Presenting Surviving Utøya and Oslo. A podcast about the people who lived through the 2011 Norway attacks
“When the news of the Norway attacks in Oslo and on Utøya island circled the world in July 2011, I was absolutely in shock. I followed the news intently online and watched all the Czech Television coverage,” says Lukáš Houdek, documentarist and author of the series Surviving Utøya and Oslo. Starting November 14th, the seven-episode documentary podcast follows Lukáš as he narrates the stories of those who survived the attacks and those whose loved ones never came home.
News about the attacks and their consequences gradually started to dissipate. More recent events took their place. Occasionally, news would surface about the trial with the terrorist or his prison conditions. But life went on. What happened after? Once the world stopped paying attention? That’s precisely what documentarist Lukáš Houdek travelled to Norway to find out this May and June, nearly twelve years after the fact. He spoke with survivors of the attacks in the Oslo government quarter and on Utøya island, as well as with people who lost their loved ones that day.
Episode 1 delves into the attacks themselves through the eyes of those whose lives were irreversibly affected. Substantiating context is then added by Norwegian experts. The seventh and final episode explores the aftereffects of July 22nd on Norwegian society, looks at how Norway dealt with the terrorist himself and portrays the fate of Utøya island today. As for Episodes 2-5, they reveal intimate portraits of survivors and the bereaved.
About the author
Lukáš Houdek is a documentarist and artist. He graduated from the Romani Studies program at Charles Univeristy, Faculty of Arts and is the Head Manager of the HateFree Cutlure campaign. In his artwork, he primarily engages with topics of identity, violence, hate and injustice. Lukáš is the author of a number of radio documentaries and podcasts. His audio-documentary for Czech Radio White Brings Death (Bíla nosí smrt) about the stigmatization of people with albinism in Ghana earned him the 2019 Journalism Award from the Czech Open Society Fund. At this year’s Prix Bohemia Radio, Lukáš placed third with his audio-documentary about Kateřina Gamal Richterová, a Czech Muslim woman.
Yet their stories are not just about pain and grief, but also about resilience and the will to go on. They are not just about surviving the terrorist attacks, but more so about surviving what came after. Aside from the life stories directly impacted by the attacks, the series also illustrates how that day changed Norway itself. Lukáš Houdek speaks with experts from a variety of fields about how Norway, in so many ways an inspiring country, has dealt with the attacks. How did it handle the terrorist? And what is the island of Utøya like today?
The seven-episode podcast series Surviving Utøya and Oslo searches for the answers to all these questions. For the first time ever, Radio Wave is releasing the series in both its English-language original, as well as a Czech version. Actresses Denisa Barešová, Miluše Šplechtová, Jitka Smutná and Milena Steinmasslová and actors Jan Nedbal and Filip Rajmont lend their voices to the Czech translation.
What happened after, once the world stopped paying attention? Listen to Lukáš Houdek’s series Surviving Utøya and Oslo.
On the afternoon of July 22nd, 2011, the roughly-thirty-year-old Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik detonated nearly a ton of explosives in a white van parked in the government quarter in the center of Oslo. He killed eight people. Less than two hours later on the island of Utøya, amidst a summer camp organized by the youth wing of the then-ruling Labour Party, he shot dead 69 young people.
The series was created in cooperation with the production company Subjektiv, with the support of the Norway Grants and in partnership with the 22 July Center in Oslo.