This is some practical information about Oslo
Oslo – the capital of Norway – has in excess of 530,000 inhabitants and covers an area of 453 km2. About 20% of the country’s population (850,000) live in Greater Oslo. Oslo is surrounded by forest and fjord. An important part of the city’s political tradition is to preserve the fjord and the area surrounding the city for leisure and outdoor pursuits.
Oslomarka is used by thousands of skiers and hikers all the year round thanks to restrictions in the urbanization of the city. Some of the major sports events in Oslo will be the Grete Waitz Race, the Holmenkollen Relay, Oslo Marathon and the Holmenkollen Ski Festival. Oslo is a ski-eldorado with over 2,000 km (1250 miles) of prepared ski tracks for cross-country skiing and many ski lifts for alpine skiing. The tracks are also used throughout the rest of the year: Bærumsmarka, Nordmarka and Østmarka are all places where many people meet every weekend.
Oslo is one of the oldest Scandinavian capitals, Oslo has never been on the mainstream European tourist circuit. Many have the impression that it’s lean on historic and cultural sights. In fact, it offers enough sights and activities to fill at least 7 busy days. It’s also the starting point for many easy excursions along the Oslofjord or to nearby towns and villages.
In the ’90s Oslo has grown surprisingly from what even the Scandinavians considered a backwater to one of the glittering cities of Europe. Restaurants, nightclubs, cafes, shopping complexes, and other places have opened.
Proceed with caution if you’re on a strict budget. Oslo was founded in the mid-11th century by a Viking king, and became the capital around 1300 under Haakon V. In the course of its history, the city burned down several times; it was destroyed by fire in 1824.
The master builder, Christian IV, king of Denmark and Norway, ordered the town rebuilt near the Akershus Castle. He named the new town Christiania (after himself), and that was its official name until 1924, when the city reverted to its former name. In 1814 Norway separated from Denmark and united with Sweden, a union that lasted until 1905. During that period the Royal Palace, the House of Parliament, the old university, the National Theater, and the National Gallery were built.
After the Second World War, Oslo grew to 175 square miles. Today it’s one of the 10 largest world capitals in area. Oslo is also one of the most heavily forested cities, with fewer than half a million inhabitants. One final point: Oslovians love nature. They devote much time to pursuits in the forests and on the fjords. It takes only half an hour by tram to go from the Royal Palace to the 390-foot Tryvann Observation Tower, where you can enjoy a view over Oslo Marka, the giant forest.
The Krogskogen forest was the setting for many Norwegian folk tales about princesses, kings, penniless heroes, and the inevitable forest trolls. From this observation tower in the summer, you can look down on hundreds of sailboats, motorboats, and windsurfers among the numerous islands of the Oslo archipelago.
Oslo is made for walking – in fact, you can walk from the Central Station all the way to the Royal Palace in a straight line. Except for excursions to the museum-loaded Bygdøy peninsula and the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, most attractions can be covered on foot. Oslo is not neatly divided into separate neighborhoods or districts. It consists mainly of central Oslo, with the Central Station to the east of the city center and the Royal Palace to the west. Karl Johans Gate, the principal street, connects these two points.
There are almost 50 museums and galleries in central Oslo, enough to fill many a rainy day. The most interesting include Akershus Castle, the Historical Museum, and the National Gallery.
The streets Drammensveien and Frognerveien lead northwest to Frogner Park (whose main entrance is on Kirkeveien). This historical area is the site of the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which displays some masterpieces of Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943).
The Old Town lies south of the Parliament Building (the Stortinget) and Karl Johans Gate. This section contains some of the city’s old-fashioned restaurants, along with the Norwegian Resistance Museum and the Old Town Hall.
Aker Brygge is Oslo’s newest neighborhood. It emerged near the mouth of the Oslofjord in the old wharf area formerly used for shipbuilding yards. Fueled by oil wealth, steel-and-glass buildings now rise from what had been a relatively dilapidated section. Some of the best shops, theaters, restaurants, and cultural attractions are here, along with apartments for such well-heeled owners.
The main attractions in eastern Oslo are the Botanic Garden (Botanisk Hage), the Zoological Museum, and the Munch Museum in Tøyen.
To the west of Oslo, 4 miles by car but better reached by car ferry, is the Bygdøy peninsula. There you’ll find such attractions as the Norwegian Folk Museum, the Viking ships, the polar ship Fram Museum, and the Kon-Tiki Museum.
Many Oslo neighborhoods lie along the Oslofjord, which stretches more than 60 miles north from the Skagerrak to Oslo, and is filled with basins dotted with islands. (There are 40 islands in the immediate Oslo archipelago).
