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Oslo is the capital city of Norway, and has 512,589 inhabitants as of January 1, 2002, which is 11.3% of the total population in Norway. The metropolitan area extends into the surrounding county of Akershus and has a population of 783,829 (Jan. 2002). The total area of Oslo is 454.0 km², of which 115 km² is built-up and 7 km² is agricultural. The open areas within the built-up zone amounts to 22 km².

Oslo is located at the head of the Oslofjord[?]. The fjord lies to the south; in the other directions Oslo is surrounded by green hills and mountains. There are 40 islands within the city limits,the largest being Malmøya (0.56 km²). Oslo has 343 lakes, the largest being Maridalsvannet (3.91 km²). This is also a main source of drinking water. The highest point is Kirkeberget, at 629 m.

Oslo was founded around A.D. 1048 by king Harald Hardråde. The origin of the name is still somewhat unclear. It has been regarded as the capital city since the reign of Håkon V[?] (1299-1319), who was the first king to reside permantenly in the city and also started the construction of the fortress of Akershus. A century later Norway had lost its independence to Denmark, and Oslo's role was reduced to that of administrative centre of the colonial power. The fact that the University of Oslo was founded as late as 1811 had an adverse effect on the development of the nation.

Oslo was destroyed by fire in 1624, was rebuilt by king Christian IV of Norway and given the name Christiania (later Kristiania). The original name of Oslo was restored in 1924. But long before this, Oslo had started to regain its stature as a centre of commerce and culture in Norway. Many landmarks in Oslo were built in the 19th century, including the The Royal Palace (1825-1848), the Parliament (1861-1866), the University, The National Theatre and the Stock Exchange. Among the world-famous artists who lived here during this period were Henrik Ibsen, Edvard Munch, Knut Hamsun and Sigrid Undset (the latter two won the Nobel Prize for literature).

View from the City Hall towards the fjord

Oslo's prominence in the political, cultural and economical life of Norway has been and still is a source of considerable controversy and friction. This has not changed during the last century, despite numerous attempts at decentralizing power by giving incentives to investors in other regions and moving government institutions outside the Oslo area.

The city was once referred to as Tigerstaden (City of Tigers) by the author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson around 1870. This name has over the years achieved an almost official status, to the extent the 1000 year jubilee was celebrated by a row of tiger sculptures around the City Hall. A harsh picture of the city was drawn by Knut Hamsun in his novel Sult (Hunger) from 1890 (cinematized in 1966).

The newspapers Verdens Gang, Dagbladet, Aftenposten and Dagsavisen[?] are published in Oslo.

Table of contents

Some points of interest





There are daily ferry connections to:


Connections in the directions of:

Local public transport

Everything but the train operate on a common ticket system, allowing free transfers within a period of one hour.

Administration The city of Oslo constitues a county of Norway. It is governed by a City Council (Byråd) based on the principle of Parliamentarism.

The city is divided into districts (bydel) that are to some extent self governed:

The main city centre has 1,194 inhabitants as of January 1, 2000, and covers an area of 2.6 km².

Rural/recreational areas (Marka) has 1,647 inhabitants as of January 1, 2000, and covers an area of 301.1 km².


Oslo was host city for the 1952 Winter Olympic Games. Except for the downhill skiing at Norefjell, all events took place within the city limits.

The Bislett[?] Stadion was used for speed skating events at the Olympics, but in recent years it has better known for its yearly Bislett Games track and field event.

Two football teams from Oslo, Vålerenga I.F. Fotball[?] and Lyn Fotball[?], play in the Norwegian premier league (2003).

See also

External links

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