The Bank Square (Bankplassen) in Oslo

bankplassen

Photo by Mira Johansson/OURWAY Tours

If you find yourself walking around in the inner city of Oslo, you’ll might stumble upon a little square all of the sudden. This square is called Bankplassen, translating to The Bank Square. The square got it’s name from the bank Norges Bank, who used to be located at 3 Bankplassen (where you’ll now find the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design). Besides the museum, you will find the famous Engebret Café on this square. In 2007, it celebrated it’s 150th anniversary. Once upon a time both Edvard Munch and Henrik Ibsen had regular tables here. One of the reasons why Bankplassen was such a popular square can be explained by the theatre that used to be here in the 1800s – Christiania Theatre. It was mainly because of the theatre that the café opened once, the theatre community that bloomed here demanded a café for the actors to hang out at. Today Bankplassen is a fairly calm square, but it’s still worth a visit. Not only for the history that lies on the cobblestones here, but for the beautiful houses that originates from the past.

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Christmas in Oslo

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Photo by Foto: VisitOSLO / Susanne A. Finnes

Are you travelling to Oslo during Christmas times? Lucky you! This city is perfect for the Christmas season. It’s small and cosy, so you can enjoy plenty of Christmassy things. Here’s what we would recommend if you’re planning to spend Christmas in Oslo.

Inaguarating Christmas in Oslo on 26th of November. This Saturday will be the official start of the Christmas celebrations in Oslo! Depending on what you want to see, here’s a few examples on what’s going on: Fireworks outside Aker Brygge at 7PM, the lightning of the Christmas lights at Karl Johans Gate by the mayor of Oslo, with free soup and an ice skating show at 5PM, and free cookies and glögg with Christmas entertainment at Vika, a new car-free area in Oslo. More info can be found here.

Christmas Market at Spikersuppa. Spikersuppa is the nickname for Eidsvolls plass, located close to the National Theatre in Oslo and Karl Johans Gate. It’s here the yearly Christmas market take place, this year between the 19th of November to 20th of December. At the market you’ll be able to purchase Christmas presents, Christmas food the Norwegian way and other Christmassy stuff. The market is open between 10.00 – 20.00, and there’s also a ferris wheel, if you’re up for a ride!

Visit Bærums Verk. Earlier this year we wrote a blog post on this gorgeous place, located outside of Oslo. During winter and Christmas, it looks like a true winter wonderland that surely will give you that Christmas Spirit in case you’re missing it.

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Vår Frelsers Gravlund Cemetery

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Photo by OURWAY Tours

Directly translated to Our Saviour’s Cemetery, Vår Frelsers Gravlund is probably the most beautiful cemetery in central Oslo. The cemetery was created in the beginning of the 1800s due to a cholera epidemic of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1911 the grounds were expanded and since 1952 it has been full. The cemetery itself includes five sections; among them Norway’s main honorary burial ground. It’s also here at Vår Frelsers Gravlund that you will find many of the Norwegians who put the country on the map, perhaps most famous playwrighter Henrik Ibsen and painter Edvard Munch. Besides from visiting them, we recommend walking around the cemetery. Though it’s a place filled with death, it’s so alive anyway.

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Grand Hotel in Oslo

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Photo by OURWAY Tours

It used to be the place to hang out for writers and celebrities, now it’s “just” THE Nobel-hotel and given point of any tourist sightseeing tour, of course where talking about the Grand Hotel.The gorgeous Grand Hotel opened in 1874 by a man called Julius Fritzner, and is located on one of the most central streets of Oslo: Karl Johans Gate. Within walking distance you’ll find both the Royal Palace and the Parliament. Other celebrities? Well, at one of the restaurants of the hotel – Grand Café – Henrik Ibsen used to dine one a daily basis. The writer Roald Dahl used to stay in the Nobel suite when he was young, and the spot is said to be the place where he got his inspiration for the book “Boy: Tales of Childhood”. Every year, of course the Nobel Peace Prize-winners stay in the Nobel suite, and the hotel of course settles the yearly banquet for the prize. Staying at the hotel might be out of your price range, but having a look from the outside is a definite must!

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Sightseeing out of the ordinary: Emanuel Vigelands Museum

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Photo by Ablution Bandcamp

Are on vacation in Oslo, looking for an attraction or sightseeing out of the ordinary? Visit Emanuel Vigelands Museum!

The Museum is located in the area Slemdal, and has been described as one of Oslo’s best secrets. The museum is practically located in a cylindrical vault, completely covered in Emanuel Vigeland’s paintings. Emanuel Vigeland was a famous Norwegian painter and brother to Gustav Vigeland, who is behind Vigelandsparken in central Oslo. Emanuel lived between years 1875 – 1948, and erected the building in 1926. His idea was that it should function as a future museum for his sculptures and paintings. Later on he changed his mind; he wanted it to function as a mausoleum too. The museum opened in December 1959. Emanuel Vigelands museum is definitely worth a visit, not only for the reason that this museum is not nearly enough as famous as his brothers park in Oslo. The museum is located on Grimelundsveien 8C, in the area Slemdal, it’s easiest to get here by taking the metro, line 1 to Slemdal station, or bus 36 to Grimelundsveien. Find more information and opening hours on the museum’s website.

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Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo

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Every year in Oslo Rådhus (the City Hall of Oslo), the prize ceremony takes place on December 10th. It’s one of the five Nobel Prizes that Alfred Nobel created before his death, and that has been handed out since 1901. This very price is the only one that’s handed out in Oslo, the other one’s are handed out in Stockholm. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to those who “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. The prize is handed out from the Chairman of Norwegian Nobel Committee, and present is also King Harald V of Norway. How it came that Oslo was chosen as the price for the Nobel Peace Prize? No one really knows. During Alfred Nobel’s years of life, Sweden was in union with Norway. He wanted Stortinget (an institution who worked with international peace) to choose the winner on a yearly basis. Maybe he was just confident that they would do the best job. We will never know!

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