ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR A WEEKEND OF URBAN SAUNAS, WORLD-CLASS COFFEE AND NATURE EXPERIENCES
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Before you go
Norwegian for beginners
10 Welcome to Oslo
12 FREDAG/FRIDAY 14 Discover Oslo by foot 20 Visit Vigelandsparken 22 Oslo must-see - Five sculture parks 24 Wining & Dining 26 A sauna with a view
28 LØRDAG/SATURDAY 30 City and nature side by side 32 Visit Holmenkollen 34 Sørenga 36 Museums 38 Playful saturday nights
40 SØNDAG/SUNDAY 42 Sunday stroll 44 Norwegian concepts 46 Culinary Oslo 48 Drink coffee like a Norwegian
50 FESTLIGHETER/FESTIVITIES 52 Celebrate 17 May 54 Event calendar 58 Index © Tord Baklund
60 Metro map
A weekend in Oslo
Growing up in a small town in the south-east of Norway, to me, Oslo always seemed like a shiny diamond glimmering in the distance. Where my hometown was quiet and sleepy with not much going on, Oslo was enticingly busy, full of life, events and adventure. As soon as high school was over, I left my home for Oslo, ready for all it had to offer. I spent my days walking the streets of the capital, getting to know the different districts, learning the city way of life, and I fell in love with the Oslo culture: the coffee shops with their deep discussions, the picnics in the lush, green parks, the concerts and festivals with their joyous energy, and the dark winter nights lit up by street lights and candles all made Oslo magical. More than a decade later, I left Norway for the UK to see what else the world had to offer in an even bigger city. But the entire time I lived there, I missed the Oslo lifestyle – the nature of the people, the food and drink, and the modern infrastructure and accommodations of the city I’d made mine all those years ago; the city where technology and tradition go hand in hand and the city feels big and exciting though the distances allow for walking and biking wherever you want to go. I had to go home. Even though it felt like I’d never left, getting to know Oslo again was every bit as magical this time around. The city has found its distinctive identity among the Scandinavian capitals, and what was a city still searching for its modern expression the first time I moved there has become a thriving, pulsing urban capital, focusing on bringing people together despite the secluded nature of Scandinavians, the harsh climate, and the city’s reputation for being quiet and reserved. With this e-guide, I invite you to discover Oslo with me. Visit the food halls that gather crowds across generations, tastes and traditions. Explore the art and parks that let people enjoy the city’s spaces for free, despite the infamously high prices elsewhere here. Enjoy the proximity of nature, providing city dwellers and tourists with fresh air and activity. Attend the festivals, markets and events that bring people together in the enjoyment of culture and experiences. Taste what has been dubbed among the best coffee in the world, while watching the world go by. Sip a frosty ‘utepils’ beer outside in the spring sun, or take a ferry out to one of the many islands in the Oslo archipelago. Enjoy the Oslo life as a local would. It’s all there for your enjoyment. God tur!
Alyssa Nilsen, Author
A weekend in Oslo
BEFORE YOU GO Oslo is a city that requires entirely different planning and packing depending on what time of the year you choose to visit and what you wish to experience. You can opt for an urban, big-city experience with shopping, museums and food, a weekend of nature and the outdoors, or a relaxing time in saunas and coffee shops. Each choice calls for different planning, and hopefully, this guide will leave you a little bit wiser as to what to bring and what to expect.
When to go? In short, all year long. Norway is a long country with several different climates. The western parts are cooler and wetter than the east, and the north is colder than the south. Oslo, despite being located by a fjord, is sheltered from the wild and wet coastal climate of the west due to the large mountain chains in the middle of the country. The summers tend to be warm and dry, with the odd heatwave or cool spell and occasional rain showers. The winters are cold and dark, but its location by the fjord leaves Oslo with a milder climate than further north or in inland towns and cities. Still, the temperate can plummet to -10°C and snow is not uncommon. Spring tends to be sunny and mild, whereas autumn brings a bit of everything, meaning it’s not at all uncommon to have sun, rain and snow in the same day. But Norwegians are used to the vastly different seasons, and there is no such thing as downtime. Winter brings skiing, winter sports 6
and Christmas markets; summer brings festivals, hiking and beach life. Spring has celebrations and sunsoaking activities, and autumn brings indoor cosiness. As Norwegians say, ‘Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær’ (‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’), so if a trip in the wintertime is on the cards, pack layers, woollen clothes and good boots, and you’re good to go. Make sure your boots have proper soles that will grip onto snow and ice, rather than patternless ones that will make them as slippery as ice skates. For summer trips, it’s still advised to bring layers as the nights, though bright, can get quite cool, but also pack sun cream, swimwear and sunglasses. The summers can get hot, and the sun doesn’t set until late in the evening. Norwegians are fond of comfortable clothes and footwear, so focusing on comfort and quality won’t make you stand out among the locals. Oslo is relatively safe, but as is always
the case in a city with lots of people in the same place, it might be a good idea to bring a backpack or handbag with zippers, to make sure you leave with the same amount of belongings you arrived with. What to book? Oslo does have a reputation for being an expensive city, but public transport is quite cheap compared to many other capitals, and with extra offers in place for tourists to get as much out of their money as possible. Ordinary tickets can be bought at ticket machines and in kiosks all over the city, but for good deals on transport and experiences, buy an Oslo Pass lasting 24, 48 or 72 hours. The pass includes travel on all public transport across the city as well as suburbs and districts (Oslo as well as Lillestrøm, Nittedal, Asker, Ski, Nesodden and Drøbak), and includes free access to several museums and attractions, as well as discounted restaurants, sightseeing and activities. The pass
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is available online and at several outlets in Oslo. (http://www.visitoslo.com/no/ aktiviteter-og-attraksjoner/oslo-pass) If you’ve got your eyes on a specific restaurant, particularly those with Michelin-stars, booking in advance is a good idea, even though Norwegians tend to eat an early dinner, usually straight after work, around 5 to 6pm. For guided tours at the Royal Palace, booking in advance might also come in handy, and most restaurants, experiences and tours are available for booking online. Big sporting events tend to sell out, so keep an eye on when tickets go on sale to make sure to get the ones you want. How to get there? Oslo has Norway’s biggest international airport, OSL Gardermoen, making it an easy city to fly into from all over the world. Norwegian Air, RyanAir, SAS and British Airways are among the airlines offering direct flights from the
UK to Oslo. From the airport, there are local and regional Vy-trains, taking you straight into central Oslo in 23 minutes, as well as the slightly quicker but also more expensive airport express train, Flytoget. There are also airport buses, with stops in central Oslo as well as the suburbs. There is also a smaller airport further south along the coast, Torp Sandefjord Lufthavn, offering flights to London and Manchester, albeit with a slightly longer journey into Oslo. Where to stay? Oslo has hotels for every price category and every need. If you want to splash out for luxury and fjord views, book a room at award-winning design boutique hotel The Thief, located at Tjuvholmen, offering built-in sound systems, themed suites, a spa, and restaurant/bar. Prices start at 2,960 NOK. At the other end of the scale, there’s City-box, located 250 metres from Oslo Central Station, with simple comfort and prices starting
at 650 NOK. Or why not opt for Airbnb to see how the locals live? The quality of housing is generally high, and many locals will offer their guests advice on what to see, where to go, and how to get there. Cash or card? Norway is essentially a cash-less society. Most shops and restaurants still accept cash in one till, but people are encouraged to always pay by card or other contactless solutions. Note that public transport does not accept cash payments. This, in turn, saves tourists the exchange fee but might be challenging for those used to paying with cash everywhere in their home country. It often results in tourists running around with big wads of cash they’re trying to get rid of before leaving the country. For those staying longer, it’s also worth noting that more and more places accept payment through Norwegian payment app Vipps, for which you need a Norwegian bank account and phone number. 7
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A weekend in Oslo
NORWEGIAN FOR BEGINNERS For tourists visiting Norway, the prospect of a language barrier might be a tad daunting, until they arrive and realise that virtually everyone speaks English. Unless you visit remote valleys or talk exclusively to older inhabitants, you’ll likely never have to worry about not being understood. However, if you do address Norwegians in their native tongue, you’ll find they’re very easily charmed by your attempts.
How to speak Norwegian like the locals There are three extra letters – Æ, Ø and Å – which are essentially other letters mixed: Æ is A and E, Ø is O and E, and Å is A and O. The grammar is quite logical overall, but there are grammatical genders – nouns are either male, female or neutral. Norwegians can be misinterpreted as impolite by tourists or when visiting other countries, as modern-day Norwegian generally lacks phrases of politeness. People, regardless of age, profession or status, are not addressed using titles, like Sir or Madam, only their name. If you want to order coffee, a simple ‘thanks’ suffices – no need for ‘please’. Norwegians do, however, always thank the person responsible for making a meal. It’s considered rude to leave a table without saying ‘takk for maten’ (‘thanks for the food’). (This, of course, does not apply at restaurants or cafés.) Norwegians also apologise a lot, whether it is for disturbing you, bumping into you or interrupting you.
Snakker du norsk? Hei Hello Hadet bra Goodbye God morgen Good morning God natt Good night Hvordan går det? How are you? Takk for sist Thanks for last time/good to see you again Takk Thanks Unnskyld? Sorry? Jeg snakker ikke norsk I don’t speak Norwegian Snakker du engelsk? Do you speak English? Kan du hjelpe meg? Could you help me? I dag Today I morgen Tomorrow I går Yesterday Hvor finner jeg…? Where can I find the ...? Jeg elsker Oslo! I love Oslo! Hva vil du anbefale? What can you recommend? Hvitvin / Rødvin White wine / Red wine Kaffe Coffee Kan jeg få betale? May I pay, please? Kan jeg få regningen? The check, please En bank A bank Stasjon/ jernbanestasjon Train station Sykehus Hospital Flyplass Airport
A weekend in Oslo
WELCOME TO OSLO A day… A typical day for Oslo locals varies depending on the season. In the summer, the days and evenings are longer and people spend a lot more time outdoors, whereas in the winter, hygge at home is key to get through the long and dark season. Working days are shorter than in many other countries, and most meals are eaten at home.
7AM The day begins with a small but healthy breakfast, often cereal or open sandwiches made from dark, wholegrain bread with meat or cheese spread, juice, and a lot of very strong coffee. Many supermarkets open this early, for those who’ve forgotten to buy bread the day before.
8-9AM Offices open and the working day begins.
10AM Shops and shopping centres open their doors to customers.
11AM Lunchtime. Norwegian meals tend to take place earlier than in other countries, and a Norwegian lunch is usually light, 10
with more open sandwiches with simple spreads, and even more strong coffee. You’re also allowed a sweet pastry, to get your blood sugar back up for the next part of the day. Lunch is short, usually half an hour, and then it’s straight back to work.
