Oslo, Norway

According to abbreviationfinder, Oslo is the imperial capital of Norway, with (2021) 697 000 residents the most populous city in the country.

Oslo lies at the foot of the forest-covered heights (e.g. Nordmarka, 529 m above sea level) around the northernmost bay of the Oslofjord, which cuts deep into the land. The city forms its own administrative district with 426 km 2, which is, however, closely integrated with the surrounding Akershus (capital region 975 700 residents).

Oslo is the economic, trade and cultural center of Norway as well as a Lutheran and Catholic bishopric. The main educational institutions are the university (founded in 1811), the metropolitan university (university status since 2018), architecture and design college, sports, music, art college, veterinary college, academy of sciences. Oslo is home to the National Theater and the only Norwegian opera house (Neues Opernhaus [2008]). There are also several libraries, including the University Library, which serves as the national library, and the Reich Archives. The varied museum landscape includes the National Gallery, the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, the Ibsen Museum, the Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Munch Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the museum area Bygdøy is particularly well known. Other central facilities are the botanical garden, the Goethe Institute and the British and Italian cultural institutes.

The economy is shaped by trade (especially maritime trade), information technology, finance, advertising and media (publishers, radio and television companies). The most important branches of industry are electrical engineering, electronics and optical industry.

Oslo is the starting point of the railroad lines and roads radiating to all parts of the country. Mainly imports are handled via the port (container and cruise terminals); there are ferry connections with Copenhagen, Frederikshavn and Kiel. Oslo Airport, until 2013 Oslo-Gardermoen (2017: 27.5 million passengers), is connected to the center by a high-speed train. The suburban railways (partly rack railways) built since 1926 are run underground in the center area. The Holmenkollen is located in the northwest of the Oslo city center.


The oldest building in the city is Akershus Fortress (founded at the end of the 13th century) on a rocky peninsula above the Oslofjord, which was expanded into a castle under King Christian IV (1588–1648) (including a resistance museum and a military history museum).

The simple cathedral (1664–97) received a splendid baroque interior, partly replaced by neo-Gothic furnishings in 1849/50 (bronze door with reliefs at the main entrance, 1938). Classicist are among others. the royal palace (1825–48) and the university (1840–52); In the auditorium there is a mural by E. Munch (1926). Examples of historicism are the Storting (parliament building, 1861–66) and the National Theater (1891–99, interior decoration partly in Art Nouveau).

The New Theater (1929) was groundbreaking for functionalism. The town hall (1931–50, based on plans by Arnstein Arneberg, * 1882, † 1961, and M. Poulsson), a brick-clad concrete building with two mighty towers, is the town’s landmark (wall paintings inside by P. L. Krohg and E. Munch). The Vigelandsanlage in Frognerpark is an open-air museum with sculptures by G. Vigeland. As part of new urban planning projects (including the redesign of the harbor area), the new opera house was built in 2008 according to plans by the Snøhetta architectural office.


A municipal reform will come into force on January 1, 2020. Norway is now divided into 11 provinces (Fylker) and subordinate to 356 municipalities (Kommuner). The provinces and municipalities have elected council assemblies (Fylkesting), which in turn appoint a provincial committee as the executive. The Sami in Northern Norway have their own parliamentary assembly (Sameting).


Oslo, around 1048 by King Harald III. founded, became a bishopric between 1066 and 1093 and a royal seat in 1286. Akershus fortress was also built at the end of the 13th century. During the period of personal union with Denmark, Oslo lost its residence functions and was overshadowed by the economically more important port city of Bergen and the coronation city of Trondheim. In 1624 King Christian IV. from Denmark and Norway to build a new city (with a system of streets at right angles) north of the Akershus Fortress after a fire destroyed large parts of Oslo. The city named after him, renamed Oslo again in 1924, became the capital of the Kingdom of Norway after Norway was dissolved from Denmark in 1814 and in 1905 after the personal union with Sweden was terminated. In 1952, Oslo hosted the Winter Olympics.


Central and Northern Norway are part of the boreal forest belt. Central European deciduous forests still occur on the Skagerrak coast and on the southwestern coastline. In central southern Norway, the tree line is 1,200 m above sea level, but from there it sinks very quickly to the west and less rapidly to the north. The coniferous forest is followed by the mountain birch zone (Betula tortuosa, 200 m vertical extension), which in turn is replaced by the vegetation level of the Kahlfjell with heather and moors.

Oslo, Norway