Kjærlighetskarusellen (The Carousel of Love) in Oslo, Norway

There is a Norwegian saying that can be translated to “A dear child has many names.” The same applies to this 1937 urinal, referred to not only as “the Carousel of Love” (or Kjærlighetskarusellen in Norwegian) but also as “the Wheel of Fortune,” “the Round Barrel,” “the Mushroom,” and “the Umbrella.”

This variety in names reflects its role as a gathering place for homosexual men during a time when homosexuality was socially unacceptable and illegal in Norway. The Carousel of Love served as an important meeting place for gay men during a time when homosexuality was taboo in Norway, and sex between men was illegal until 1972.

In 2009, the urinal was declared a Norwegian Cultural Heritage Site, aimed at highlighting the diversity and importance of Norway’s cultural heritage for all sectors of the community. Located in Stensparken in Oslo, the functionalist urinal is perhaps the most iconic example of queer architecture in Norway. Designed by Oslo’s city architect Harald Aars and completed in 1937, it was intended to fulfill hygienic and practical considerations while also serving as a sculptural element in the park.

In connection with the Queer Culture Year in 2022, artist Per Barclay initiated the restoration of the urinal and the installation of lighting.

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