The destination in Norway for food, fashion, & museums, these fun facts about Oslo will have you booking your trip to tour this awesome city!
It’s time to shine a light on Oslo, the beautiful capital of Norway.
We know what you’re thinking, Oslo doesn’t get talked about a lot, but this place is home to some of the world’s best restaurants and museums.
How much do you know about Oslo though? Well, we’re about to find out in our fun facts about Oslo! While this isn’t the most well–known city in the world, it offers some of the coolest things to do.
If you are a fan of nature and trees, then Oslo is the perfect city to check out. Much of the city is densely forested, plus there are many islands you can visit. If you are a local, you might even have a summer home on one of them.
For art lovers, one of the more famous works of art in the world calls Oslo home. The Scream, by Edvard Munch, is a collection of four pieces featuring an agonized face. You can find The Scream at the Munch Museum.
In fact, there are more than 50 museums for you to check out in Oslo. This is definitely a place for art and history lovers!
And there aren’t many cities that have hosted the Olympics. Oslo was home to the 1952 Winter Olympics. Conveniently, Norway topped the medal count that year. Winners.
So sit back and get ready to learn some of the coolest Oslo facts around. The question is which one will you find most surprising?
Table of Contents
21 Fun Facts About Oslo
1. Norway, no, Denmark, no, Norway
Today, Oslo is the capital of Norway. However, this region has changed hands many times in history. During the time of the Vikings, Oslo was in Viken, the farthest north province of Denmark.
These countries clashed over who controlled this area for hundreds of years. In fact, Denmark still claimed the area until 1241.
2. It’s crowded
Not only is Oslo the capital of Norway, but it is also the largest city in the country. Depending on how much of the area you count in the population, there are just over 1 million inhabitants of the city.
It is followed by Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, and Bærum, but these are much smaller. The total population of Norway is 5.4 million.
3. It’s the capital
Oslo is the capital of Norway and has been since 1814. Today, the city is 175.29 square miles or about 454 square kilometers.
The city was originally founded in 1050 or so by King Harald Hardrada. However, a fire destroyed the city in 1624.
If you’re doing a Fjords cruise (which is an amazing way of seeing more of Norway), these start in Oslo and take you into the Norwegian Fjords from there.
4. It’s made it through fires
Before 1624, Oslo was part of a larger city. However, a fire destroyed the main area, and a new city was built near Akershus Fortress. It was named Christiania.
The site of the original city on the other side of the river wasn’t abandoned. Oslo remained an active village as a suburb. It eventually became part of the city.
5. Which leads us to how the whole city got the name
From 1624 on, Oslo was a suburb of the larger city. However, in 1925, the name Oslo was transferred to the entire city.
The old village of Oslo was renamed Gamlebyen, which literally means “the Old Town.” This was in an attempt to reduce confusion. This is definitely one of the most interesting facts about Oslo that’s for sure.
6. I scream, you scream
The famous “Scream” painting resides full-time in Oslo. The work of art, created by Edvard Munch, is the Munch Museum in Oslo.
7. Check with your neighbors
The last census recorded the population of Norway at almost 5.4 million people. Today, there are more Americans of Norwegian descent living in America than Norwegians in Norway. How crazy is that!?
8. And the Nobel Prize winner is…
It’s no secret that a Nobel Prize is one of the greatest honors in the world. The Nobel Peace Prize is given out during a ceremony held at Oslo City Hall every year.
9. The Land of the Midnight Sun
If you’ve never paid attention to where Norway is on a map, you might be surprised how far north it actually goes. It has earned the nickname “The Land of the Midnight Sun” because the sun never sets for part of the year.
In fact, if you turned Norway upside down leaving Oslo in the same spot, the country would reach all the way to Rome!
10. Check out the sculptures
The world’s largest sculpture park is in Oslo. Located in Frogner Park, Vigeland Park is home to more than 200 statues and works of art, each created by Gustav Vigeland, one of Norway’s most famous artists.
11. Bad weather?
If you ask the average Oslo resident, they will tell you: “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” Most residents of the Baltic states have adopted this Oslo fact true to their heart.
The summer months are fairly mild, but the winter months can get pretty dreary with many cold and wet days.
12. They’re healthy
Oslo is the healthiest city in Norway by many measures. Nationally, 28% of Norwegians are overweight, but only 19% of the residents in Oslo are.
Locals also drink fewer sugary drinks than the national average and get in more exercise. It pays living in Oslo!
13. It’s home to some OLD ships
If you decide to visit the Oslo Viking Ship Museum, just one of the many museums in the city, you will get the chance to see Viking ships. But not just any Viking ships, 1,000-year-old ships that are fully intact.
14. Thank you tree
During World War II, the English came to the aid of Oslo and greater Norway. As a way of saying thank you, the residents of Oslo gifted the residents of London with a Christmas tree in 1947. This tradition continues today.
15. You’ll find a TON of trees
Even though Oslo is the capital city, it is still home to many, many trees. Norwegians are known for their love of nature, and Oslo is no different. You’ll find vast amounts of untouched forest land in and around the main city.
Oslomarka, or The Oslo Forest, is home to many unique and endangered species, including the lynx, wolf, beaver, moose, and deer. This land is protected and cannot be developed.
16. It’s family-friendly
When you decide to start a family in Oslo, Norway, you are off to a good start with their maternity and paternity policies.
Women who give birth get 44 weeks of fully paid maternity leave while dads get 6 weeks of fully paid paternity leave. This is one of the fun facts about Oslo we wish was true in other cities!
17. It’s home to Olympians
Besides being the main residence of many of Norway’s finest athletes, Oslo also hosted the 1952 Olympics. Each of the events took place within the major metropolitan area except for the alpine skiing which was hosted at Norefjell.
The Olympics hosted 694 athletes from 30 different countries who participated in 22 events. Norway also won the most medals with 16. America had 11 while Finland had 9.
18. You can island hop in the city
The city center and many residential areas in Oslo are on the mainland. However, there are many islands that are technically within the city limits. During the popular summer months, ferries run hourly taking locals and tourists alike from island to island.
Many Norwegians own summer cottages on the islands, as well. These unique pieces of land are home to historical ruins, nature and hiking trails, and beaches.
19. The Tiger City
A nickname of Oslo is Tigerstaden, or The Tiger City. However, this fact about Oslo might be a bit confusing because there aren’t actually tigers in or near the city.
Most agree the nickname came from the 1870 poem by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, who described the fight between a horse and a tiger. There is even a famous bronze statue of a tiger by Elena Engelsen.
20. Oslo, the green city
It’s no secret that Norway in general is an incredibly green country. But Oslo leads the way with its eco-friendly policies. In fact, Oslo has more electric car users than any other city in the world.
There are 50,000 all-electric vehicles in Oslo alone, and most apartments have included charging ports in the garage.
21. A museum for everything
We already learned that Oslo is home to The Scream at the Munch Museum. But if you’re really in the mood to explore and learn at the same time, you can check out one of the more than 50 other museums in the city.
Who wants more fun facts?
If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!
Hopefully, these Oslo facts are enough to get you super excited about visiting this incredible city. If we’ve missed any of your favorite facts, you can let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to this post!