Nearly all visitors want to see Holmenkollen, a wooded range of hills northwest of the city rising to about 1,740 feet. You can reach it in 35 minutes by electric train from the city center. Marka, Oslo’s forest, is a sprawling recreation area that offers hiking, bicycle riding, skiing, fishing, wild berry picking, jogging trails, and more. It contains 343 lakes, 310 miles of ski trails, 387 miles of trails and roads, 11 sports chalets, and 24 ski jumps and alpine slopes.
Some would be happy to come to Oslo just for the views of the harborfront city and the Oslofjord. Panoramas are a major attraction, especially the one from Tryvannstårnet, a 390-foot observation tower atop 1,900-foot-high Tryvann Hill in the outlying area. On the other side you have the funkis-restaurant Ekebergrestauranten, with a panorama view overlooking Oslo. Many other attractions are worthy of your time and exploration, too. The beautiful surroundings make these sights even more appealing.
PLACE OF INTEREST
The Akershus Fortress, Norway´s Resistance Museum, the Prison Museum, the Armed Forces Museum, Holmenkollen, Ski Museum, Aker Brygge, the new Opera House, the new Ekebergrestaurant, Oslo Cathedral, the City Hall, the Royal Palace, the University, the Nobel Institute, the Historical Museum, the National Gallery, the National Theatre, the Astrup Fearnly Museum, the Children´s Art Museum, the Ibsen Museum, the Parliamant Building, the Munch Museum, the Vigeland Sculpture Park / Museum, the Botanic Garden, the Zoological Museum, the Norwegian Folk Museum, the Viking Ship Museum, the Polar Fram Museum, the Kon-Tiki / Ra Museum, Minibottle gallery, Henie Onstad Art Center.
HOLMENKOLLEN and THE SKI MUSEUM
Steeped in tradition. the world-famous skijump above Oslo. At Holmenkollen, an elevator takes visitors up the jump tower for a view of Oslo and the fjord. Nearly all visitors want to see Holmenkollen, a wooded range of hills northwest of the city rising to about 1,740 feet.
Devoted to the works of Edvard Munch (1863-1944), Scandinavia’s leading painter, this collection was his gift to the city. It traces his work from early realism to latter-day expressionism. The exhibits change periodically. His work can also be found in the National Gallery, the University and the City Hall.
VIGELAND SCULPTURE PARK
The lifetime work of Gustav Vigeland, Norway’s greatest sculptor, is on display in 75-acre Frogner Park, in western Oslo. The Vigeland Sculpture Park have more than 200 sculptures in granite, bronze, and iron are here. Notice his four granite columns, symbolizing the fight between humanity and evil (a dragon, the embodiment of evil, embraces a woman). The Fountain, The Monolith, The Bridge Statues and the Wheel of Life illustrate the Cycle of Life, all aspects of human relations and emotions. Don´t miss The Angry Boy. The angry boy is the most photographed statue in the park. The most celebrated work is the 52-foot monolith composed of 121 colossal figures, all carved into one piece of stone.
Nearby the Vigeland Sculpture Park is the Vigeland Museum, the former studio of Norway’s greatest sculptor, Gustav Vigeland. It contains more of his works, sketches, and woodcuts.
In 1994 Oslo opened a museum to honor its most famous writer. Ibsen lived in an apartment within walking distance of the National Theater from 1895 until his death in 1906. Here he wrote two of his most famous plays, John Gabriel Borkman and When We Dead Awaken. The museum curators have tried to re-create the apartment (a longtime exhibit at the Norwegian Folk Museum) as authentically as possible.
NORWEGIAN FOLK MUSEUM
One of Europe´s largest outdoor museums, showing Norwegian traditions and culture. From all over Norway, 140 original buildings have been transported and reassembled on 35 acres on the Bygdøy peninsula. This open-air folk museum, one of the oldest of its kind, includes a number of medieval buildings.
Inside, the museum’s 225,000 exhibits capture every imaginable facet of Norwegian life, past and present. Furniture, household utensils, clothing, woven fabrics, and tapestries are on display, along with fine examples of rose painting and wood carving. Also look for the outstanding exhibit on Norway’s Lapp population.
KON-TIKI / RA MUSEUM
The adventure museums on the tip of Bygdøynes. Polar and tropical expeditions that have altered our view of world history. Kon-Tiki is a world-famous balsa/log raft. In 1947, the young Norwegian scientist Thor Heyerdahl and five comrades sailed it from Callao, Peru, to Raroia, Polynesia (4,300 miles).
Polar Ship FRAM
This museum contains the sturdy polar exploration ship Fram, which Fridtjof Nansen sailed across the Arctic (1893-96). The vessel was later used by the famed Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole (1911).