4-5PM Most offices close for the day around this time, whereas shops stay open throughout the evening. If your working day is over, this is when you either go home to your family for dinner or meet friends at your favourite restaurant or food court. Dinner is the biggest meal of the day, and usually the only hot one. Whether it consists of meat, fish, vegetarian or vegan food, dinner is a time to sit down with your loved ones to relax, laugh, and reflect on the day so far. Dessert is usually saved for the weekend, but you’re
allowed a cup of coffee or two after the meal. Norwegians swear it helps digestion!
8PM Usually the last proper meal of the day – another meal mainly consisting of dark bread. And yes, Norwegians still drink coffee. Strong coffee.
11PM This is when Norwegians tend to go to bed on weekdays, to ensure they get enough sleep for the next day. In the winter, it might be earlier, and in the summer it might be later. Weekends are an exception, as most young adults finally head out around this time after pre-partying at home. Norwegian clubs and bars are expensive, so it’s common to start with a group of friends at home and head out late in the evening.
A weekend in Oslo
SOS Norway Hopefully, this is knowledge you won’t be needing during your stay, but if you do find yourself in a situation where you need medical or legal help, here’s what you need to know. Norwegian emergency numbers differ from the UK, in that there are three separate numbers depending on what you need. For police, dial 112; for
in injuries. They both tend to illnesses, and once you get there, they will talk to you and determine the urgency of your issue, and then tell you where to wait and how long the wait is expected to be. Urgent issues are prioritised. To contact the emergency rooms in advance, or for questions, call +47 116117 or +47 23 48 72 00.
ambulance, dial 113; and if there’s a fire, it’s 110. Don’t worry, though – if you can only remember one of them, let them know what you need help with and they’ll put you through to the right place. English is spoken by all, so you don’t have to know what to ask for in Norwegian.
If you need the police, they can be seen walking, driving or riding horses along the streets, and are always happy to have a chat. If you need attention urgently, either call the emergency number or, if you’re in a place with security guards, let them know and they can contact the police for you.
If you need medical assistance but you don’t quite need an ambulance, there are two general emergency rooms in Oslo, one centrally located at Storgata, and one at Aker Sykehus a bit further out from the city centre. The Storgata emergency room specialises
If you need help with a stolen passport or any other issues for which you need the British Embassy, it can be found at Thomas Heftyes gate 8, 0244 Oslo, or you can call them on +47 23 13 27 00. Their hours are 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
© Didrick Stenersen
Proper etiquette Tipping? The concept of tipping is practised very loosely in Norway. Most Norwegians never carry cash, and most restaurants, bars, taxis and cafés use card machines where you’re shown the full amount and get the chance to add however much you want. Most Norwegians round up the final price to the closest full number, so if a drink costs 77 NOK, you round it up to 80 NOK. For huge meals with several courses you may add a bit more, but food and drink are already expensive and wages are high, so tipping is just a way to show that you really appreciated the service and food. Some places include a service charge on the bill, so no extras need to be added unless you’ve ended up with lots of spare change that weighs you down. Tipping is a good way to get rid of coins, in a country where fewer and fewer places accept cash as payment. Being loud? On the surface, Norwegians are quiet and reserved people, and unless alcohol is involved, people keep their voices respectfully quiet. You won’t often hear shouting or loud people on the streets or in
shops or restaurants. However, when alcohol is involved, Norwegians tend to loosen up a bit and the volume rises, as well. Most areas, even in central Oslo, have residential spots, so be respectful when leaving bars or clubs as there will be people living nearby. The reservedness also includes talking to people you don’t know. Walking up to strangers to chat is unheard of, unless you need to ask for directions. Being late? Don’t. Being late is seen as disrespectful, and if asked, most Norwegians will list people being late as their number-one pet peeve. If dinner starts at 5pm, be there at 5pm, not at 5.30pm, or the food may well be gone. Of course, accidents happen and every now and then being late can’t be helped, but if you know that you’re about to be late, let the rest of the group know. If notice is given, people are usually very forgiving. If you’re late to an appointment, call in advance and let them know; often they can rearrange to accommodate you. If no notice is given, there tends to be a ten-minute window before the appointment is cancelled, in which case you might still be charged. 11
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A weekend in Oslo
DISCOVER OSLO BY FOOT Once checked into your hotel, it’s time to head outside and start enjoying the multitude of things Oslo has to offer.
O S L O C E N T R A L S TAT I O N Start your day at Oslo Central Station, a location easy to get to and use as a starting point whether you’re staying nearby or travel by public transport. Buy a takeaway coffee and a cinnamon roll K A R L J O H A N S G AT E at Østbanehallen, the food hall located at Oslo Central Station. Once you step outside, you’ll immediately see the Opera House and the fjord to your left, but the station also marks the start of Karl Johans gate, the long, and mostly pedestrian, street ending up at the Royal Palace. Step out onto the lively square and follow the stream of locals and tourists and take in the sights and sounds. Not only has Karl Johan got a multitude of shops and restaurants to browse through, but along the way, you will also find some of Oslo’s most important as well as most beautiful buildings.
© Didrick Stenersen
All metro lines, train lines and most tram and bus lines go through Oslo Central Station, but due to renovations in the area, the stops and tram/bus lines tend to change every now and then, so keep an eye on websites and travel planners for current stops and routes.
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A weekend in Oslo
WA L K PA S T T H E B E A U T I F U L PA R L I A M E N T W I T H I T S L I O N G U A R D S
The Norwegian parliament building is a massive H-shaped building with a distinctive semi-circle main hall. The building was designed by Swedish architect Emil Victor Langlet and was STORTINGSBYGNINGEN finished in 1866. The two huge stone lions guarding the building and its driveway have earned the area the nickname Løvebakken (The Lion Hill). All metro lines go through Stortinget T.
A B R E A K B Y T H E W AT E R The park stretching out from the parliament, colloquially known as Spikersuppa, hosts the city’s biggest Christmas market in the winter, complete with an ice-skating rink, and in the S P I K E R S U P PA summer, it has water features and plenty of spaces to sit down for a rest in the shade. The park is located along one of the few stretches of Karl Johan with traffic during the winter months, but in the summer, the street is closed off and cars are replaced by flowers and trees, and restaurants and cafés move their tables out onto the street for people to enjoy their food in the sun.
© Didrick Stenersen
Spikersuppa is located between Stortinget T and Nationaltheatret T, both serving all metro lines. Fredag/Friday | 15
A weekend in Oslo
G E T A G L I M P S E O F N O R W E G I A N C U LT U R A L H I S T O R Y AT T H E N AT I O N A L T H E AT R E
National Theatre. © Didrick Stenersen
Across the park from the Parliament is the equally impressive Nationaltheatret (the National Theatre), which has its own metro station, Nationaltheatret T. Unchanged since it N AT I O N A LT H E AT R E T opened in 1899, the facade in yellow brick with granite details was built in a mix between Neo-classicist and Neo-Renaissance style. Often considered Henrik Ibsen’s theatre, Nationaltheatret has staged Ibsen’s plays almost every year since its inauguration and is also host to the biennial International Ibsen Festival. Nationaltheatret is served by all metro lines at Nationaltheatret T, tram # 13 and 19 at Nationaltheateret tram stop, bus # 54, 31, 30, 81 and 32 at Nationaltheatret bus stop, and several local and regional trains, as well as the airport express train at Nationaltheatret train station (connected to the metro station).
VISIT THE OLD FORTRESS WITH ITS CENTURIES OF HISTORY When walking down to the fjord from the City Hall, turn left and head to the fortress on your left. Akershus Castle and Fortress is a perfect place for a stroll on the historic grounds, AKERSHUS FESTNING with pavements built for horses to make strolling that bit easier. Bring a book and sit down on the wall facing the fjord, with a smoothie or coffee to go, while watching the cruise ships and sailboats float by below you. Originally built around 1299, the fortress was later rebuilt as a Renaissance royal castle with a surrounding bastion. Over the centuries, a besiege has been attempted several times, mainly by Swedish forces. Since the late 1800s, it has mainly been used by the military, though at one point it was also used as a prison. While still a military area, the fortress is open to the public daily, and guided tours are available in the summer. Tram #12 and buses 30, 31, 32, 81, 54 and 70 stop near Akershus Festning.
© Didrick Stenersen
Akershus. © Didrick Stenersen
Akershus. © Didrick Stenersen
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A weekend in Oslo
© Didrick Stenersen
S T R O L L T O T H E R O YA L PA L A C E A N D T H R O U G H T H E PA L A C E G A R D E N S
© Didrick Stenersen
Nationaltheatret T and Paleet Shopping Centre across the street mark the end of Karl Johan, but keep walking in the same direction, as up the hill you’ll find the Royal Palace, surrounded by the R O Y A L PA L A C E palace gardens. The palace, finished in 1849, was built in the Neo-classicist style and designed by Danish-born architect Hans Ditlev Franciscus Linstow. The palace is the official residence of the current Norwegian monarch, but unlike Buckingham Palace and similar royal residences across Europe, the Norwegian Royal Palace has no fences and gates. Instead, the entrance faces a large square, which is open to the public. Guided tours of the palace take place in the summer months, and the Royal Family gathers on the front balcony every 17 May (Norway’s National Day) to greet the public and children’s parade. The surrounding palace park is open 24/7 and contains art features, ponds and pathways leading to other parts of the city. It’s popular amongst locals who go there to sunbathe, have picnics, study or exercise. From the palace, you can either walk up to Bogstadveien, one of the more prominent shopping streets in Oslo, ending up at Majorstuen near the famous sculpture park Vigelandsparken, or walk OSLO CITY HALL back down towards Nationaltheatret and then turn right towards the Aker Brygge wharf. On the way, you’ll pass Oslo Rådhus (Oslo City Hall) with its red-brick facade and characteristic towers. This is the venue of the Nobel Peace Prize, which is awarded annually, and if you pass by on the hour, you might be treated to a performance by its glockenspiel, playing surprisingly varied songs, ranging from David Bowie and Motörhead to Edvard Grieg. The steps facing the fjord are popular among young people who go skateboarding amongst the statues and columns. At Rådhusplassen Square, you might stumble across a giant outdoor concert, a street festival or a sports event. The majority of events here are free of charge, but watch out for the trams cutting straight through the square – they’re quiet, and fast. Tram # 12 stops at Oslo Rådhus.
City Hall. © Didrick Stenersen
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A weekend in Oslo
WALK ALONG THE HARBOUR Walk along the harbour of Aker Brygge towards Tjuvholmen while taking in the views of the fjord and the Akershus fortress, the ferries bringing people to and from the islands, and the beautiful AKER BRYGGE archipelago. Sit down on the wooden steps leading down to the water and enjoy a cone of ice cream and a coffee in the sun before checking out the nearby galleries and museums. But don’t feed the seagulls; they might not leave you alone afterwards. Aker Brygge also boasts a high-end shopping centre, with shops, galleries and restaurants. Tram # 12 stops at Aker Brygge.
