Halden Prison

Halden Prison, which opened in 2010, has acquired an international reputation as “the world’s most humane prison”. The 11 projects that make up the prison’s ambitious art programme are not intended to educate or to moralize, but to engage with the inmates in a meaningful manner.

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  • Prisoner, Dolk. Photographer: Øystein Thorvaldsen
  • Police Line, av Dolk. Photographer: Øystein Thorvaldsen
  • Stripes, av Dolk. Photographer: Øystein Thorvaldsen
  • Før eller siden, Astrid Nondal. Photographer: Astrid Nondal
  • Lyst fjell, Astrid Nondal. Photographer: Astrid Nondal
  • Livsudviklingshage, av Kenneth A. Balfelt. Photographer: Marte Aas
  • Livsutviklingshagen, av Kenneth Balfelt. Photographer: Marte Aas
  • Boksen gård, av Øyvind Grønlie. Photographer: Øyvind Grønlie
  • Myriade, av Astrid Krogh. Photographer: Trond Isaksen
  • Myriade, av Astrid Krogh. Photographer: Trond Isaksen
  • Sommerfuglen flyr gjennom tinningene og inn i hodet, av Margareta Bergman. Photographer: Øystein Thorvaldsen
  • Four poems, by Alexander Grüner. Photographer: Trond Isaksen
  • Four poems, by Alexander Grüner. Photographer: Øystein Thorvaldsen
  • Skyggebilde 4, Irene Nordli. Photographer: Øystein Thorvaldsen
  • Images from the inside. Why do I draw?, Lotte Konow Lund. Photographer: Øystein Thorvaldsen
  • Cup, by Unn Kristin Laberg. Photographer: Øystein Thorvaldsen
  • , Halden prison. Photographer: Statsbygg
  • Månelyst 2, av Irene Nordli. Photographer: Trond Isaksen
  • On forgivness, by Gerd M. Tinglum. Photographer: Øystein Thorvaldsen
  • The Low Down, Jeremy Welsh. Photographer: Øystein Thorvaldsen
  • The Low Down, Jon Arne Mogstad. Photographer: Øystein Thorvaldsen
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About the project

About the project

Halden Prison

About the project

Halden Prison has a motto: “Punishment that works. Change that endures”. The prison, which houses 252 inmates, most of whom are serving long custodial sentences, was designed by Bergen-based hml arkitektur and Copenhagen-based Erik Møller Arkitekter. Landscape architects from Asplan Viak were responsible for designing the prison’s grounds. The prison’s many low-rise buildings house residential units, workspaces and guest quarters for family visits. The buildings are scattered across the rocky, forested landscape that lies within the prison walls. Exercise yards are located outdoors so that prisoners can follow seasonal changes in the landscape. Based on the idea that being deprived of freedom is punishment in itself, the objective of the prison’s regime is to prepare the inmates for life outside prison.

Kenneth Balfelt’s Livsudviklingshagen [Life Development Garden] is the most extensive art project at the prison. Balfelt has been working for several years with inmates and prison staff to develop this “sensory garden”. The aim is to create a garden that is an enjoyable environment for both work and relaxation, and that can also host some of the workshops and other activities run by the prison for inmates. Prisoners have been involved in the project at every stage, starting with development of the initial concept, and then in the design, building, planting and maintenance of the garden. Further information about the project can be found on the artist’s website.

Norwegian street artist Dolk is responsible for the murals in three of the prison’s five exercise yards. One of these, titled Prisoner, shows a gigantic convict hurling his ball and chain over the prison wall. The mural is intended to reassure inmates that they are allowed to have “forbidden thoughts” and to dream about escape. Viewed from this perspective, the artwork is a kind of valve for releasing pent-up frustration.

Astrid Krogh has created a light installation titled Myriade for the prison’s religiously neutral ceremony room. This is a place that prisoners may withdraw to for prayer or silent contemplation. Light streaming through a perforated wooden wall varies in colour and intensity, reminding the onlooker of a starry sky.
Other art projects in the prison have been created by Margareta Bergman, Alexander Grüner, Øyvind Grønlie, Unn Kristin Laberg, Lotte Konow Lund, Astrid Nondal, Irene Nordli, Gerd Tinglum, Jeremy Welsh & Jon Arne Mogstad.

The art committee has prioritised the selection of artists and artworks that may contribute to stimulating different kinds of experiences and responses, without being too obtrusive or patronizing. While some of the works have particularly sensory and intuitive qualities, others are more conceptual and evocative.

Read more about the prison’s art collection.




Justisveien 10, 1787 Berg i Østfold

Date completed


Project manager

Elisabeth Tetens Jahn, KORO

Art consultant/Art Committee

Hilde Hauan Johnsen, Leder av kunstutvalget
Marte Aas

Art Committee

Ellinor Houm, Regiondirektør, Kriminalomsorgen
Arild Endresplass, Prosjektleder, Kriminalomsorgen
Gudrun Molden, hlm arkitektur as, arkitekt
Hans Henrik Høilund, Erik Møller Arkitekter (arkitekt med observatørstatus)
Arnold Pedersen, Statsbygg




Tilgjengelig for ansatte og insatte


Art scheme for new government-owned buildings

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