The history of Utøya goes back to the turn of last millennium. At the time, the Tyrifjord was a popular route of travel for pilgrims going to Nidaros. Monks from the nearby monastery on Storøya used Utøya as a herb garden, which is why we can still see a unique flora on the island, with a large number of species otherwise uncommon in the area.
Utøya has been owned by both sides in the political world, from right to left.
The common threads in Utøya´s history have been youthful dedication, culture, internationalism, diversity, tolerance, and democracy.
Several central volunteer organisations have been founded, environmental organisations have made controversial and ground-breaking decisions, while religious organisations have celebrated themselves and practiced their beliefs. Guests from all over the world have visited the island, gathered strength and shared experiences.
On Friday the 22 of July 2011, a summer camp at the island was attacked by a Norwegian right-wing extremist. Many young people died. Earlier the same day this man had made a bomb attack against the Government Centre in Oslo.
Today Utøya symbolizes how important it is to defend and shape democracy every day. This makes Utøya a special place for young people to reflect on what democracy means to them, what challenges our democracies face and how young people can promote democratic values and practices.
More information: http://www.utoya.no/