THE BIGGEST ART MUSEUM IN THE NORDICS In 2021, the biggest art museum in the Nordics, the new National Museum, will open in the area and feature both older N AT I O N A L M U S E U M and contemporary art, architecture and design. The building is currently under construction, and though it’s currently looking more like a giant concrete box, completely dwarfing the tiny Nobel Peace Center located in front of it, the building will be lighting up the Oslo night once it’s completed. Aker Brygge Reinhard.
Tram # 12 stops at Aker Brygge.
Aker Brygge Reinhard.
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A weekend in Oslo
CONTINUE ALONG THE DOCKS Once you’ve got your strength back, continue along the docks to the newly redeveloped Tjuvholmen, where you’ll find futuristic and expensive buildings, quaint canals and a fjord walk lining the TJ U V H O L M E N island. Overlooking it all is the impressive Astrup Fearnley Museet, a private museum of contemporary art. First opened in 1993, the museum moved to its current home, designed by architect Renzo Piano, in 2012. Varying parts of the Astrup Fearnley collection are always on display, with works from among others Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons as permanent pieces. There are also changing exhibitions by Norwegian and international contemporary artists. The museum grounds are another popular feature, with a sculpture park also designed by Piano, as well as a city beach open to the public.
Astrup Fearnley Museum. © Didrick Stenersen
Tram # 12 and buses # 54, 32 and 81 stop near Filipstad.
Astrup Fearnley Museum. © Vegard Kleven
© Didrick Stenersen
Fun fact When travelling on public transport, Norwegians’ respect for personal space can get quite comical. They will usually avoid sitting down on unoccupied seats next to a stranger, unless there are no doubles available anywhere. At bus stops, it’s not unusual to see people in line waiting one metre apart.
© Tord Baklund
WITNESS THE DEVELOPMENT OF A BRAND-NEW URBAN NEIGHBOURHOOD Continue your stroll along the fjord walk towards Filipstad and enjoy the canals, the architecture and art, or stop by one of the many high-end restaurants in the area. Filipstad is still being redeveloped F I L I P S TA D and will eventually be a brand-new urban district, but it already boasts Skur 13, an indoor skate park where you can bring your own gear or hire a limited range of equipment for free. Filipstad is also the home of Oslotreet (the Oslo Tree), a 14-metre-tall tree complete with 125,000 LED lamps lighting up the Oslo night. The tree is on loan from Stein Erik Hagen to Oslo City, designed by Alexander Green, and previously displayed as the Tree of Ténéré at Nevada’s Burning Man festival. Tram # 12 and buses # 54, 32 and 81 stop near Filipstad. Fredag/Friday | 19
VISIT VIGELANDSPARKEN Oslo is a city full of parks, giving locals green areas to relax in as well as helping the air quality in the city. Many of the parks have art on display, and a few of them are dedicated sculpture parks. Vigelandsparken (official name: Vigelandsanlegget), located in Frognerparken, is by far the most famous and popular one, featuring 214 sculptures made by Gustav Vigeland. The sculpture park, installed mostly between 1940 and 1949, is the result of more than 40 years of work. The park began with the fountain of six giants holding a saucer, which was originally meant to be located at Eidsvoll Plass in front of the Parliament Building. Instead, it was placed in Frognerparken, and as plans developed and expanded, so did the park. Despite the nudity of the statues being the first thing that tourists notice, the stories being told through the sculptures and the park go deep into human nature. Every little detail symbolises something. The giants holding the large saucer are of different ages, with different postures. They’re believed to symbolise the struggles of mankind. The fountain is placed inside a labyrinth, and is surrounded by 20 groups of trees, gathered in groups symbolising the different stages of life: childhood, youth, adulthood, old age and death. Make sure to look out for the fantastical creatures that can be found in the area; there are lizard-like people and unicorns, among other things. Stretching out from the fountain is a rose park marking the beginning of the sculpture bridge. 58 bronze statues line the bridge, all of them of different ages, genders, constellations, activities and moods: from the world-famous little toddler, Sinnataggen (The Angry Boy) to mothers and daughters hugging, parents carrying children on their shoulders, and fights frozen in time. In the opposite direction is the highest point of the park, with yet another iconic sculpture, Monolitten (The Monolith). The 17-metre-tall sculpture is carved out of one single stone block. Monolitten consists of 121 human figures of different ages and genders, adults further down and children towards the top. The actual intention behind this set-up isn’t known, but it’s been interpreted as symbolising resurrection, some sort of purgatory. While most of the statues are gathered in these three areas, there are sculptures scattered throughout the park. The layout and design of the park, as well as the wrought-iron gates, are all Vigeland’s work. Close to the park is also the Vigeland Museum, containing earlier works by Gustav Vigeland, as well as a glimpse into how he worked. His actual apartment is on the third floor of the museum, with interiors designed mostly by himself. Guided tours in the apartment are available to book. Tram #12 stops at Vigelandsparken. Majorstuen T metro station is within walking distance, with all metro lines passing through.
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OSLO MUST-SEE FIVE SCULPTURE PARKS Norwegians love their art, and even though Vigelandsparken is Oslo’s oldest and most famous sculpture park, there are several more scattered around the city. Some are pure sculpture parks, and some are leisure parks with the added touch of art. Here are five sculpture parks worth visiting during your stay in Oslo.
E K E B E R G PA R K E N S K U L P T U R PA R K Idyllically placed in one of the woods-clad Oslo hills, Ekebergparken Skulpturpark opened in 2013 and aims to unite art, history and nature and give its visitors an unforgettable experience. The femalethemed sculptures have earned the park the nickname Kvinneparken (The women’s park), and in addition to the sculpture trail, make sure you take the time to enjoy the stunning views of the city. So far, there are around 40 sculptures on display, but more are to be added over the next few decades. Ekebergparken is open to visitors all day every day and is free of charge. Guided tours are available in the summer; tickets can be found at ticketmaster.no. Trams # 18 and 19 stop at Ekebergparken.
R O M M E N S L E T TA S K U L P T U R PA R K In Groruddalen in the northeastern part of Oslo, a brand-new sculpture park opened in 2013. Originally used as a rubbish tip in the ‘60s, Rommensletta now hosts areas for sports and exercise, hikes, a playground and water features, in addition to the sculpture park. At the time of the opening, the art on display was from the decades between 1960 and 2010, representing the history of the palace through that time. Rommensletta is open to visitors all year round. The L1 train towards Lillestrøm takes you to the Haugenstua, a six-minute walk away from the park, and buses # 5N, 64B, 65, 67 and 345 stop at Smestua, a fiveminute walk away.
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Astrup Fearnley Museum. © Didrick Stenersen
P E E R G Y N T- P A R K E N Peer Gynt is one of the most famous fictional characters to have come out of Norway, and at Løren in the northeast of Oslo, Ibsen’s mischievous character has his own park. 20 sculptures show scenes from the world-famous play, taking the visitors on a trip through Ibsen’s and Peer Gynt’s universe. The sculptures are made in different styles, materials and sizes, by artists from nine different countries. Sculpture walks and other events take place in the park, for those who want a deeper insight into the sculptures and the history. Peer Gynt-parken is open to visitors all year and is free of charge. Guided tours are available and the park even has its own app, available on App Store. Metro # 4 stops at Løren, a few minutes’ walk away from the park.
Ekebergparken. © Shutterstock
TJUVHOLMEN S K U L P T U R PA R K In addition to designing the majestic Astrup Fearnley museum, world-famous architect Renzo Piano also designed the area and park surrounding the museum. The sculpture park, with its fjord views, consists of seven pieces made by famous international contemporary artists Louise Bourgeois, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Ellsworth Kelly, Ugo Rondinone, and Franz West. Though not very big, the park is popular amongst tourists, families with children, and people wanting to soak up the sun by the fjord. A tiny beach is also part of the area, where children in particular can have a safe dip in the fjord. Tjuvholmen Skulpturpark is open to visitors all day every day and is free of charge. Bus # 54 stops near Tjuvholmen Skulpturpark.
THE PRINCESS INGRID ALEXANDRA S C U L P T U R E PA R K
Peer Gynt Sculpture Park.
The Princess Ingrid Alexandra Sculpture Park. © Didrick Stenersen
The Royal Palace Gardens isn’t just a lush green park encircling the Royal Palace – it also contains The Princess Ingrid Alexandra Sculpture Park, a sculpture park containing art by, and for, children. The 12 playful sculptures were all created as the result of a nationwide competition among fifth- and sixth-graders. The winners’ ideas were turned into sculptures by professional artists and are full of colour, life and imagination, inviting children and adults to play and interact with them. They are also, of course, highly Instagram-worthy. The Royal Palace Gardens is open to visitors all year and is free of charge. All metro lines and trams # 11, 17 and 18 stop near The Royal Palace Gardens.
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Wining OSLO MEKANISKE VERKSTED €
MERKUR BAR €€
Low-key bar close to Oslo Central Station with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. No food is served, but bringing your own is allowed.
Japanese-influenced bar Merkur at St. Hanshaugen serves cocktails, natural wines and sake, and is a stylish yet low-key place to enjoy a night out with friends or colleagues.
oslomekaniskeverksted.no Tøyenbekken 34
merkurbar.com Bjerregårdsgate 5a
ANGST BAR €
DEN GAMLE SKOBUTIKKEN €€
In the narrow Strøget passageway by Youngstorget, you’ll find the hidden, colourful gem Angst, a tiny but popular bar with limited space inside, but a larger, covered outside seating area. Torggata 11
Den gamle Skobutikken (‘The old Shoe Shop’) is a stylish bar several storeys high. For those who aren’t scared of heights, it has a secluded rooftop terrace at the top of an old spiral staircase. Torggata 9B
CAFÉ SARA € A dark and cosy bar with a large back garden. Open until 3.30am, it’s the last stop of the night for many an Oslo citizen. cafesara.no Hausmanns gate 29
HENDRIX IBSEN € Berlin-style hipster haven Hendrix Ibsen is located at Vulkan and offers craft beer, all the best coffee, and second-hand vinyl. hendrixibsen.rocks/senior vulkan 20
B A R A L B AT R O S S € € Low-key, stylish and relaxed bar in the heart of Torshov with art for sale and signature cocktails. Crowded seating areas, but most people don’t mind sharing a table or sofa. Torshovgata 5, 0476 Oslo
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T O R G G ATA B O TA N I S K E € € Quirky bar with greenery covering walls and ceilings, as well as its own greenhouse, reflecting the name of the bar. Drinks to match, using homegrown herbs and plants in the cocktails. Torggata 17B, 0183 Oslo
Event space and summertime rooftop bar in functionalist building Folketeaterbygningen. Stratos has earned the nickname Roof of the City, due to its location on the 12th floor with amazing views of Oslo. Go in the summer when they open the rooftop terrace and let you enjoy the sunset or the bright summer night with good friends and good drinks.
Located in what used to be an old pharmacy, Svaneapoteket, Svanen is a classy cocktail bar right in the middle of Karl Johan, the main street of the capital. The warm, wooden interior and details from the pharmacy have been preserved, giving the place an atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else. Try a classic cocktail with a Svanen twist, or one of their own signature cocktails, like Tyttebær or Smørbukk.
stratos.as Youngstorget 2
svanenoslo.no Karl Johans gate 13
S T R AT O S € €
Dining serving pizza, salads, sandwiches and good vibes. Postkontoret also arranges concerts, quizzes and other events, and is a favourite among the hip, young Oslo crowds. Facebook: toyenpostkontor Hagegata 27
TJUVHOLMEN SJØMAGASIN €€€
LOUISE RESTAURANT AND BAR €€ - €€€
tjuvholmen.no Tjuvholmen allé 14
Maritime restaurant Louise is situated right in the middle of idyllic hotspot Aker Brygge, with a view of boats and the fjord. It’s got a popular outdoor serving area and a menu focusing on Norwegian ingredients and international inspiration. restaurantlouise.no Stranden 3
Located next to the fjord and the Astrup Fearnley Museum at Tjuvholmen, stylish seafood specialists Tjuvholmen Sjømagasin sells fresh fish and shellfish at its own fish and deli shop, and also offers courses and wine tastings.
T H E AT E R C A F É E N €€€ Viennese-style café with historical roots, serving high-end afternoon tea, brunch and cocktails, as well as lunch and dinner. Located at Hotel Continental, and opened in 1900. theatercafeen.no Stortingsgaten 24/26
V I L L A PA R A D I S O €€-€€€
GRÅDI €€ Innovative neighbourhood restaurant at Tøyen, unafraid to experiment with new ingredients, flavours and combinations. This is one of the most popular brunch spots in the city, so reserving a table is advised – particularly in the summer, when the outdoor seating area is buzzing with life.
Oslo’s favourite Italian restaurant with authentic food, a homely atmosphere, and a reputation reaching far beyond the city. Expect queues in the summer. villaparadiso.no Olaf Ryes plass 8
THE THIEF FOOD BAR €€€€ Exclusive food bar located at The Thief hotel, serving contemporary Nordic cuisine with a global twist. Expect local produce and freshly caught fish and shellfish. thethief.com Landgangen 1, O252 Oslo
EKEBERG R E S TA U R A N T E N € € € A R A K ATA K A € € € €
Located next to Ekebergparken in the Ekeberg hillside, Ekebergrestauranten offers fine dining with one of Oslo’s most stunning views. With a seasonbased menu and fresh ingredients, Ekerbergrestauranten offers new and traditional flavours.
Charming neighbourhood restaurant for the whole city,
ekebergrestauranten.com Kongsveien 15
arakataka.no Mariboes gate 7B
graadi.dinesuperb.com Sørligata 40
A favourite among both food critics and customers, Arakataka is a high-quality restaurant located right in the heart of Oslo’s concert and theatre district. Norwegian ingredients with a continental flair make for a great evening.
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A weekend in Oslo
A SAUNA WITH A VIEW After a long day of walking the streets and parks of Oslo, feet, muscles and eyes might be sore and tired and in need of a break. What better way to end the day than by relaxing in a hot and soothing sauna? Like everything else in Norway, however, a sauna is not just a sauna. In Oslo, you get saunas with a view. Unlike their neighbours in Finland, Norwegian saunas are not usually something you’ll find in people’s homes or with the same frequency. If private, they’re usually part of a family’s cabin in the mountains or other types of holiday homes, but most of them are public and found at sports facilities or hotels. In Oslo, however, the new craze is fjord saunas – saunas on, or by, the fjord.
S A U N A W I T H A V I E W, D J S A N D B A R SALT started out as a nomadic art project, travelling Norway with its spectacular pyramid constructions designed by Sami Rintala and Kyrre Kalseth as well as artist Joar Nango. Next to the buildings, The S A LT Arctic Pyramid is a 70-metre-long wooden structure inspired by traditional fish-racks, which is used for art and installations. Having started out in Svolvær in the north of Norway in 2010, SALT has travelled through Sandhornøy south of Bodø, Bergen, and in 2017 the complete project opened in Oslo, where its temporary stay has been extended to 2023. KOK.
SALT. © Shutterstock
Located at Langkaia with a view of the Oslo fjord and the Opera House, SALT has four saunas to choose between, including Árdna, which is one of the world’s biggest saunas, sitting 100 people. The structure has panoramic windows facing the fjord, making for stunning views whether mid-summer with bright summer nights or warm, comfy and sheltered from blizzards in the winter. Árdna keeps a temperature of 60-80°C (140– 176 Fahrenheit) and has its own bar and DJ on the weekends. The smaller saunas – Skroget, Himmelsauna and Naustet – are also available for private bookings. Naustet’s main space is a café selling traditional waffles with brown cheese and baked goods. For bigger meals, SALT’s outdoor space has food trucks in the summer season, serving the big outdoor seating area. Outside, you’ll also find two cold water pools, one with freshwater and one with seawater, as well as showers. Some people also choose to cool off in the fjord after a session in the sauna, and ladders let you climb back up to the docks again. In addition to offering saunas, art and food, SALT is an entertainment venue, with big national and international names playing concerts, and quizzes, panels and talks are also a regular part of SALT’s programme.
SALT. © Shutterstock
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A weekend in Oslo
DIVE STRAIGHT FROM THE SAUNA INTO THE FJORD If you don’t just want to look at the fjord while in a sauna, how about a sauna on rather than by the fjord? At Sørenga, you’ll find Oslo Fjord Sauna, a sauna club with a fleet of floating saunas. O S L O FJ O R D S A U N A The original sauna, Måken (‘the seagull’), was built out of driftwood found by the Oslo fjord by sauna idealists, and has since been joined by Skarven (‘the cormorant’), and Anda (‘the duck’). The latter is the latest addition, a round structure built as an amphitheatre with a large window overlooking the fjord and archipelago. There’s also a hot tub holding up to seven people. This requires a separate booking but is advised as an add-on to an existing booking with a sauna. The saunas operate with drop-in hours or can be booked privately in advance. Located right outside the Opera House, and equipped with ladders for easy climbing, the saunas are perfect for quick dips in the fjord to cool off. Oslo Fjord Sauna.
Oslo Fjord Sauna.
Oslo Fjord Sauna.
COMBINE A FJORD CRUISE WITH A RELAXING SAUNA KOK also offers floating saunas, but in addition to floating near the harbour by the Opera House in Bjørvika, it offers fjord and sauna cruises. With three saunas named after the light-phenomena Morild, Vega and Aurora, KOK KOK allows you to enjoy a trip around the inner Oslo archipelago in the comfort of a sauna, with the added opportunity of a cooling dip in the fjord. The boats run on solar power, leaving no engine noise to disturb your peace as you enjoy the view from the sauna. There are two- and three-hour cruises. The shorter Sauna Cruise allows single seat bookings, whereas the longer version, jordcruise, is for group bookings only. The three-hour Fjordcruise is planned along with the captain and gives you greater freedom to visit a seaside restaurant along the way, should you want to. KOK.
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A weekend in Barcelona
LØRDAG S AT U R D AY
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A weekend in Oslo
CITY AND NATURE SIDE BY SIDE One of the aspects of Oslo that the locals value the most is having nature in the immediate vicinity. Sunday hikes, skiing in the winter, beach life in the summer – Norwegians need no excuse to take a break from city life and step into the more rural areas surrounding the city. From Oslo city centre, you can use public transport to travel to nearby mountains, forests, islands, farms and ski slopes, all less than an hour away. If you’re travelling to Oslo during the winter, you have a lot of chances to try your hand (or legs) at winter sports, whether you’re a professional or have never seen a pair of skis in your life. Legend has it that Norwegians are born with skis on their feet, but don’t let that discourage you; it doesn’t take much practice to get a whole lot of fun out of the various skiing options.
SKI LIKE A NORWEGIAN
Tryvann Skisenter. © Nancy Bundt, VisitNorway.com
The largest ski resort in Oslo is Oslo Vinterpark (Oslo Winter Park), located at Tryvann. The park is 40 minutes away from the city centre on metro #1, and offers slopes for alpine skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing for all levels, including beginners. There are also O S L O V I N T E R PA R K terrain parks with elements like jumps, rails and a halfpipe for even more fun. Equipment for alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding can be rented at the park, including clothes. The park also offers lessons through its ski school, where all instructors are certified. The park is open from December through to late April. Get metro #1 to Voksenkollen station, and walk the remaining 15 minutes or get a corresponding Ruter-bus (located next to Voksenkollen Station) straight to the park entrance.
GO TOBOGGANING DOWN KORKETREKKEREN If you’re after a different kind of winter fun, how about going tobogganing? Get metro #1 all the way out to Frognerseteren station, where’ll you find the start of the biggest and most popular sledding KORKETREKKEREN run in Oslo, Korketrekkeren (The cork screw). Korketrekkeren is two kilometres long, and one trip down the whole run takes between eight and ten minutes. When you reach the end, you’ll find yourself at Midstuen metro station where, if you’re keen to go again, you can get the metro straight back up to Frognerseteren. Enjoying the slope is free of charge, and toboggans for hire are available from several outlets at Frognerseteren. The slope itself can get busy when the weather is nice, and adults outweigh kids both in size and numbers, so a lot of families visiting with small children prefer to play in the hill marking the beginning of the run. Also be aware that there are moose in the area, and people have been known to bump into them on the way down the run – quite literally. Stop for a break and a hot drink at the beautiful Kafé Seterstua and enjoy the view afterwards.
© Nancy Bundt, VisitNorway.com
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Korketrekkeren is only open for tobogganing if conditions are good enough, so keep an eye on akeforeningen.no for updates.
A weekend in Oslo
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT S T R A I G H T I N T O N AT U R E You don’t have to go to an actual park to enjoy hiking, biking or cross-country skiing, though. Marka (the woodland), the forested hills surrounding the city centre, is a recreational haven for all Oslo citizens, where they MARKA go to unwind, exercise, spend time with their family, and breathe clean woodland air. It’s located all around the city, and immediately reachable by public transport whether you go east, west, or north. Marked slopes and hikes are available everywhere, and there are several cabins serving food or offering overnight accommodation.
Note: Make sure to catch the last ferry back to the city, as there are no other ways to get back. Langøyene is the only island where camping in a tent is allowed. Hovedøya, Gressholmen and Langøyene allow barbecues in designated areas.
© Nancy Bundt, VisitNorway.com
© Nancy Bundt, VisitNorway.com
Lake Sognsvann. © VisitNorway.com
VISIT THE FJORD BY FERRY © Nancy Bundt, VisitNorway.com
Hiking hacks Want to feel extra Norwegian? Bring a Kvikk Lunsj chocolate (a crunchier version of a KitKat, voted by The Guardian as the better of the two), an orange and a flask of hot chocolate or coffee, and reward yourself when you’ve reached the halfway point. If it’s sunny, make sure to use a decent SPF, as the snow reflecting the light makes sunburn a very likely occurrence.
