The theft in March 2009 of a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) shone the light of international media attention on a site that had previously not been widely known outside Norway.
The picture, titled Let the Children Come To Me, is valued at $2M to $3M -- or perhaps more now, given its newfound notoriety.
The thieves were caught and the painting retrieved. It has undergone restoration and is now back safely in a church in Larvik, 105km southwest of Oslo. Church security has been improved.
Church officials are eager to capitalize on what is known in Norway as the “Munch effect”— referring to the increased interest in works by Edvard Munch after The Scream was stolen, for the second time, in 2004.
Charged with developing a strategy to ensure that the region can profit from the publicity of the robbery, a tourism manager in Larvik said, “I imagine that an additional 10,000 people may come to see the work annually, if we market it right.”