NORWEGIAN MARITIME MUSEUM
Next to Fram and Kon-Tiki on Bygdøynes, you will find Norwegian Maritime Museum (Norsk Sjøfartsmuseum), an encyclopaedia of Norwegian maritime tradition sailing boats old-fashioned ships, hundreds of models of ships right from Viking times up to the present day slide-shows and films.
VIKING SHIP MUSEUM
Displayed here are three Viking burial vessels that were excavated on the shores of the Oslofjord and preserved in clay. The most spectacular find is the 9th-century Oseberg, discovered near Norway’s oldest town, Tønsberg. The richly ornamented 64-foot dragon ship is the burial chamber of a Viking queen and her slave. The Gokstad find is an outstanding example of Viking vessels because it’s so well preserved. The smaller Tune ship was never restored. Look for the Oseberg’s animal-head post and four-wheeled cart, and the elegantly carved sleigh used by Viking royalty.
HENIE-ONSTAD ART CENTER
Former skating champion and movie star Sonja Henie and her husband, shipping tycoon Niels Onstad, opened this museum to display their art collection. On a handsome site beside the Oslofjord, 7 miles west of Oslo, it’s an especially good 20th-century collection. There are some 1,800 works by Munch, Picasso, Matisse, Léger, Bonnard, and Miró. Henie’s contributions can be seen in her Trophy Room.
It emerged near the mouth of the Oslofjord in the old wharf area formerly used for shipbuilding yards. Fueled by oil wealth, steel-and-glass buildings now rise from what had been a relatively dilapidated section. Some of the best shops, theaters, restaurants, and cultural attractions are here, along with apartments for such well-heeled owners.
One of the oldest historical monuments in Oslo, Akershus Castle was built in 1300 by Haakon V. Magnusson. It was a fortress and a royal residence for several centuries. A fire in 1527 devastated the northern wing, and the castle was rebuilt and transformed into a royal Renaissance palace under the Danish-Norwegian king, Christian IV. Now the government uses it for state occasions. English-speaking guided tours are offered Monday to Saturday at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm, and on Sunday at 1 and 3pm.
ASTRUP FEARNLY MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
The changing exhibits concentrate on Norwegian artists and on foreigners. The displays come from the museum’s collection, with some items from other museums in rotating exhibits. The museum, which has large, airy, well-lit display areas, was created by some of Norway’s leading architects and designers.
OSLO CATHEDRAL (Oslo Domkirke)
Oslo’s 17th-century cathedral at Stortorvet (the marketplace) was restored in 1950, when Hugo Louis Mohr completed its modern tempera ceiling decorations. The cathedral contains works by 20th-century Norwegian artists, including bronze doors by Dagfin Werenskiold.
Constructed from 1861 to 1866, the Parliament, in the center of the city, was richly decorated by contemporary Norwegian artists. The style is neo-Romanesque. The public is admitted only on guided tours. Guided tours in English.
THE NATIONAL GALLERY
Provides one with a complere understanding of Norwegian art and consolidates Norways place in art history Large classical international colection.
CHILDREN´S ART MUSEUM
See the world through children’s eyes in the museum that presents children’s art from 180 countries.
This is the largest amusement park in Norway, conceived as a smaller version of Copenhagen’s Tivoli. It includes a number of simple restaurants, a roller coaster with a loop and corkscrew, an amphitheater with all-day entertainment by performers such as musicians and clowns, and many games of skill or chance. The park is 12 miles south of the Central Station.
You can play Golf on several courses in and around Oslo. Oslo Golfclub have 18 holes and is located in Bogstad, Groruddalen Golfclub have 9 holes and is located in Groruddalen, Brekke Golfclub is under construction, Grønmo Golfclub located at Skullerud, Golfcenter is a golfsimulation located at Myren Verksted on Torshov, and Grini Golfclub a 9 holes course located at Østerås, Kringsjå Golfclub located close to Løkka Farm at Sognsvann, Holmenkollen Golfclub is under construction. Asker Golfkclub have 18 holes and is located in Asker, Hauger Golfclub have 18 holes and is located in Nittedal, Innesvingen Golf, Losby Golfclub have 27 holes and is located in Lørenskog, Nes Golfclub, Oppegård Golfclub have 18 holes and is located in Oppegård, Ski Golfclub have 9 holes and is located in Krokhol, Østmarka Golfclub have 18 holes and is located in Enebakk.
Tryvann Skisenter is the city’s alpine facility, and Wyllerløypa is the alpine facility located in from Sørkedalen. In the summer, hiking, fishing, cycling and canoeing are popular activities. Tryvann Skisenter have 7 slopes and 6 lifts: everything from children’s and beginner’s slopes to a snowboarding area and challenging expert slopes that meet international competitive standards. An extensive system of snowmaking machines and an altitude of 500 metres above sea level give us enough snow to operate from the beginning of December to April.