In the summer, getting a ferry out to the islands in the Oslo Archipelago is very popular amongst Oslo citizens as well as tourists. At City Hall Pier 4 at Aker Brygge, you’ll find passenger ferries as part OSLO ARCHIPELAGO of the Oslo public transport system (#Ruter), taking you to several of the nearby islands. Each of them offers a unique experience, like Hovedøya with its lovely beaches and medieval monastery ruins, and the three connected islands of Gressholmen, Heggholmen and Rambergøya with excellent beaches and swimming opportunities. There’s also Langøyene, one of the most popular destinations, which is closed for renovation throughout 2020. The distances are short between the islands, so island hopping is a good way to see them all. Facilities vary on the different islands, but some of the bigger ones have kiosks and toilets with irregular opening hours, so bring snacks and drinks, just to be safe. The ferries run all year, though they’re more frequent during the summer months. All metro lines stop at Nationaltheatret T, the closest metro station; tram #12 stops at Aker Brygge; and all buses stopping at Nationaltheatret and Tjuvholmen are within walking distance. Lørdag/Saturday | 31
VISIT HOLMENKOLLEN Winter sports, and skiing in particular, are Norwegians’ pride and joy. In addition to the downhill and cross-country kinds of skiing that most people can have a crack at, there’s the more daunting ski jumping sport, which differs a lot from the tiny jumps you can find in normal slopes for people to play on. Ski jumping is a massive sport, where the athletes quite literally soar through the air wearing only skis, a jumping suit, a helmet and goggles for protection. Ski jump towers themselves are a work of architectural art, and if you want to see for yourself just how high up the athletes start their runs, head to Holmenkollen, Norway’s most famous jump tower. Holmenkollenski jump was first constructed in 1892 out of trees and branches, and the jumpers would reach between 15 and 21 metres. Since then, it has been rebuilt 19 times and been used for Olympic Games (in 1952) and multiple World Cups and championships, and today’s jump tower is one of the most iconic sports venues in Norway. It’s the only steel jump in the world, and the current record of the longest jump is 144 metres, set by Norwegian jumper Robert Johansson in 2019. Holmenkollen is also a venue for other winter sports, such as slalom, cross-country skiing and biathlon tournaments, and the roar of the Holmenkollen crowd is so legendary it’s got a name of its own, Kollenbrølet (‘the Kollen roar’). The jump tower is open to the public every day, and if you’re feeling extra brave you can use a zipline to get from the top and straight back down to the bottom of the hill (open between March and October). The Holmenkollen museum is located at the foot of the jump tower, and there’s even a ski simulator for those who’d like a risk-free glimpse into what an actual jump feels like. Metro #1 stops at Holmenkollen.
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© Michael Ankes
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ARTFUL ARCHITECTURE Though several areas of the Fjord City redevelopment are still being renovated and upgraded, Bjørvika is one of the more impressive ones. This is a brand-new part of Oslo, which was previously a container port, but since 2000 it has been transformed into one of the most spectacular neighbourhoods in the city, making it the perfect place for a Saturday stroll. Starting at Akershus Fortress and stretching south-east, Bjørvika is still developing, but is already an urban hub. One of the most eye-catching features of Bjørvika is the BARCODE project, an equally controversial and celebrated row of multi-purpose high-rise buildings with unusual and abstract design. The name plays on the appearance of the buildings, which are all tall and narrow with straight lines. Though the project was initially met with loud protests, due to the height of the buildings blocking the view of the fjord and acting as a barrier between the city and the sea, the quirky and playful buildings have since become a favourite among many Oslo citizens welcoming change and modern architecture. The shiny diamond in Bjørvika, located within walking distance from the Central Station, is the Oslo Opera House. Home of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, the building was designed by renowned architects Snøhetta, and opened in 2008. Designed to look like an iceberg rising from the fjord, the building has multiple angles and large areas accessible for guests to walk through. The roof stretches all the way down to the water, allowing pedestrians access to the top of the building with its stunning views of the city and the fjord. If it’s a sunny day, do remember to bring sunglasses, as the white granite and Italian marble reflect the light, making it very bright. Inside, the luminated walls in the lobby area have been designed by renowned Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. If opera and ballet are not your thing, keep an eye out for rock and metal concerts, which also frequently take place at the Oslo Opera House. In the summer, the building is often transformed into an amphitheatre with the public sitting on the roof and concerts taking place on a stage placed on
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the water. Also make sure to catch a glimpse of the floating sculpture outside the Opera House, She Lies by Monica Bonvicini, made from glass and stainless steel. The permanent installation floats on its axis, offering different views all the time with the changing wind and light. Directly behind the opera is another equally impressive building, the Deichman Bjørvika library. Opening in the spring of 2020, the library is relocating from its old home at St. Hanshaugen, and will be the largest-ever investment in cultural edifices in Oslo along with the new Munch/Stenersen Museum, which is due to open in late 2020. Head east, and you’ll find Sørenga, a brand-new urban residential area. Though parts of the area are still under construction, many residential buildings are already completed, and restaurants and coffee shops are up and running. Here, you can kick off your shoes, park your bike, and cool off at the most popular city beach in Oslo, Sørenga Seawater Pool. Consisting of large recreational areas, a green lawn for picnics, a sandy beach, a safe pool for children, a swimming pool with lanes, and a jetty complete with diving boards and showers, Sørenga Seawater Pool is enormously popular among Oslo residents. In the summer months, it’s usually crowded, whether it’s sunny or not, and in the winter months people use the floating saunas in the area. People are encouraged to get to Sørenga Seawater Pool by biking or walking along the fjord, using a very popular floating bridge leading from Sukkerbiten, the undeveloped lot next to the opera building, straight over to Sørenga.
She Lies, a floating piece of art outside the Opera House.
BARCODE is a ten-minute walk from Oslo Central Station, and is also served by buses # 80E, 81 83 and 34.
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FIVE UNMISSABLE MUSEUMS Oslo is a city that dates back thousands of years, and though what would eventually become the city we know today was first established in the year 1040, remnants of houses dating back as far as 6000 or even 7000 BC have been found in the area. A surprising amount of historical sites, items and written history has been discovered and preserved over the years. This, along with Norway’s rich cultural history, has resulted in numerous museums and galleries where visitors can get a glimpse into the past as well as the present.
THE VIKING SHIP MUSEUM One of the most famous aspects of Norway is its Viking Age history. The Norsemen travelled the world in their ingenious wooden ships and raided, traded and explored. The unique structure of the ships allowed them to travel long distances at great speed, and to stay afloat despite the natural forces they were up against. Some of the world’s best-preserved Viking ships are on display at The Viking Ship Museum at Bygdøy, having been used in burial rituals where they were buried along with their late owners. In addition to the ships Gokstad, Tune and Oseberg, you’ll get to see wood carvings, art, tools and other artefacts that have been retrieved, along with an educational film about the Viking Age. A brand-new Viking Age museum will be ready in 2025. Bus # 30 stops at Vikingskipene. The Bygdøyfergen ferry takes you from Rådhuskaia to Dronningen.
NOBEL PEACE CENTER The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually and is the only Nobel prize awarded in Norway. The Nobel Peace Center opened in 2005, and showcases the Nobel Peace Prize, its laureates and Alfred Nobel, as well as being a venue for debate and reflection around current topics. The centre is located in a former railway station at Rådhusplassen in Oslo, between the City Hall and Aker Brygge. In addition to the exhibitions, the centre hosts panels, debates, concerts, conferences and theatre shows. All metro lines stop at Nationaltheatret T, a sixminute stroll from the centre.Tram # 12 stops at Aker Brygge.
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The Viking Ship Museum. © Shutterstock
THE KON-TIKI MUSEUM Not only the Vikings explored the world – Norwegians throughout the ages have been curious about the world and what lies beyond, as well as how people ended up where they are. In 1974, Thor Heyerdahl sailed a raft of balsa wood from Peru to Polynesia, simply to see if it were possible. The trip was captured on film, and the result was awarded the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1951. The raft, Kon-Tiki, is on display at the museum, along with Ra II, a vessel built of papyrus, which he used to sail from North Africa to the Caribbean. But Heyerdahl not only travelled; he also did archaeological excavations on the Galapagos Islands, Easter Island and in Túcume, and in addition to the vessels, the Kon-Tiki Museum contains maps, a library of books, and objects from several of Heyerdahl’s expeditions. Bus # 30 stops at stops at Bygdøynes. Ferries run from Rådhuskaia to Bygdøynes.
NORWEGIAN MUSEUM O F C U LT U R A L H I S T O R Y Despite Oslo being a modern, urban capital, the history of Oslo and Norway is a long and fascinating one. At the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, you get to experience, look at, and learn about it all through extensive collections of items and artefacts. In addition to traditional exhibitions, there is an Open-Air Museum with buildings dating back to the Middle Ages and up to the 20th century. Here, you get to explore daily life, city and countryside, old and modern, as well as culture, activities and social classes. Visitors get to experience the various local architectural styles and cultural traditions of the Norwegian countryside, old towns and suburbs, apartment buildings, and coastal areas throughout the ages. One of the most popular buildings is a stave church from Gol. Built in approximately 1200, it is among the most iconic Norwegian historical buildings. Walking around the Open-Air Museum is like taking a stroll through the history of Norway.
Bus # 30 stops at Folkemuseet.
POPSENTERET Popsenteret is a museum of Norwegian popular music, dating back to the first commercial recordings in 1904, and covering pop history up until today. The museum is interactive, with installations where you can play and interact with the music, rather than just listen to it. And not only does it have the recordings; the technology, instruments, posters, fan artefacts and merchandise of various bands and artists are also on display. Different genres, styles and decades have their own time capsulelike installations, often furnished to reflect the time or typical listener of the specific genre. There’s also a DIY section, where visitors get to sing Norwegian hits in a studio, design their own album covers, and get a feel for what it might be like to step out onto a stage in front of a large crowd. Popsenteret also frequently hosts actual concerts and events, so keep an eye on its calendar for updates.
The Kon-Tiki Museum. © Shutterstock
Trams # 11,12 and 13 stop at Olaf Ryes Plass, a fourminute walk from the museum. Tram # 17 stops at Heimdalsgata, a two-minute walk away.
