Oslo, which celebrated its millennium in the year 2000,
is Norway’s most populous district, providing a home for more
than one-tenth of the country’s inhabitants in a mere 700th
of its total area.
Urban and industrial development only occupies one-eighth of the
land within the city boundaries, the rest consisting mainly of woods,
islands in Oslo Fjord, and lakes.
The city has a strong arts culture, with a great choice of museums
and galleries. The Munch Museum is the main draw
among these, others include
The National Gallery
Norwegian Museum of Applied Arts
Thor Heyerdahl Kon-Tiki Museum
Norwegian Folk Museum
Viking Ships Museum
Norwegian Home Front Museum, which tells the story of the country’s
occupation during World War II.
Ibsen Museum was the playwright’s home prior to his death
Away from the immediate city centre, the Holmenkollen ski
jumping complex with its Museum of Skiing
is very popular, as are the 12th-century Cistercian monastery
ruins on Hovedøya, a short boat trip from the harbour. About
4km (2.5 miles) to the east of the city centre lies Østensjøvannet,
a lakeside bird sanctuary.
Principal architectural interest in Oslo focuses on the Kongelige
Slott (Royal Palace), Stortinget (Parliament
Building), the Cathedral and Åkershus Castle.
Boat trips on the fjord are readily available,
and the main shopping area is along Karl
Johansgate, which runs from the Central Station to the
Royal Palace. Guided city bus tours operate throughout the year.
Oslo’s entertainment centres include:
Norwegian National Theatre
Norwegian Opera House
(the Concert House)
Spektrum, the main rock and pop concert venue.
prime exhibition centre is at Lillestrøm,
one of the stops with the flytrain to Oslo (website: www.messe.no).
The Oslo Fjord
Surrounding Oslo Fjord are the Fylker (counties)
of Åkershus, Buskerud, Østfold and
Telemark, all within a day trip of the capital.
All are dotted with historic and prehistoric sites of varying importance,
along with manor houses, stone churches and fortifications.
Among the principal towns in the region, outside the capital, is
Fredrikstad, the attractions of which include a
picturesque Old Town and 17th-century Kongsten Fort.
Close to Lillestrøm, to the northeast of
Oslo, is Sørumsand, which boasts the Tertitten
narrow-gauge railway and museum.
The oldest building in the industrialised town of Drammen
is the Skoger Old Church, which dates from 1200.
Kongsberg is particularly well endowed
with museums, among them the Silver Collection,
the Royal Mint Museum, and the Arms Factory
The Saggrenda Silver Mine is 8km (5 miles) from
On the western shore of Oslo Fjord lies Sandefjord,
with its Whaling Museum (Norway is one of just
three countries worldwide still involved in commercial whaling).
Porsgrunn, near to Sandefjord, has long
been a centre of the porcelain industry, the Town Museum
tells its story, the Porcelain Factory is open to visits by appointment
Nearby Skien, birthplace of Ibsen,
his childhood home contains a multimedia exhibition about the playwright.
The navigable Telemark Waterway links Skien with
the interior via a system of canals.
South of Oslo, an unusual wooden bridge over the E18 motorway, built
to the 1502 design of Leonardo da Vinci and officially
unveiled during October 2001, is well worth a visit.