The Norwegian capital Oslo, which was called Christiania or Kristiania a few centuries ago, is located in the south-east of Norway. The name Christiania was given to Oslo after King Christian IV rebuilt the city after the fierce and devastating fire in 1624. Only around 1925 this was changed back to Oslo. Although the climate is not much different from ours, it can snow a little more in winter. The ski jump at Holmenkollen is therefore the highest point and is often referred to as a landmark. The cultural heart of Oslo has a lot to offer when it comes to visiting museums. The city has at least fifty. On the Bygdøy peninsula, there are a number of very interesting ones close together. In addition, the city itself is full of historical sights, nice shops, trendy terraces and other nice restaurants. Oslo is a city where you don’t have to be bored for a day.
Top 10 things to do in Oslo
#1. Royal palace
In the first half of the eighteenth century, this palace of Oslo was built on the Bellevue after a design by architect Hans Ditlev Franciscus Linstow. It took more than twenty years to complete it. With the arrival of King Harald V, various adjustments have been made and innovations have taken place. During the summer months, when the king and his family largely reside elsewhere, parts of the palace are opened to the public.
#2. The Stortinget
According to BRIDGAT.COM, the parliament of Oslo is active in this beautiful building. Translated from Norwegian to Dutch, Stortinget literally means ‘the great negotiation’. The structure at Karl Johans gate 22 has its origins in the year 1860, after which it was officially put into use in 1866. The Swedish architect Emil Victor Langlet is responsible for the beautiful design, both inside and out. In any case, it did him no harm. It was the beginning of his successful career. During certain parts of the year, the Stortinget can be visited with a guide.
#3. Oslo Cathedral
Oslo Cathedral is regularly the stage for public performances by the royal family. The beautiful stained glass windows provide the most beautiful light and atmosphere. Great masters in their profession have been approached for the decoration and finishing to make this cathedral the most beautiful in the country. For example, the silver work of art ‘The Last Supper’ was made by the Italian sculptor Arrigo Minerbi, who was also approached for the Milan Cathedral. Special details to know are that the original stones with which this cathedral was built, mainly come from the Netherlands. The red stones are from a later restoration because the stones from the Netherlands were no longer available.
The Akershus was once built to protect the city of Oslo from outside danger. The strategic location bears witness to this. Many battles and sieges have been survived and battles have been fought. It was therefore never possible to overpower the Norwegians. There was even a period when ‘famous’ prisoners were locked up because it functioned as a prison. Anyway, there is a lot of history to be found here. Although the structure is still on military land, it is open to the public every day. You can visit the Resistance Museum and Norwegian Armed Forces Museum.
#5. University of Oslo
De Noose ‘Universitetet i Oslo’ is praised for its qualities. It is the largest and oldest university in all of Norway. You can study Law, Anthropology, Medicine, Theology, Dentistry, Natural Sciences and Education. The university itself is located in a prestigious building with suitable buildings in the vicinity, such as those of the national theater, the parliament and the royal castle.
The Bygdøy peninsula of Oslo can best be described as a museum and recreation island. Here you will find a number of particularly interesting museums, nice walking areas, beautiful beaches and good restaurants. A boat departs regularly from the town hall at pier 3 and takes you to the island within fifteen minutes. Once you arrive you can visit several museums such as the Holocaust Center (Holocoustsenteret), the Norwegian Maritime Museum (Norsk Maritim Museum), the Viking Ship Museum (Vikingskipshuset) or the Norwegian Folk Museum (Norsk Folkemuseum).
#7. Karl Johans Gate
This main street in Oslo is the most prestigious. Not only because it takes you to the royal palace, but also to the old historical buildings such as Tostrupgården, the university and the Storting that are located on this famous street. In addition, there are nice shops and cozy catering establishments. Downtown Oslo starts here.
#8. Norsk Folkemuseum
The best introduction to Norwegian life and the city of Oslo is with a visit to the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. The partly open-air museum is located on the Bygdøy peninsula where many other interesting museums can be found. The museum, founded in 1894, has a collection of more than 150 old houses from various places in Norway. The most important structure is the Gol Stavkirke. This church dates from the early thirteenth century. In the covered part there is more attention for traditional costumes, Sami culture, toys and folk arts.
#9. The National Theater
In the beautiful surroundings of buildings such as the royal palace, the deposit and the railway station, Norway’s leading national theater is located. Opposite the main entrance are the statues of icons Henrik Ibsen and Bjørbstjerne Bjørnson. Both were well known as (stage) writers and poets. Only the best of the best is good enough to play here. The productions are of a diverse genre and the acoustics are phenomenal.
This impressive sculpture park should definitely be in the Top 10 of Oslo. The park, which is named after the artist Gustav Vigeland, is filled with more than two hundred special sculptures made between 1907 and 1942. The layout of the park is also a feast for the eyes. Meters high columns are interspersed with fountains, a bridge and sleekly designed gardens. More art can be discovered in the adjacent Vigeland Museum. Here, man is central from cradle to grave.