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PLAYFUL SATURDAY NIGHTS Despite Norwegians’ reputation for being quiet, withdrawn, shy and reserved, there’s an undeniable playfulness to the descendants of the Vikings. Not only is this evident in their love of quirky cafés and foodhalls, their street art, and the way they celebrate their constitution day, but a Saturday night out in Oslo is not how you might imagine it. Whereas previous generations’ idea of a night out might have entailed sitting down at a bar to drink, or – if young, hip or tough enough – going to a disco or a club to dance, nowadays people go out to play. The current craze in Oslo, which is also slowly spreading to the rest of Norway, is themed bars and clubs, where you play games with friends and strangers. There’s the traditional 18-hole mini-golf course and bar at Oslo Camping near Youngstorget, albeit with certain twists: events, club nights and naked golf have been known to happen. The Youngstorget area is a haven for game bars. Tilt offers several levels of bars, traditional arcade games, pinball machines, shuffleboards, pool tables and table hockey. They’ve also got a large selection of micro-brewed and imported beers. If all the shuffleboards are occupied, you can also head to Røør, where they have 14 shuffleboards and 70 different types of beer on tap. Brygg, in Storgata, offers table tennis, whereas for those who are secretly pop stars, Syng has two karaoke bars in central Oslo, both decorated like what you might imagine the insides of a unicorn’s brain to look like. There are themed drinks and cocktails, and private rooms for different-size crowds, meaning that even the shyest of guests should feel comfortable grabbing the microphone for a fun night of sing-songs. And if you want a little bit of extra flair, turn up the echo and press the dazzle button for a dazzling surpise. If dart is more your thing, head to Oche in Torggata, where you can enjoy cocktails and other alcoholic drinks, free popcorn and the privacy of your own booth, while impressing your friends with your skills. If you prefer to sit down with a game of chess, The Good Knight is Norway’s first chess bar, catering to the chess-crazed nation that is Norway. For those wanting a bit more noise and colours, Ball offers social retro video gaming for small and large groups of people. Tournaments and other events take place frequently, and for those who prefer watching other people play sports rather than playing it themselves, the place doubles up as a football pub in the early hours of the evening. With ten smaller screens and two big screens, it’s the perfect place for a night out, no matter how many friends you’re bringing along – or getting to know along the way! Also notice the interior – it’s all themed. The latest offering on Oslo’s games bar scene is the enormous bar Raadhuset. Opening in early 2020, the bar aims to be Oslo’s games mecca for adults who refuse to grow up. Located by Oslo City Hall, Raadhuset contains three bars, 60 games (including pool tables, shuffleboards, arcade games, darts and more) and two karaoke rooms. They also serve Mexican street food out of their own kitchen, so you can renew your energy after a long evening of games and fun.
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A weekend in Barcelona
Divendres/Viernes/Friday | 41
A weekend in Oslo
SUNDAY STROLL Every Sunday, Norwegians leave the comfort of home to take part in one common activity: walking. A lot of the time nature, such as the woods, Marka (see page 31) or a mountain is the goal, but for the hip and urban Oslo crowd, a Sunday walk is often enjoyed right in the middle of the city. The river of Akerselva runs straight through the city, and though it's not technically the centre point of Oslo, it’s still considered the boundary between east and west. Walking along the river and its surrounding neighbourhoods is such a popular activity it's even got its own annual festival, Elvelangs, when light and art installations, music, theatre, acrobatics and other creative expressions take place all along the river.
FOLLOW THE RIVER DOWNSTREAM
Akerselva river. © Shutterstock
To experience a Sunday the way the Oslo crowd does, head to Nydalen (if you want the long trip) or start your day at Jerusalem Bridge (for which the closest tram stop is Sandaker Senter, a two-minute walk away) and LILLEBORG follow the river down-stream. On the way, you’ll pass by Lilleborg, a redeveloped factory area with a cosy square, independent shops, and a very popular improv theatre, Det Andre Teatret (The Other Theatre).
TA K E A B R E A K W I T H C O F F E E AND NORWEGIAN WAFFLES Further down the river you’ll walk through multiple parks along the way, and soon reach Hønse Lovisas Hus (Hen Lovisa's House) for waffles and coffee. Hen Lovisa is a fictional character from the HØNSE LOVISAS HUS 1911 play Ungen ('The Kid'), by author Oskar Braaten, set in the area of Sagene, and the little red house was used in the 1974 film adaptation. The house, originally built in the 1800s, is currently used as a café and gallery with stunning views of a mid-town waterfall, and is said to have the best waffles in town.
EXPLORE OSLO'S HIPSTER MECCA
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Once you’re rested and have filled up on waffles, follow the waterfall and river onwards, but turn left onto the road once you get to Sannergaten. From now on, you’ll be walking through the GRÜNERLØKKA neighbourhood of Grünerløkka – or Løkka, as Oslo people call it. Grünerløkka is considered one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Oslo, and is chock full of hipster and specialty coffee shops, vintage boutiques, restaurants, and art. Despite most of Oslo being shut on Sundays, Løkka’s independent shops tend to stay open for locals and tourists to browse the vintage goods. Along the way towards the Birkelunden park, you’ll pass by gems like German-inspired coffee shop Liebling and innovative restaurant Bass, but the real draw of Grünerløkka on Sundays is the markets. Most of the year, Sunday means market day, and Birkelunden transforms from a lazy park to a buzzing flea market filled with crafts and antiques.
A weekend in Oslo
COFFEE, STREET ART AND SHOPPING
At the bottom of the park, you’ll be spoilt for choice whatever you’re in the mood for. Nighthawk Diner is an American diner with '50s interior, jukeboxes and what is among the city’s V I N TA G E T R E A S U R E S best milkshakes and floats; Oslovelo is a bike repair shop complete with with bike rental, bar, and coffee shop; and for the vintage lover, Velouria Vintage is one of many treasure chests along the way. At Olaf Ryes Plass, you might find yet another market, but also a plethora of restaurants, like Villa Paradiso, one of Oslo’s most popular Italian restaurants. This is also an utepils hotspot, so if the weather is nice, grab a seat in the outside area of concert venue Parkteatret, and enjoy a cool beer in the sun. In the same area you’ll also find Tim Wendelboe, a world-famous espresso bar and micro roastery. Further down Løkka, vintage and coffee meet at the colourful Retrolykke kaffebar, and Manillusion, Robot and Frøken Dianas Salonger feed the Oslo crowd’s appetite for retro and vintage clothing.
C R E AT I V E H U B B Y T H E R I V E R Turn right back down to the river, and head for Blå (Blue), one of the artsier parts of Oslo. Surrounded by constantly changing graffiti murals, live concert venues, galleries and rehearsal studios, Blå is a club and BLÅ concert venue by night and a bar with outdoor seating near the river by day, and on Sundays it hosts an alternative market with arts, crafts and antiques. Its neighbouring Ingensteds (Nowhere) is another concert venue hosting the indoor part of the Sunday market, as well as serving food from various corners of the world. Walk back into town via the popular food hall Mathallen at Vulkan and Torggata with all its culinary temptations, or stay late for Frank Znort Quartet at Blå, the big band aiming to ruin your Monday since 1998 by entertaining from Sunday night and into the early hours of Monday morning. Acoustic sets from 4.30pm, electronic sets from 8.45pm, and from midnight until 3am, it’s nightclub time with pulsing rhythms and DJ-sets. Søndag/Sunday | 43
NORWEGIAN CONCEPTS Norwegian daily life is full of concepts that might seem strange, different or even exotic to the rest of the world. A lot of them have developed as a direct result of the extreme differences the various seasons bring, forcing people to change their ways several times per year. They’ve learnt to adapt to harsh conditions, dark winter nights and long summer days, and to appreciate the good qualities of each season.
FRILUFTSLIV (LIFE OUTDOORS) No matter the season, you’ll find Norwegians trekking through forests, across mountains and over the hills. Sundays are big hiking days, when Norwegians put on their hiking boots and clothes, pack their backpacks with kvikk-lunsj chocolates, an orange and a flask of coffee or hot chocolate, and set off chasing that feeling of being free. These hikes also serve as magical moments when Norwegian shyness is set aside and Norwegians dare to speak to strangers. Whether you’re on top of a mountain, skiing through the woods or walking around a lake, you’ll meet strangers who greet you with a “heihei” and a smile and might even be up for a tiny chat before you part ways.
HYGGE/KOS (COSINESS) Despite having been thoroughly branded and marketed by the Danes, 'hygge' is as Norwegian as it is Danish, both in meaning and in concept. In Norwegian, another word with the same meaning is used both as a noun, 'koselig', and as an adjective, 'kos'. (Koselig can be loosely translated as cosy, while kos is something you do or feel.) Walking 20-odd kilometres through the snow just to unpack a shovel and dig yourself a hole in the snow in which to enjoy your orange and kvikk-lunsj? Kos. Sitting in front of a fire after a long day outside? Kos. Meeting friends for a coffee and a pastry? Kos. Relaxing with a book or TV in your Nordic, minimalist, monochrome livingroom? Kos. Sit by a bonfire under the bright summer night sky? Kos. Surrounding yourself with candles in your 22-degreewarm house to hide away from the winter storm raging outside? Kos. Enjoying the first utepils of the year? Kos.
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UTEPILS (OUTDOOR BEER) After a cold, dark winter, when the nights seem never-ending and daylight is weak at best, springtime brings a promise of easier days. Norwegians wake up from their winter daze and start socialising outside their homes again. How you know spring has arrived? It’s sunny and warm enough for utepils! Utepils, simply put, is outdoor beer – beer being enjoyed out in the sun. As soon as the sun is out and the temperature is warm enough, Norwegians, wearing warm clothes and preferably a blanket provided by the bar in question, sit outside in the sun with friends and a glass of beer. Kos! Utepils, though mainly named so in the spring, continues throughout the summer, until it gets too cold again in the autumn.
FOLKESKIKK AND JANTELOVEN (COMMON DECENCY AND THE LAW OF JANTE) Norwegian daily life is full of unspoken and unwritten rules. Janteloven is a collection of ten rules first outlined by Danish-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose in his satirical novel En flyktning krysser sitt spor (A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks) from 1933, but the ideas and societal structures behind the book are much older. The laws are all designed to suppress individual thinking and success, making sure everybody knows they’re no better than anybody else. But while Scandinavians both frown and laugh at the idea of the rules and the concept as a whole, they are still apt as a description of small-town mentality and the idea that people should fit in rather than stand out. Folkeskikk is a less frowned-upon concept, and a behaviour that people take pride in. Helping old people across the street? Folkeskikk. Not burping loudly in public? Folkeskikk. Standing up when a pregnant person needs a seat? Folkeskikk. Greeting people while hiking in the mountains? Folkeskikk. Respecting personal space in a queue? Folkeskikk. Any breach of folkeskikk might result in a quietly offended outcry. Quietly, of course, because of folkeskikk.
DUGNAD Dugnad as a concept has helped rebuild Norway after wars and natural disasters, maintain community areas over time, and fund or build something needed. Dugnad is people getting together to contribute to the community or a specific person or organisation. It is unpaid work, based on goodwill and the knowledge that it benefits someone. Neighbourhoods get together to paint, repair or clean up common areas, and communities get together to build houses, barns or playgrounds. It can be a local community dugnad, or on a national scale to raise money, clean up oil spills or prevent flooding.
