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Sights in Oslo, Norway

Oslo has a rich maritime and cultural history and is particularly known for its Viking heritage. It has interesting museums and cultural attractions to explore with a sampling of these sights below.

  • Ekebergparken—a public park that looks out over the city and Oslofjord with artwork from the collection of art collector and developer Christian Ringnes with pieces by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Marina Abramovic, Jenny Holzer, and Tony Oursler; Kongsveien 23
  • Astrup Fearnley Museet—a private contemporary art museum designed by Renzo Piano with a glass sail-like roof and a collection including works by Jeff Koons, Tom Sachs, Cindy Sherman, Sigmar Polke, Anselm Kiefer, and Damien Hirst with the most famous piece being Koons’ Michael Jackson and Bubbles; Strandpromenaden 2
  • Ibsen Museet—a house-museum with Henrik Ibsen’s former apartment that was his final residence featuring his study in the condition he left it and the bedroom where he said his last words; Henrik Ibsens Gate 26
  • Nasjonalgalleriet—an art gallery with the country’s largest collection of traditional and modern art with works by Edvard Munch including The Scream, European art by artists such as Gauguin and El Greco, and 19th century Norwegian artists such as JC Dahl and Christian Krohg; Universitetsgata 13
  • Vigelandsanlegget—an outdoor showcase of work by Norway’s beloved sculptor, Gustav Vigeland, with 212 granite and bronze pieces depicting lovers, elderly couples, crying babies, and beggars; Nobels Gate 32
  • Akerhus Festning—a fortress on the eastern side of the harbor built in 1299 to protect Oslo from outside threats and over the years it has been enlarged, modified, and tightened up its defenses and now includes a medieval castle, a fortress, and other buildings including active military installations
  • Rod Bianco—a gallery featuring boundary-pushing artwork from Norwegian and international contemporary artists; Waldemar Thranes Gate 84c
  • Vikingshipshuset—a museum with nicely restored Viking ships discovered in Oslofjord in the late 19th century with three ships displayed with few artifacts remaining; Huk Aveny 35
  • Polarship Fram Museum—a museum dedicated to an iconic ship from polar exploration, the 39-meter Fram, where visitors can explore the decks, bunk rooms, and exhibits with artifacts, maps, and pictures; Bygdoynesveien 36
  • Munchmuseet—a museum dedicated to Edvard Munch with the largest collection of his work in the world including 28,000 items such as 1,100 paintings and 4,500 watercolors; Toyengata 53
  • Henie-Onstad Art Centre—a private art museum that has works by Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso; impressionist, abstract, expressionist, and contemporary Norwegian pieces; and the largest collection of Kurt Schwitters’ work made while he lived in Norway during World War II; Hovikodden
  • Norsk Folkemuseum—Norway’s largest outdoor museum with over 140 buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries gathered from around the country, rebuilt, and organized according to regional origin; farm animals; horse and cart rides; an Old Town section with a reproduction of an early 20th century Norwegian town with a village shop and old gas station; and an exhibition hall with comprehensive displays on Norwegian folk art, historic toys, national costumes, domestic and farming tools and appliances, and visiting exhibits and information on the life and culture of the Sami; Museumsveien 10
  • Royal Palace—the Norwegian royal family’s residence built for the French king Karl Johan that was not continuously occupied until King Haakon VII and Queen Maud assumed rule in 1905 and has been modernized by the current king, King Harald V; Slottsparken 1
  • Historisk Museum—three museums altogether that includes the National Antiquities Collection which has displays of Viking-era coins, jewelry, and ornaments; the only complete Viking helmet; the 9th century Hoen treasure which is the largest find in Scandinavia; and a section on medieval religious art; an Arctic exhibit; a collection of ancient Norwegian coins; and the Ethnographic Museum with rotating exhibits on Asia, Africa, and the Americas; Frederiks gate 2
  • Vigeland Museum—a museum which was built by Oslo in the 1920s as a home and studio for Gustav Vigeland in exchange for the donation of much of his work and contains statuary and monuments to public figures as well as plaster molds, woodblock prints, and sketches; Nobelsgata 32
  • Nobels Fredssenter (Nobel Peace Center)—this museum is dedicated to winners of the Nobel Peace Prize and has digital displays providing information on the lives and accomplishments of the winners, changing exhibitions on aspects of the prize and its winners, a theater that shows films on the history of the prize and its winners, and a gift shop; Radhusplassen 1
  • Oslo Cathedral—a cathedral dating back to 1697 with elaborate stained-glass windows by Emanuel Vigeland and a painted ceiling completed between 1936 and 1950 as well as a large altarpiece that is a 1748 model of The Last Supper and the Crucifixion; Stortovet 1
  • Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park—a sculpture park designed by Renzo Piano that features international contemporary art by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Ugo Rondinone, Franz West, and Ellsworth Kelly; Tjuvholmen
  • Norwegian Resistance Museum—a museum that is adjacent to a memorial for resistance fighters executed during World War II and focuses on German occupation in Norway with artifacts including underground newspapers, maps, photographs, and a wired set of dentures to receive radio broadcasts
  • Natural History Museum—a museum with a zoological collection that is filled with stuffed native wildlife, the geological-paleontological collection, and greenhouses; Sars gate 1
  • Botanical Garden—the oldest botanical garden in Norway with a scenic arboretum, a scent garden, a mountain landscape, and specimens from the Oslo fjords including four nearly extinct specimens as well as woven sculptures by Tom Hare; Sars gate 1
  • Radhus—a twin-towered town hall that is home to the city’s political administration and filled with tributes to Norwegian cultural and working life; Fridtjof Nansens plass
  • Kon-Tiki Museum—a museum dedicated to the raft Kon-Tiki which Thor Heyerdahl used to sail from Peru to Polynesia in 1947 and the totora-reed Ra-II built for a 1970 Atlantic crossing by Heyerdahl; Bygdoynesveien 36
  • Norwegian Maritime Museum—a museum that depicts Norway’s relationship with the sea including its fishing and whaling industries, the seismic fleet which searches for oil and gas, shipbuilding, wreck salvaging, and pleasure craft; Bygdoynnesveien 37
  • 1857—an artist-run space in a former timber yard that is known for its collaborative curated efforts between Norwegian artists and those from Europe and beyond; Toyenbekken 12
  • Queen Sonja Art Stable—a public gallery space that was once a storage space for 50 years and was reopened as a gallery by Queen Sonja on her 80th birthday and hosts yearly exhibitions and a photograph collection collected by Queen Maud
  • Oslo City Museum—a museum situated within the 18th century Frogner Manor that adds perspective to traditional Norwegian life in the 18th century and has exhibitions about Oslo’s urban history; Frognerveien 67
  • Nasjonalbiblioteket—a modern library that has historic documents from Norway’s cultural history from 13th century manuscripts to magazines, films, and Norwegian musical scores; Henrik Ibsens Gate 110
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