Interesting facts about Oslo


Oslo is the capital and most populous city of Norway.

The city is geographically situated at the top of Oslofjord, enclosed by forests and mountains. There are about 40 islands in and around the city limits, the largest being Malmøya that is nearest to Oslofjord.

As of August 2018, the population of Oslo is about 674,000 people. The city’s urban area has a population of 975,000.

The city of Oslo covers a total area of 480 square kilometers (185 square miles).

Oslo has average elevation of 23 meters (75 feet) above sea level.


The highest point is Kirkeberget, at 629 meters (2,064 feet) above sea level.

Oslo also has many lakes, approximately 343, the largest being Maridalsvannet. This lake is the main source of drinking water for Oslo. There are two small rivers Akerselva and Alna, of which Akerselva divides Oslo in two parts; East and West Oslo.

Founded in the year 1040, and established as a kaupstad or trading place in 1048 by Harald Hardrada, the city was elevated to a bishopric in 1070 and a capital under Haakon V of Norway around 1300.

After the city was destroyed by fire in 1624, Christian IV of Denmark-Norway built a new town farther west, under the walls of the Akershus fortress, and called it Christiania.

oslo history

The growth of Christiania’s population in the 19th century was due in part to the absorption of surrounding municipalities, and the city replaced its rival, the west-coast port of Bergen, as Norway’s largest and most influential city.

Oslo, the original name, was re-established in 1925.

Today, Oslo is the economic and governmental center of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping.


The Vigeland Park is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist, and is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions. The unique sculpture park is Gustav Vigeland’s lifework with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron. Vigeland was also in charge of the design and architectural layout of the park. The Vigeland Park was mainly completed between 1939 and 1949.

vigeland park

Akershus Fortress is a medieval castle that was built to protect and provide a royal residence for Oslo. The building of Akershus Fortress was commenced in 1299 under king Håkon V. The medieval castle, which was completed in the 1300s, had a strategical location at the very end of the headland, and withstood a number of sieges throughout the ages. King Christian IV (1588-1648) had the castle modernised and converted into a Renaisssance castle and royal residence.

akershus fortress

The Viking Ship Museum is located at Bygdøy on the western side of Oslo. The museum is most famous for the completely whole Oseberg ship, excavated from the largest known ship burial in the world. Other main attractions at the Viking Ship Museum are the Gokstad ship and Tune ship. Additionally, the Viking Age display includes sledges, beds, a horse cart, wood carving, tent components, buckets and other grave goods.

viking ship museum

The Royal Palace in Oslo was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of the French-born King Charles III of Norway, who reigned as king of Norway and Sweden. The palace is the official residence of the current Norwegian monarch while the Crown Prince resides at Skaugum in Asker west of Oslo.

royal palace oslo

Oslo houses over 20 theatres, such as the Norwegian Theatre and the National Theatre located at Karl Johan Street.

Oslo is one of the world’s largest capitals in terms of area but only 20 percent of this land mass has been developed, the remainder consists of parks, protected forests, hills, and hundreds of lakes.

The city is considered a global city and was ranked “Beta World City” in studies carried out by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network.


Oslo has a climate that is cold and temperate with warm summers and cold winters. Oslo has a significant amount of rainfall during the year. This is true even for the driest month.

The origin of the name Oslo has been the subject of much debate. It is certainly derived from Old Norse and was—in all probability—originally the name of a large farm at Bjørvika, but the meaning of that name is disputed. Modern linguists generally interpret the original Óslo or Áslo as either “Meadow at the Foot of a Hill” or “Meadow Consecrated to the Gods”, with both considered equally likely.

Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

The city police stated that the capital is one of Europe’s safest.

Oslo has a tradition of sending a Christmas tree every year to the cities of Washington, D.C. New York, London, Edinburgh, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Reykjavík.