J A H ( S A I D W H I L E B R E AT H I N G I N ) If you’re visiting Norway for the first time, there’s a sound you’ll hear whenever you’re surrounded by Norwegians that you might never have heard before. Not only do Norwegians have three extra letters and sounds, but they also speak while breathing in. If you hear someone respond to something in a breathy 'jah' or 'nei' while inhaling, they’re probably confirming something, in either a triumphant or a cheerful way.
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CULINARY OSLO FOOD HALLS Oslo is a city with culinary influences from all over the world. Norway has its own distinct cuisine, but most Norwegians take pleasure in enjoying food from all corners of the world, resulting in a diverse selection of food on offer in every part of the city. One of the easiest ways to get to sample several different cuisines at the same time, or within the same party of people, is food halls and food courts, of which Oslo has many – big collections of eateries all under one roof, with gatherings of tables where friends and strangers enjoy food side by side. The first – and most famous – food court in Oslo is Mathallen, the centrepiece of the Vulkan area located by the Akerselva River. 26 gourmet eateries and bars surround Torget (The Square), a seating area in the middle of the hall with free seating for all guests to enjoy their newly purchased goods. Tapas, burgers, seafood, Asian, vegan, Italian, cheese, cured meats, craft beer, wine, cakes and desserts – it's easy to spend a lot of time (and money) at Mathallen. Most eateries also sell products to take home, and cooking courses and other events take place regularly. Buses # 34 and 54 stop at Møllerveien, a three-minute walk away, and trams #12 and 13 stop at Olaf Ryes Plass, a six-minute walk away. A few minutes' walk away from Mathallen, at Torggata in central Oslo, a whole street has become a bit of a restaurant alley. Craft beer outlets, gourmet burger joints, coffee shops and Mexican restaurants sit side by side. At the end of it all is Oslo Street Food, a youthful and vibrant food hall with an even more international flair, located at the old, distinguished Torggata Bad. At Oslo Street Food, they’ve replaced the traditional eateries with 16 food truck-style stands and four bars, bringing the vibe of street food markets indoors. There are seating areas scattered around the hall, but the outdoor seating is just as popular, especially on sunny days when an utepils is in order. On Friday and Saturday nights, the food hall turns into Klubb Torggata, with DJs making the place bounce with music. Oslo Street Food is an eight-minute walk away from the Central Station. Buses # 34 and 54 stop at Hammersborggata, a two-minute walk away. Down by the fjord at Vippetangen, in what was previously a stage facility for goods arriving by sea, is the trendy food hall Vippa. The colourful hall with graffiti design throughout has 11 eateries with Norwegian and international meals and a large seating area in the middle of the hall. The outside seating area is very popular, with fjord views and boats passing by while you eat. There is also Tøyen Cola for sale, a local cult version of the better-known fizzy drink. Vippa also arranges concerts, lectures and other events, so keep an eye on the calendar to see what’s happening. Bus # 60 stops at Vippetangen. For a more traditional food hall, head back down to Oslo Central Station; located next to the main hall, and the oldest part of the train station, is Østbanehallen, a slick and modern food hall with elegant architecture and art, stylish eateries and a calm atmosphere despite the stream of travellers passing through on their way to the main hall. In addition to the restaurants and cafés, Østbanehallen also has shops and a hotel, as well as an Oslo Visitor Centre for tourists. This is a food hall with separate seating areas for the different restaurants, and several of them also have outdoor seating with views of the architectural wonders of Sørenga.
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© Tord Baklund, VisitOSLO
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DRINK COFFEE LIKE A NORWEGIAN Norway is the second-most coffee-loving nation in the world; only Finns drink more coffee than Norwegians do. According to kaffe.no, 13 million cups of coffee are drunk daily, which might explain how Norwegians survive the cold and dark winters and stay awake on bright summer nights. But coffee is not only a tool in staying awake; it’s an important part of everyday kos, of social interactions both professional and personal; it’s essential on hikes and when going skiing, and it’s the same source of comfort that tea is to many Britons. As a result, several coffee chains and specialist coffee shops line the streets of Oslo, some of them internationally recognised as among the best in the world. New York Times’ Oliver Strand wrote in a 2011 article that, “Oslo is to coffee what San Sebastian or Copenhagen is to food: it’s where you go to get your mind blown.” Norwegians typically like light-roast, single-origin coffee, and most Norwegians drink their coffee black and freshly ground. No fuss, just coffee.
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Walking into Fuglen ('the bird') feels like walking into someone’s livingroom at the turn of the '50s/'60s. Vintage furniture and decor, a large wooden counter and a narrow yet spacious layout set Fuglen apart from all the modern, minimalist coffee shops of the city. If you fall in love with any of the furniture, no need to leave it behind as it's all for sale. At Fuglen, you can get magnificently brewed coffee and sink into a lounge chair with a book, or opt for a bar stool by the window to watch the world float by outside. At 7pm, the coffee machine closes down and the place turns into a cocktail bar with both traditional and original cocktails. Fuglen also has two coffee shops in Japan.
Located near the river of Akerselva, World Barista Champion and World Cup Tasters Champion Tim Wendelboe’s self-titled espresso bar is a staple on the Norwegian coffee scene. With its own in-shop microroastery and its own line of coffee for sale, its reputation extends far beyond the borders of Norway. Wendelboe and his team have won endless amounts of awards and competitions nationally and internationally, and New York Times’ Oliver Strand noted: “It feels like a neighborhood shop, but it’s run like a Michelin-starred restaurant.” There is limited seating inside, so be prepared for a takeaway coffee to enjoy on the go.
Fuglen is a ten-minute walk away from Stortinget T metro station, served by all lines. Trams # 11, 12 and 18 stop at Tinghuset, a four-minute walk away.
Tim Wendelboe is a 20-minute walk away from the Central Station, or you can get trams # 11, 12 and 13 to Olaf Ryes Plass, a three-minute walk away.
R E T R O LY K K E
Not all coffee chains need to be poor quality. Stockfleths with its 125-year history has been the starting point of many of the city’s biggest baristas, such as previously mentioned Tim Wendelboe and Fuglen’s Einar Kleppe Holthe. They are a large part of the Norwegian coffee culture and responsible for several trends in Norwegian coffee consumption. Aiming to be the best coffee-brewing chain in the world, Stockfleths offers an experience that is nothing like what you might expect at generic chains in Britain or elsewhere. Stockfleths has 12 coffee shops in the Oslo area, and its line of coffee is for sale all over the country.
If a quirky vibe and style of a place is important to you, then there are plenty of themed coffee shops and cafés in Oslo that cater as much to the eyes as they do to the tastebuds. Retrolykke at Grünerløkka is one of these. Part coffee shop, part retro and vintage shop, Retrolykke is a colourful jewel with shelves full of old kitchenware, glassware, accessories, lamps, furniture and decorations. Sit down with some waffles and a coffee or hot chocolate and take in the surroundings, or have a chat with the shop owner, who is as charming and colourful as the shop itself. Trams # 11, 12 and 13 stop at Olaf Ryes plass, a four-minute walk away.
LIEBLING Liebling is another quirky coffee shop with an in-store shop selling books, gadgets, decor and clothes. Inspired by Berlin, the place offers German as well as Norwegian drinks and food, and its coffee is delivered freshly roasted from local Grünerløkka café and roastery The Supreme Roastworks. On a sunny day, there is outdoor seating out front, and if it's sunny enough to call for utepils, head to the back of the building where St. Pauli Biergarten serves German beers and small dishes in an eclectic and colourful garden.
Retrolykke kaffebar. © Asaki Abumi
Trams # 11, 12 and 13 stop at Birkelunden, a twominute walk away.
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FESTLIGHETER FESTIVITIES Divendres/Viernes/Friday | 51
CELEBRATE 17 MAY! If you’re fortunate enough to visit Oslo on 17 May any given year, you’re in for an experience like nothing else. Whether sunny, rainy or snowy, this is the one day of the year when Norwegians all dress up in their national costumes, grab a Norwegian flag, and head outside to celebrate Norway’s Constitution Day. Norway’s constitution was signed on 17 May 1814, and this has been a day for celebration ever since. 17 May is mainly the children’s day, and in every city, town and village in Norway, children and marching bands parade down the streets waving flags, chanting, and singing songs about love, freedom and Norway. Oslo has the biggest parade, consisting of selected schools, lasting several hours and filling the city with life and colour. The highlight of the parade is when it passes by the Royal Palace, where the royal family spends the day greeting the children from the balcony. Norwegian TV live broadcasts the celebrations from every corner of the country, from the tiniest fishing villages to the largest cities. Schools tend to have their own celebrations once the parade is over, with games, food, entertainment and competitions for the pupils and their families to enjoy. The day is also the culmination of the month-long graduation celebration of Norwegian ‘videregående’ pupils (finishing the equivalent of high school), known as ‘russefeiring’, when they don costumes in colours reflecting their particular school or field of study. Russefeiring has been a tradition since 1905 but is controversial due to public disturbances, health risks and other problems linked to alcohol consumption and drunkennes. It’s also regarded as problematic due to taking place just before the final exams, leading some students to party their revision days away. Still, the ‘russ’ are a traditional part of the city streets on 17 May, and once the children’s parade is over, the russ take over with loud music and party time in ‘russetoget’, their own parade, showing off their cars, vans, buses and other vehicles rebuilt and re-decorated to match their groupings, schools and squads. In the districts and villages, you might even see a ‘russe’ tractor or two.
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© Asgeir Helgestad
Mostly, this day is about family, friends and children, and it’s important to know that on 17 May, you’re allowed to eat as many ice creams and hotdogs as you want!
CELEBRATE 17 MAY AS A NORWEGIAN: Most Norwegians have the day off, so the day is spent with family or friends, and often begins with a traditional Champagne breakfast. It usually consists of a literal smorgasbord, known as ‘koldtbord’, filled with good food, fruit, waffles, juices and, of course, Champagne. Everybody wears their nicest clothes, whether it’s a Norwegian traditional ‘bunad’ or other pretty but weatherappropriate clothes. Once you’re stuffed, it’s time to head outside and find a good spot for the parade. Forget driving – almost all the streets in central Oslo are closed off on 17 May to make way for pedestrians. Opt for public transport or walk. Celebrate with the children. The parades are full of songs, chants and cheer, often in a call-and-respons fashion. Learn the words and join in the fun! After the parade, it’s time to find a place to eat, unless you’re visiting or hosting a party at somebody’s house. Most places don’t accept reservations on 17 May, so queuing might take time unless you’re lucky or head a little bit outside the city centre. As a worst-case scenario, opt for ice cream – it’ll be available everywhere and officially counts as food on this special day. If celebrating at home, another smorgasbord is usually appropriate. Dinner is typically light, with cured meats, sour cream porridge, sandwiches, omelettes, hot dogs, and cakes with lots of whipped cream and berries. Wear your Norwegian or Sami flag at all times, but make sure never to point it downwards or let it touch the ground – and don’t disrespect it. Norwegians take their flag very seriously, and it’s never on display unless it’s a so-called flag day. Even on flag days, there are protocols as to when the flag is allowed to fly. It’s allowed to be raised from 8am but should always be lowered at either sunset or 9pm, whichever comes first. The north of Norway has different times to adhere to, as greater parts of the day are dark. When the day is over, drink lots of water and put your feet up. They will be sore, and you will be dehydrated.
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A weekend in Oslo
EVENT CALENDAR Oslo is a vibrant city with plenty of events happening throughout the year. Festivals take place both in the summer and in the winter, there are free cultural happenings, and each night of the week, there are concerts taking place in one of the city’s many live music venues.
HOLMENKOLLEN SKIFESTIVAL Annually, usually in March Holmenkollen Skifestival, often referred to as Kollen-helgen (‘The Kollen Weekend’), is an annual festival of various skiing tournaments taking place in Holmenkollen. Though parts of the event area are ticketed, several of the events take place in nonticketed areas, allowing everyone to get a glimpse of their sports heroes. The Norwegian term ‘Kollenbrølet’ relates to the roar produced by the excited crowds at the Holmenkollen ski-jumping competitions.
I N F E R N O M E TA L FESTIVAL 9-12 April More than any other genre of music, Norway is famous for its black metal, and every year, extreme metal festival Inferno Metal Festival paints Oslo black during Easter. From Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday, several of Oslo’s venues take part in the festival and present the attendees with large national and international acts. Artists confirmed for 2020: Mayhem, Vreid, Ihsahn, Venom and more.
streets with flags, chants and songs, and free concerts and events are held across the city.
V G - L I S TA T O P P 2 0 June, date TBA The biggest free concert tour of the year is VG-lista Topp 20, which stops by Rådhusplassen in Oslo every year. With a line-up consisting of the biggest teen idols, pop stars and celebrities, the concerts draw thousands of young attendees each year for a celebration of the Norwegian Top-20 chart show.
P I K N I K I PA R K E N 11-13 June Norwegians love their picnics, and the annual city-based festival
1 7 M AY – N O R W E G I A N C O N S T I T U T I O N D AY 17 May The biggest celebration of the year, as millions of Norwegians take to the streets to celebrate Norway’s constitution. Children parade the 54 | Festligheter/Festivities
© Visit Oslo, Johannes Granseth
Piknik i Parken (‘Picnic in the Park’) embraces the picnic culture to the max as Sofienbergparken fills to the brim with people, music and summer vibes. Artists confirmed for 2020: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Massive Attack, Supergrass, Girl in Red, Two Door Cinema Club and more.
THE OSLO PHILHARMONIC ANNUAL OUTDOOR CONCERT 14 June The Oslo Philharmonic and special guests end their concert season with a free open-air concert at Myraløkka in central Oslo, where anyone can sit down on the grass and enjoy classical music in the mild summer night.
A weekend in Oslo
OVER OSLO 17-20 June For those longing for fresh air and a view of the city, Over Oslo ships busloads of people up to Grefsenkollen for four days of music from big Nordic and international names. Artists confirmed for 2020: Sigrid, Cezinando, Melissa Horn, Gabrielle, The Cardigans, Pet Shop Boys and more.
its main hub and festival area in Spikersuppa. Admission to the festival area is free of charge and features concerts, shows and events, educational stalls, talks and debates. The annual Pride Parade takes place on 22 June, when thousands of people celebrate in the streets of Oslo.
TONS OF ROCK OSLO PRIDE From Inferno Metal Festival. © Dreamstime
19-28 June Norway’s biggest LGBTQ+ festival takes place in Oslo city centre, with
25-27 June Tons Of Rock caters to fans of commercially successful rock. Originally a Halden festival, Tons Of Rock relocated to Oslo in 2019 and takes place at Ekebergsletta in June. Artists confirmed for 2020: Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Faith No More, Mastodon and more.
FOOTBALL GAMES Summer half of the year Though Oslo has several football teams fighting in the upper Norwegian divisions, it’s the Norwegian national team that draws the biggest crowds. While it’s far from the best national team in Europe, or even Scandinavia, Norwegians are faithful fans, and if there’s a national game happening, they’ll meet in football pubs, party downtown and make friends with fans from the opposite team before heading to the stadium – more often than not to have their hopes crushed once more. But ‘uffda’, that’s ok, as they say; it was a fun day anyway!
Fun fact ‘Uffda’ is a good word to know when watching sports with Norwegians. It means a sometimes disappointed, sometimes goodhumoured, sometimes patronising and other times a comforting ‘whoops’. Use, for instance, when the opposite team scores; to say to a friend supporting the opposite team when your team scores; when your ski hero breaks his ski pole; or when you realise you won’t get into Fotballfest because it’s already too crowded.
Elvelangs 2017. © Visit Oslo, Didrick Stenersen
Dates TBA Fotballfesten shows the World and European football cups on big open-air screens at Kontraskjæret near Akershus Fortress. Entry is free of charge, but there are usually extensive queues to get in due to its popularity. Festligheter/Festivities | 55
Ø YA F E S T I VA L E N 11-15 August Norwegians love festivals, and some of the biggest ones take place in Oslo. The biggest of them all is Øyafestivalen, an annual music festival taking place in Tøyenparken in the city centre every August. For four days on end – in addition to one multi-venue club day in the city – the park is filled with thousands of happy festivalgoers enjoying some of the biggest national and international names in music. Øyafestivalen is a multi-awardwinning non-camping festival, and in February 2020, it won International Greener Festival Award, pinning it as the greenest festival in the world. Ecological and sustainable festival food and beer served in eco-friendly containers and reusable glasses are only a small part of the eco aspect of the festival. Renewable energy and meticulous recycling of the remaining waste are others. But for the festival visitors, it is the relaxed vibe, good music, and unbeatable location that is important. Artists confirmed for 2020: The Strokes, FKA Twigs, Suede, AURORA, Stormzy and more.
Oslo’s public holidays in 2020 1 January: New Year’s Day 9 April (2020): Maundy Thursday 10 April (2020): Good Friday 12 April (2020): Easter Sunday 13 April (2020): Easter Monday 1 May: Labour Day/May Day 17 May: Constitution Day 21 May (2020): Ascension Day 31 May (2020): Whit Sunday 1 June (2020): Whit Monday 25 December: Christmas Day
© Alyssa Nilsen
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26 December: Boxing Day (known as Second Christmas Day in Norway)
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MELAFESTIVALEN 14-16 August Free-to-attend festival Melafestivalen is a festival celebrating world culture. Outside the concert area, food stalls let people sample foods and treats from all over the world. Other aspects of the festival include art and culture from several continents. Artists confirmed for 2020: Jaz Dhami, Mari Boine, Jasmine Sandlas, Manu Chao and more.
MUSIKKFEST 29 August Another free-to-attend festival is Musikkfest, an annual festival celebrating music, taking place in the streets of Oslo on the first Saturday of June. Local arrangers and livemusic venues move their stages out onto the streets, and bands from all conceivable genres entertain crowds all over the city for free. Many eateries
also move outside for the crowds to be able to enjoy food and drink along with the music.
OSLO CULTURE NIGHT 13 September For one night only, 200 of the city’s museums, venues, galleries, and historical sites open their doors for anyone to visit free of charge. Get guided tours, learn about local history, explore places you might not normally visit, or listen to music you might not normally choose.
E LV E L A N G S I F A K K E L LY S 24 September, 8pm to 11pm Elvelangs i fakkellys (‘Along the river by torchlight’) is an annual event usually taking place in September along the Akerselva River. For one night, all the electric lights along the river are
switched off and replaced with 4,500 torches. 1,500 cultural experiences including choirs, theatre troupes, art installations, light installations and dance performances entertain the approximately 40,000 people walking the eight-kilometre path each year.
JUL I VINTERLAND Mid-November to end of December Christmas is a time of celebration in Norway, and in Oslo, it’s marked by Christmas concerts in the various churches, streets being decorated with lights and Christmas markets popping up in the squares. The biggest Christmas market in Oslo, Jul i Vinterland (‘Christmas in Winterland’) takes place at Spikersuppa in Oslo city centre and includes food stalls, souvenir and handicraft stalls, a free ice-skating rink, bars and eateries, games, and a large Ferris wheel.
On public holidays and Sundays, Norway shuts down. Shops are closed, and outside Oslo, so are many restaurants. In Oslo, however, restaurants and cafés tend stay open, albeit with shorter opening hours. December is the exception, when shops are allowed to stay open in preparation for Christmas.
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INDEX SIGHTSEEING Aker Brygge Akerselva Akershus Festning Det Andre Teatret Astrup Fearnley Ball Barcode Birkelunden Bjørvika Blå Brygg Deichman Bjørvika library Ekeberparken skulpturpark Filipstad The Good Knight Grünerløkka Holmenkollen Hønse Lovisas Hus Karl Johans Gate KOK The Kon-Tiki Museym Korketrekkeren Lilleborg Marka Nationaltheatret New National Museum
18 42 16 42 19 39 34 42 34 43 39 35 22 19 39 42 32 42 14 27 36 30 42 31 16 18
Nobel Peace Center 36 Norwegian Museum of Cultural History 37 Oche 39 Oslo Archipelago 31 Oslo Camping 39 Oslo Central Station 14 Oslo Fjord Sauna 27 Oslo Opera House 34 Oslo Rådhus 17 Oslo Vinterpark 30 Parliament Building 15 Popsenteret 37 The Princess Ingrid Alexandra skulpturpark 23 Raadhuset 39 Rommensletta skulpturpark 22 Royal Palace 17 Røør 39 Salt 26 She Lies 35 Skur 13 19 Spikersuppa 15 Sunday markets 42 Syng 39 Sørenga 35 Sørenga Seawater Pool 35 Tilt 39 Tjuvholmen 19
CONTRIBUTORS 23 Tjuvholmen skulpturpark 20 Vigelandsparken 36 The Viking ship museum 43 Vintage treasures 39 Youngstorget
A WEEKEND IN OSLO – A Scan Magazine e-book Published by Scan Client Publishing Directors Thomas Winther & Mads E. Petersen Author Alyssa Nilsen
E AT I N G A N D D R I N K I N G
Executive Editor Linnea Dunne
24 Bars 39 Themed bars 25 Restaurants 46 Food Halls 48 Coffee
Copy-editor Karl Batterbee
MISCELLANEOUS Norwegian concepts 44 17 May 52 Event Calendar 54 Booking 6 Airport transport 7 Hotels 7 Norwegian Dictionary 9 Etiquette 11 Emergency numbers 11 Packing 6 Flying 7 Travelling in Oslo 6 Metro map 60
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A weekend in Oslo
METRO OSLO © RUTER
A weekend in Oslo
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