2019 | Oslo, Norway

This text refers to my visit to Oslo in April 2019 and my impressions at the time.

Let’s dive!

Strongly connected to the sea, Oslo is in a process of modernising without destroying its past. Located deep in a fjord, with many islands not very far from the mainland, it has beautiful landscapes and plenty of museums to get to know the Norwegian history and culture. Although not very monumental, it has a unique and peaceful atmosphere.

Looking at the harbour from a hill top, the Akershus Fortress has been witnessing Oslo growth since 1299, and it has undergone several expansions and improvements for serving different purposes. Check its history in Wikipedia 45762-200. Nowadays, the Fortress houses different offices and museums, including the Norway’s Resistance Museum, where we can learn about the time the nazi party invaded Norway (with the help of a Norwegian party), how the resistance was organised and which was the role of the Royal Family. When the Second World War broke, King Haakon VII had recently been elected (in 1905) due to the dissolution of the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, which had been formed in 1814. Between 1814 and 1905 Sweden and Norway were two countries with the same King, but all policies, except foreign affairs, were separate. King Haakon VII and the Crown Prince took refuge in London in 1940 and led the resistance from there.

Akershus Fortress

Resistance Museum

Aker Brygge

Down the hill, and facing the pier, the City Hall is an imposing building that dominates the area of Aker Brygge and reflects the architecture of the 1950’s. On December 10th each year, the day Alfred Nobel died, a ceremony takes place here to award the Nobel Peace Prize. Unlike all other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded in Sweden, and according with the wishes of Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Norway because Norwegians use dynamite for good reasons (for example, to build roads through the mountains). Next to the City Hall, in an old train station that has been recovered, the Nobel Peace Centre 45762-200 has a permanent exhibition with all the laureates and a temporary exhibition explaining the reasons why the latest laureate won the prize.

Nobel Peace Centre

City Hall

Karl Johans gate

Moving away from the harbour and towards the city centre, we can find the Karl Johans gate, a 1.5 km avenue from the 19th century that goes from the Central Train Station all the way to the Royal Palace, passing by the Oslo’s Cathedral, the Storing (the Norwegian Parliament), and the National Theatre. This avenue was named after the first King of the House of Bernadotte, the family that reigned in Norway between 1818 to 1905 and that also reigned in Sweden at the same time (there was a King from another House that reigned both countries between 1814 and 1818). All the sites mentioned were built during this time, except the Cathedral that dates from the 17th century.

Royal Palace

Storing (at the back)

Oslo’s Cathedral

Opposite to the Central Train Station, on the waterfront, we find Bjørvika, the most modern and trendy part of the city. Besides a residential area, this old port is becoming a cultural hub, currently including the new Munch Museum and the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet 45762-200 – a unique work of architecture, the building seems to rise from the water, connecting the water and the land. Two grand ramps, one of the each side of the glassed main building, allow people to walk to the roof and enjoy an amazing view of the fjord.

Norwegian National Opera & Ballet

On the top

Modern buildings

Astrup Fearnley Museum

From there, it is possible to walk towards the Akershus Fortress and climb down the hill on the other side back to Aker Brygge. There, opposite to the Fortress, we can find another very modern and trendy area, a place full of international (and very expensive) shops and restaurants. Starting near the Nobel Peace Centre, passing the boats, we can walk through stylist buildings all the way to the Marina and the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art 45762-200, a building that is an piece of art itself.

From the Aker Brygge pier, we can go on a boat trip through the fjord and see the amazing old houses built along the way and on the different islands. Besides fishing cabins and holiday residences, there are also lighthouses and the beautiful mountains to admire.

Oslo fjord

Houses in the fjord

Old lighthouse

Another delightful boat trip is to Bygdøy, which is actually a peninsula. Besides fancy holiday residences, there is also plenty of interesting museums:

  • The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norsk Folkemuseum) 45762-200 is an outdoor museum showing typical Norwegian houses from different regions and different periods of time;
  • The Viking Ship Museum (Vikingskipshuset) 45762-200 is where some famous Viking ships are kept;
  • The Fram Museum (Frammuseet) 45762-200 is a museum literally built around the polar expedition ship called Fram;
  • Norwegian Maritime Museum (Norsk Maritimt Museum) 45762-200 displays ships and other objects related with the Navy;
  • The Kon-Tiki Museum (Kon-Tiki Museet) 45762-200 tells the story of a raft built by a man who wanted to cross the Pacific Ocean.


    At the Norsk Folkemuseum

    At the Vikingskipshuset

    The Fram

    The Vigeland Park 45762-200 is a wide park full of sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. He portrayed naked people, with incredible details. There is also a museum dedicated to the artist and his works and the Oslo Museum 45762-200, which tells the history of the city. We can also get to know about the Sámi people, a people who dedicate to herding reindeer and live in Lapland, a region up in the North that extends between Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

    Holmenkollen is the National Ski Arena 45762-200, which includes facilities to ski jumping, cross-country ski, and biathlon. It is situated in a residential neighbourhood on the top of a mountain. To get there, we can take a train that climbs the mountain in a vertiginous and stunning journey. Inside the ski jumping structure, a museum displays the history of Norwegian ski sports and includes objects from the early times. We can also access to the top of the structure. Besides a wonderful view, the most brave people can also do slide from the top to the landing ramp down there and feel like a true ski jumper.


    View at the top of the ski jump structure

    General view

    Coffee. That is what you have to drink once in Oslo. The coffee is amazing everywhere. Really: everywhere. There is even free coffee at the lounge of some hotels – and yes, delicious. Food in general is also delicious and typical meals include whale and moose.

    Here is a motion time-lapse of Oslo.

    Novel to read when in Oslo:
    “The Redbreast” by Jo Nesbø

    After solving two crimes abroad involving Norwegian people, one in Australia and another in Thailand, Detective Harry Hole is now one of the police officers engaged in the operation to ensure the security of the President of USA. Although successful, Harry Hole solved both crimes almost by chance and in a messy way. His heart is in the right place, but not necessary on the same side as everyone else. And that is again shown during the security operation of the USA President. His supervisors have no idea what to do with him. All things considered, his action was justified and maybe he should get an award. As that is not possible, he is promoted to Inspector in the Secret Services and his first case is to investigate a group of neo-nazis. It seems to be a simple task, but nothing is simple in Harry’s life. This investigation intersects with the actions of a Second World War veteran who roams the streets of Oslo, doing strange arrangements and killing people.

    When Jo Nesbø was 18 years-old he was convinced he was going to be a famous footballer… but he got injured and had to figure out something else to do. So, he joined the army and studied to go to University. While completing his degree in Economics, he ended up in a band playing the guitar, singing as the leading singer, and composing songs. After graduated and while working in Finance, he became the leading singer of another band. Then, he burned out and went to Australia to recover… and write his first novel. The success was instantaneous and it was possible for him to become a full-time writer.