Just over four years since dozens of students were gunned down by a right wing extremist in Norway, activists from the country’s largest political youth organisation have returned to the tranquil island of Utoya.
Over 1,000 students from the Labour Party’s youth camp, including survivors of the massacre, have signed up for three days of seminars.
“I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the camp because I’ll to meet a lot of people and see some old friends. But, it’ll also be a bit strange to come back to the island after four years. We have to make new memories now. It’s the only way we can go on,” explained student, William Reinemo.
Many of the island’s traditional buildings have been renovated for the emotional return of the students with construction work finishing just hours ahead of their arrival.
Among those who made the journey were the NATO Secretary General and former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg.
“It’s a fantastic experience,” Stoltenberg said. “But, what happened here on July 22 2011 will always be a part of Utoya’s history. It’s great to see new generations coming here, making use of the island and doing so in a positive manner.”
A memorial now stands to the victims of Anders Behring Breivik. The self-styled “militant nationalist” unleashed a day of terror in Norway and ended the lives of 77 people in total, including eight in a bomb attack in the capital Oslo.
Breivik is currently serving a 21 year prison sentence.