of the exhibition.  

Culture is an important trigger in the choice of destination for travellers, also for those who are defined as nature-seeking travellers. From Innovation Norways report on cultural tourism (2016) we see that the Dutch market has a potential of 11,4 million culturally interested tourists. In the analys for Norway's position as a holiday destination (2018) we also see that culture is an important driver and trigger for Dutch holiday makers when they choose where they are going next. We therefore see it crucial to strengthen the knowledge about Norwegian culture and history, both towards consumers and towards our business network.

Media trip to the "North & South"

In cooperation with Museum Catharijneconvent we invited both the largest Dutch newspapers as well as niche media to tell this unique story. The trip took place from 17 to 20 September 2019.

High quality program on niche theme

After two precedent days in Catalonia the group of 8 journalists travelled to Oslo, followed by the conservator of the exhibition dr. Micha Leeflang and prof. dr. Justin Kroesen from Universitetsmuseet I Bergen. In Oslo, the group visited the Oslo Historical Museum to get a sneak preview of the art pieces being prepared for transport to Utrecht, the stave church exhibition and the new Vikingr exhibition. A visit to the stave church from Gol at the Norsk Folkemuseum and the Viking ship museum we part of the program as well. 

From Oslo, the group travelled to Trondheim by train. The program in Trondheim started with a walk through the city. The absolute highlight of the trip was the visit to the Nidarosdomen, accompanied and guided by archaeologist and researcher Øystein Ekroll, and to the Archbishop’s Palace Museum where the journalists got to see the original St. Olavsfrontal at it’s ‘home’ location, before also being transported to Utrecht. The trip ended with a visit to Skaun church, which also has an altarpiece or oak, dating from the early 1200s. Two of the journalist extended their stay with an extra day to experience the final stage of the pilgrim route to Nidaros, a great match with the focus of the press trip. 

The key is cooperation 

The trip proved to be a great success, all thanks to a good cooperation between the museum, the destinations in Norway and Innovation Norway. There were also very competent people escorting the trip from the museum and project group, sharing their knowledge and expertise about the exhibition and the process of getting the art pieces to Utrecht in their own unique enthusiastic way, making this a trip to remember.

"Cooperation was key in this project, and it has definitely opened doors towards other projects focusing on niche topics." - says Ranhilde Luttenberg, media specialist at Innovation Norway The Hague.  

B2B event with a new story about Norway 

Together with Trøndelag Reiseliv and Pilegrimsleden we invited our travel trade network to an inspirational seminar and pre-viewing of the exhibition "North & South". The goal of the event was to inspire our network about cultural and historical experiences in Norway, and to show how culture and nature are finely connected to each other. The event and message was well received by the Dutch and Belgian tour operators, and with a visit to the exhibition they were surprised on how interesting medieval church art could be! 

Catharijneconvent - event in Utrecht
Catharijneconvent - event in Utrecht.
Photo: Private