Once upon a time, there was a charming little city on the Romsdal Peninsula in Norway called Molde. A hundred years or so ago, it was nicknamed rosebyen or “City of Roses” by Norwegians. That’s because all summer long, Molde is spectacularly abloom with roses of all varieties, including the town’s signature “Molderosen.” Even the roof of the town hall is covered in a garden of fragrant, lush flowers. And to this day, tourist ships are welcomed with a bouquet of roses upon arrival in Molde.
At the center of it all in Town Hall Square stands a bronze statue of the Rose Maiden. Rosepiken is young and lovely. She holds a basket laden with what look to be rose blossoms spun from gold dust. These gilded blooms are reflected in the gold-tinted windows of the town hall. Created by Ragnhild Butenschøn, the sculpture was gifted to the city in 1971 by Gotlib Moe.
Butenschøn, an Oslo-born sculptor, was especially known for her religious art, so the playful Rosepiken seems to be a departure from her more serious work. Roses, of course, are important symbols in Christianity, with the five petals of the rose representing the five wounds of Christ from the crucifixion.
The City of Roses is also known as the City of Jazz, because Molde is home to the world’s oldest continuously running jazz festival, Moldejazz, which takes place annually in July and draws musicians and fans from around the world.
Molde boasts one of Norway’s most modern football venues in Aker Stadium, an imposing structure made of granite and glass, as well as one of the tastiest cinnamon rolls, made fresh daily at Fole Godt, the local bakery and coffee shop in the city center.
The Peace Grove in Molde was established to commemorate where King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav took shelter in April 1940 when they were being hunted by German occupying forces. According to a local guide, it’s said to symbolize the “continuing struggle for freedom, peace and human dignity today and in the future.”
A rose by any other name
Depending on the color, roses symbolize a plethora of emotions—red for love, white for humility and innocence, yellow for joy and friendship and pink for gratitude. Used for centuries to communicate without words, roses also represent confidentiality. In ancient Rome, a rose was placed on the closed door of a room where private conversations were occurring. Rosepiken is quietly lovely, as she stands amid the dancing waters of her fountain. She is both secret keeper and icon of beauty and grace.
Norwegians will tell you Molde is known for jazz and football and roses, but especially roses. And that says a lot about the Norwegian culture and mindset. Norwegians love the outdoors and finding beauty in nature. Perhaps the highly cultivated roses of Molde are meant to remind us of the importance of living in harmony with the natural world. It’s our ethos at Stressless® as well, combining form with function, color with texture and beauty with design.
There’s a Norwegian proverb which says, “That which is loved is always beautiful.”
We think that gets to the heart of the matter.
Perhaps Rosepiken agrees.