Photo by Henrik Ibsen, Photo: Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images
Brave, gifted, talented and responsible for making Oslo somewhat what it is today. Meet three people that made Oslo and Norway famous.
1. Edvard Munch
With painting ‘Skriet’ (The Scream), Munch would create a painting that would keep him famous more than 60 years after his passing. Edvard Munch was a painter and one of Modernism’s most important artist. Over sixty years he was active – all the way from when ha made his debut in the 1880s up until his death in 1944. His experimentation skills as an artist gave him a unique position in both international as well as Norwegian art history. The Scream has been described as “an icon of modern art, a Mona Lisa for our time”.
2. Henrik Ibsen
He has been described as “the father of realism”, and is one of the founders of Modernism in theatre. Henrik Ibsen (1828 – 1906) was a Norwegian playwright, theatre director and poet. He is considered t be one of the most important playwrights since Shakespeare, in particular for his later dramas who at the time were considered scandalous. Ibsen has influenced novelists and playwrights such as Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and George Bernard Shaw. Three times he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature – 1902, 1903, and 1904.
3. Henrik Wergeland
Wergeland is one of the “birth fathers” to the celebration of 17th of May (syttende mai), but he’s mostly famous for being a Norwegian writer, playwright, historian and poet. He is often considered to be a leading pioneer in the development of Norwegian literary heritage and modern Norwegian culture. He became a famous here when he, together with the locals, fought at the battle of the Square in Christiania on 17th of May, 1829. Even though Henrik Wergeland died at the young age of 37, he has had a huge effect on literature, history, contemporary politics, social issues and much more.
Photo by Julia Naglestad / Aftenposten
Despite it’s modern city center, Oslo has it’s bohemian parts of the city. It can be seen in the area of Grünerløkka, or in the cool bars that can be found here and there. Here’s our ultimate list of quirky hipster bars in Oslo!
1. Blå, Brenneriveien 9 C
Close to the river Akerselva and smushed in the area where street-art covers almost all walls lies the bar/club Blå. If you prefer to listen to some live tunes whilst sipping a beer, this is the place for you. Although they focus on jazz – and has jazz every Sunday night – all types of bands have been playing here. During summer, they have one of the best outdoor seatings in Oslo.
2. Schouskjellern Mikrobryggeri, Trondheimsveien 2
Just in the beginning of Grünerløkka lies the micro brewery Schouskjellern, located in a small cellar. The brewery is situated right there in the basement, with four 500-liter tanks. Try their own brewed beer (they have created and served over 60 beers over the years) and enjoy the atmosphere under the vaulted brick ceilings and in front of the massive fireplace.
3. Himkok, Storgata 27
What now seems to be found everywhere was once the focal point for Himkok – it’s the first micro distillery in Norway. It’s also seen as one of the finest bars in the city. It’s not that very well-known in Oslo, and we can only guess that one of the reasons is the anonymous entrance to the bar. It’s hidden between a hairdresser and Asian supermarket and doesn’t have a sign. Himkok does definitely fit under ‘quirky’ – one of the reason being the fact that they have cocktails on tap. PS. Don’t miss the restaurant Munnsjenk located in the back-yard, the outdoor seating here is fab!
4. Den Gamle Skobutikken, Torggata 9B
With a name translating to “the Old Shoe Shop”, Den Gamle Skobutikken has already made it into our list of quirky hipster bars in Oslo. Walking inside won’t make you disappointed; inside you’ll find palm trees, a rooftop terrace, a glass wall facing the passageway. The concrete floor with it’s black interior doesn’t exactly hurt either.
5. Hytta Bar, Thorvald Meyers gate 70
Small but lovely, Hytta Bar is the hipster pub to go to if you like a good gin & tonic and prefer your music on vinyl. Be prepared for beards, pop-up concerts and atmospheric sparks from the fireplace.
Almost made the list: St. Pauli Biergarten, Sannergata 1 B
Located by Akerselva river lies the beer garden St. Pauli. They’re only open during the summer, but once they’re open they have garden games such as badminton. If you love sports, or should we say football, you need to go here – St. Pauli shows old but golden football matches.
The goal: to have the world’s biggest car-free city center. Oslo is aiming to make it happen for 2019.
It’s to make the city center more alive; whether it’s a gastronomical holiday, events or skiing. When parking spots and the cars disappear, more space becomes available for socializing. The area that’s to be car-free before 2019 is approx. 1,9 square kilometers, making it the biggest care-free area in the world. The project of making the city center car free will of course happen in small steps: first of June 2017, the street parking disappears, which is expected to reduce the traffic in Oslo remarkably. In 2018, more steps will be inaugurated, for example making more streets to pedestrian streets.
Photo by Sofia Andersson, Oslo Medieval Festival
On the 26th to 28th of May, Akershus Festning will turn into the medieval Oslo. It’s time for 2017’s edition of Middelalderfestivalen – Oslo’s medieval festival.
Since 1994, the board for Oslo Middelalderfestival have arranged events to spread knowledge on Oslo’s history in the medieval times. There’s a lot of history to be found! The festival takes you back to the year of 1314, when Oslo was the country’s most powerful city and had just been named the capital of the country. It’s a folk festival that suits the whole family, with concerts, theatre, and crafts. That the spot for the festival is Akershus Festning is not a coincidence; the first time the fortress is named in writing is in 1300 and it was an important place during this time.
If you’re interested in visiting the festival you can buy tickets here.
Photo by Skiforeningen.no
Oslo is a unique capital in many ways: it has a modern, picturesque city center, but you’re always 15 minutes away from the bush. Out of the 454 square kilometers that make up the city, 242 are forest. Here’s some tips if you want to discover the nature in Oslo.
In many ways, Oslo city center is on it’s own a green city; all you have to do is to head to Frogner Park or Akerselva River and you’ll be surrounded by trees and bushes. If you really want to discover the Norwegian forest, one of them is located 20 minutes from the city center, the Nordmarka forest. It’s super popular among locals as well as tourist. You can start your way to the forest from plenty of places (perhaps you can combine another visit with the forest?); Holmenkollen, Sognsvann, Frognerseteren and Sørkedalen – which all can be reached by public transport. In Nordmarka forest you can go skiing, biking and hiking.
If you feel like experiencing the nature of Oslo with an expert, we suggest you have a look at our nature walk tours in Oslo. Island hopping is a tour that does exactly that, hop between lovely islands. Forest to fjord takes you through deep forests and pretty lakes.
It splits Oslo’s east and west parts in two, is 8.2 kilometers long and is considered to be the green lung of Oslo. If you’re looking for stuff to put on your see in Oslo-bucketlist, Akerselva River is one to put up there.
Akerselva, as it’s called in Norwegian, is the river that flows through central Oslo. It stretches from the lake Maridalsvannet to Paulsenkaien, which essentially is through the whole city center. The difference in elevation is approximately 149 meters. The name Akerselva is a fusion of two elements, Aker (the name of an old church and farm site in Oslo) and Elv (River).
It’s no wonder why the river is referred to as the green lung of Oslo. It’s surrounded by gorgeous nature trails along the way, as you can see in the photo above. If it’s a sunny day and you have the time, walk along the river and just depart when you’re close to something else you want to see.