Teenagers have returned to Utøya for summer camp for the first time since the Anders Behring Breivik massacre

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Saturday 08 August 2015 13:00

Just over four years ago, white supremacist Anders Behring Breivik murdered 69 Norwegians, most of them teenagers, at a Labour Party summer camp on the beautiful shores of a fjord island.

On Friday, hundreds of teenagers packed their bags and took the ferry from Oslo to arrive on Utøya to reinstate the tradition for the first time since the massacre.

Security was tight in the days leading up to the event.

Even so, many children were understandably nervous about their trip to the scene of such a tragedy.

On arriving, the kids set up their tents and got ready for activities like football and volleyball.

Camp spirit soon took over. Seventeen-year-old Victoria Øverland told the Guardian:

We are sending a message that we are taking the island back, there’s a good energy.

Some of the survivors of the attack and former prime minister Jens Stoltenberg stayed for the first night and said words of remembrance for those who died.

Eskil Pedersen, the former leader of the party's youth wing who survived the 2011 attack, wiped away tears while talking to the new members.

It is a part of the grieving process to take back the place where terrible things happened... Everyone here is aware of what took place and they have been through a process in their head, though for some people it is really hard.

  • Victoria Øverland

Åsne Seierstad, who wrote a book about the tragedy, said:

These young people were so in love with the island. The terrorist killed them because they were there, so strong, so political and independent-minded.

In his speech, Mani Hussaini, the current president of the youth wing, told his fellow activists:

Our response is more openness and more democracy in our fight for equal rights. Utøya is at the heart of Labour youth.

And even though they're gone, the memory of the 69 people who died will always live on on the island.

More: The moving tributes to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting