oslo facts
Last Updated: August 2, 2021

20 Facts About Oslo: Fun & Interesting

Norway’s capital, Olso, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and probably the world. Set on the Oslofjord, it combines both a metropolitan city life with incredible natural surroundings. The sea, forest, islands, lakes, and rivers are all part of Oslo and make it what it is – an awesome city. Here are 20 facts about Olso.

It wasn’t always called Olso

The city was first founded by King Harald Hardrada in 1050 and was then destroyed in a fire in 1624. After which, Christian IV of Denmark-Norway decided to build a new town a little more to the west and renamed it Christiania. In 1877, they changed the spelling to Kristiania, and then in 1925, parliament changed the name to Oslo.

Olso is the most populated city in Norway

Oslo is home to 697,549 people and is the most populated city in Norway. 13% of Norway’s population lives in Oslo.

As The Saying Goes

It gets cold in Oslo during the winter but don’t expect any sympathy from the local Oslo-ites… as they say in Olso “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”…

Olso is home to the only triple Michelin star restaurant

Maaemo restaurant in Olso was awarded three Michelin stars making it the only triple Michelin star restaurant in the whole country. Maaemo means mother earth in Norwegian and the food is all about natural flavors and they clearly do a good job.

A lot of Olso is a forest

Oslo is home to a huge forest know as Olsomarka (Olso Forest). The forest is full of amazing species like roe deer, beavers, lynx, wolves, and moose. It takes just 30 mins by public transport to get to the forest from the city center and Olso’s residents hike around it during the summer and ski in the forest during the winter.

You can take a tour around the King & Queen’s home

The Royal Palace in Oslo was completed in 1849 and the first King to live there was King Oscar I. Toady, the King and Queen of Norway still live at the palace and they host heads of state visiting Oslo on business. In the summer, you can take a tour around the palace and you’ll find it at the top of Olso’s Karl Johans Gate.

Olso gives London a Christmas tree every year

Since 1947, Oslo has sent the Christmas tree that sits in London’s Trafalgar square every year as a present for the UK’s support in World War II.

The tree is selected way ahead of time from the forests around Olso and when it’s cut down, the felling ceremony is attended by the Mayor of Oslo, Mayor of Westminster, and the British ambassador to Norway.

Olso is the home of the Nobel Peace Prize

Every year since 1903, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to the winner, in Olso. The winner of the prize is chosen by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Olso is known as the “Tiger City”

While no wild tigers exist in Norway, Olso is known as the tiger city due to a poem. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson described a fight between a tiger (Oslo) and a horse (the countryside) in one of his most famous poems, hence the nickname.

Oslo is home to the world’s biggest sculpture park

Olso’s Frogner Park, the city’s biggest green space, is home to the VigelandSculpture Park where you’ll find 212 or more sculptures that were made by just one artist, Gustav Vigeland.

There is also another sculpture park calledEkebergparken. It was opened in 2013 by Christian Ringnes, a collector and philanthropist. The park spans 62 acres and is home to works by Auguste Rodin, Salvador Dali, James Turrell, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Roal Dahl summered in Olso

The famous author, Roah Dahl, who wrote Charlie And The Chocolate Factory used to summer in Olso to visit his grandparents every year as a child.

Olso’s Aker river has two spellings

Depending on one’s preferred dialect, the Aker River in Olso has two spellings, Akerselva and Akerselven.

Norway’s most culturally diverse city is Olso

25% of Olso’s population was born outside of Norway and 7.8% of the population of Olso was born to immigrant parents, making Olso the country’s most culturally diverse city.

There are Viking Ships in Oslo

The Viking Ship Museum is home to three Viking ships that were found as far back as 1867. They have been fully restored in keeping with their time and are quite incredible to see. The best-preserved Viking ship in the world, Gokstad, is there and was stumbled up in a burial ground in 1879.

Olso’s airport was the first to have biofuel

The Olso airport was the first-ever airport to offer biofuel to all the airlines that came through the airport. Lufthansa was the first airline to use the flight on their Airbus.

Olso is a land of islands & lakes

There aren’t many cities in the world that have as many islands and lakes as Olso. Just outside of the city center, the residents of Olso have quick access to a total of 40 islands and 343 lakes.

A lot of the islands can be accessed via a ferry that runs every hour during summer. A lot of Olso’s residents rent or own houses there and spend their summers living on the islands. They are covered in nature trails, ruins, and lovely beaches.

Oslo was the most expensive city in the world

Back in 2013, Olso was named the most expensive city in the world but today it has dropped way down the list and currently ranks at number 11. If you have been to Olso, you know how costly it is, a beer at a bar might cost you around $12 on average.

The Winter Olympics were in Olso in 1952

Olso played host to the 1952 winter Olympics and every event, apart from alpine skiing, was held within the city of Oslo. Bislett Stadium was the main space for the event and 694 athletes from 30 countries competed in 22 events.

The famous painting, “The Scream” is in Olso

Edvard Munch’s most famous painting, The Scream was actually created in 4 different versions. You’ll find three versions in Oslo, the tempera-and-crayon created in 1893 is in Oslo’s National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design. The pastel from 1893 and the painting from 1910 are in the Munch Museum. The 4th was sold for 120 million USD.

Part of Olso is quite high

The highest point in Olso is Kirkeberget which sits at a whopping 2064 feet above sea level while on average the city sits just 75 feet above sea level. Climbing up Kirkeberget is a great thing to do in Olso as you’ll get an amazing view of 40 islands, 343 lakes, the fjords, surrounding forest, mountains, and of course, the beautiful city itself.

About the Author Anna Timbrook

Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.

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