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Oslo: a modern city full of large parks and museums

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Oslo (570,000 inhabitants, over 1,000,000 in the metropolitan area) is the capital and largest city of Norway. The city is located in the south-eastern part of the country along the northern coast of the Oslofjord, in the innermost part of the fjord. The capital of Norway is located in a flat area dominated by hills. This is today a modern city among the greenest in Europe full of large parks and protected areas.


The city was founded in the 11th century and became the capital of Norway in the 14th century with the construction of the Akershus fortress. In 1380, with the union of Norway with Denmark, the city lost its role of capital in favor of Copenhagen. Role that regained only in 1814, when Norway became independent from Denmark.

However, the Danish period saw the commercial development of Oslo thanks to the processing of hides and leather. Until the 16th century, this trade was in the hands of German merchants. In the seventeenth century a great fire destroyed much of the city. From that moment the city was renamed Christiania in honor of the Danish king Christian IV who went out of his way to rebuild it on the ashes of the fire.

The new city was built north of Akershus castle. This area of the city is still the commercial core of Oslo, centered on the main square, the Stortorget. In the central area of the city are the medieval fortress of Akershus (14th century) and the 12th century church of San Hallvard. The rest of the buildings in the historic center are more recent, the oldest part dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Here is also the Royal Palace (Slottet) built in the 19th century.


Oslo has a modern look with modern public buildings and large green parks such as the central Slottsparken which surrounds the Royal Palace (Slottet). Other city parks include St. Hanshaugen Park and the vast Frogner Park (Frognerparken). The latter, located north-west of the center, is the largest in the city and is characterized by sculptures by Gustav Vigeland and the museum of his works.


Oslo has a good amount of museums where numerous works of art are kept, including a large collection of works by Edvard Munch which is kept in the Munch Museum (Munch-museet). This museum displays over half of Munch’s pictorial production and the originals or at least a copy of all his prints. The National Museum (Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design) houses the largest Norwegian art collection. This museum is divided into various parts, there are the National Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the National Museum of Architecture. At the University of Oslo there is an interesting Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisk museum, NHM).

In the suburb of Bygdøy, west of central Oslo, there are some interesting museums dedicated to the history of the Vikings. Among these we find the Fram Museum, dedicated to Norwegian polar explorations. The famous Viking Ship Museum (Vikingskiphuset), with some original Viking boats in excellent condition. The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norsk Folkemuseum) with originals and reconstructions of ancient Norwegian peasant houses. This open-air museum contains 155 authentic old buildings from all parts of Norway, including an ancient 13th century wooden church (Gol stavkirke). The Kon-Tiki Museum dedicated to the expedition of Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki. And finally the Norwegian Maritime Museum (Norsk Maritimt Museum) dedicated to the history of boats and fishing.

The climate of Oslo.

Site of the Municipality of Oslo.

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