This iconic Virginia Beach statue was made in Norway and donated to the city of Virginia Beach following the destruction of the original statue that had been made from a figurehead that washed ashore after the fatal wreckage of the Norwegian ship Dictator on March 28, 1891. Hurricane Barbara destroyed the statue in 1953, leading to its removal from its faithful post, but in 1962 two replicas were created: one placed in Virginia Beach and the other placed on the other side of the ocean on the shores of Moss, Norway. The Norwegian Lady Statue stands proud to this day, on either side of the Atlantic, and on her base is the inscription: "I am the Norwegian Lady. I stand here, as my sister before me, to wish all men of the sea safe return home."


  • 1918 postcard of original Norwegian Lady Statue
    1918 postcard of original Norwegian Lady Statue
  • Close-up of current Norwegian Lady Statue
    Close-up of current Norwegian Lady Statue
  • Full statue at Virginia Beach
    Full statue at Virginia Beach
  • Norwegian Lady Statue with Norwegian flag as seen at Virginia Beach
    Norwegian Lady Statue with Norwegian flag as seen at Virginia Beach

In 1891, a storm drove the Norwegian vessel Dictator into a sandbar at the location of present-day 37th Street in Virginia Beach. The storm cost the lives of Captain Jorgon's pregnant wife Johanne, his four-year-old son Carl, and five members of his crew. Most of the victims were buried in Norfolk at Elmwood Cemetery, and the rest that washed up later were buried nearer to the Oceanfront. The remainder of the crew, however, including the captain himself, were rescued by the United States Lifesaving Services (or the present-day United States Coast Guard). 

The statue was discovered by a young boy walking along the beach, and upon hearing the news, the manager of The Princess Anne Hotel had it erected on the shore. Ever since, it has stood as a "guardian to those memories [of the tragic shipwreck] for over 60 years." Local lore even has it, in fact, that Captain Jorgon himself returned for many years to pay tribute to that day with all of its heaviness and loss. 

Unfortunately, Hurricane Barbara destroyed the statue in 1953, leading to its removal from its faithful post. This news soon reached Norway, however, and the Norwegian Shipping Association did all they could to raise money for a new statue. In fact, they ended up raising enough money for not only one, but two statues: one to be placed back in Virginia Beach and the other to be placed on the other side of the ocean on the shores of Moss, Norway. 

The prominent Norwegian sculptor Ornulf Bast created the two statues, both nine-foot replicas of the original, and were completed on September 22, 1962. Now, the two statues face one another in their sister cities of Virginia Beach and Moss, and both commemorate the lives of those lost so many years before. The Ladies Auxiliary of the Virginia Beach Volunteer Fire Department lays a memorial wreath at the base of the figurehead each anniversary, as a matter of fact, and in 1995 Queen Sonja of Norway visited the Virginia statue while on a  state visit, placing flowers at her side.

The Norwegian Lady Statue stands proud to this day, on either side of the Atlantic, and on her base is the inscription: 
"I am the Norwegian Lady. I stand here, as my sister before me, to wish all men of the sea safe return home."

“Norwegian Lady.” Virginia Beach, 29 Apr. 2017, www.Virginiabeach.com/article/norwegian-lady.

“Norwegian Lady Statue.” Virginia Beach: Live The Life, www.visitVirginiabeach.com/listings/norwegian_lady_statue.aspx.