Oslo, Norway – Two

Enjoy the delightful images of Oslo … from its waterfront, to its historic buildings, to its sculptures celebrating its heroes and everyday citizens, to its modern shopping districts, restaurants and residences. Oslo is a delightful blend of young and old.

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1 Norwegian Royal Palace Full View in Oslo, Norway

Construction of the Norwegian Royal Palace was proposed by King Carl Johan in 1822 but the first monarch to occupy it was King Oscar I in 1849. Its neo-classical design by a Danish architect Hans Ditlev Linstow features Ionic columns above a portico with two wings. Flying above Det Norske Kongehus is the red flag called the Royal Standard of Norway. It flown whenever the king is in Norwegian territory. On the right in the Palace Square is the equestrian statue of King Charles III John.

Slottsplassen 1, 0010 Oslo, Norway
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2 Glass Iceberg Sculpture in Oslo, Norway

At first glance, this glass and steel sculpture resembles a sailboat but, according to artist Monica Bonvicini, “She Lies” is meant to represent an iceberg. Hun ligger floats and turns in front of the Oslo Opera House. This artwork was made possible by a donation from Christen Sveaas and unveiled in 2010. It quickly has become an Oslo landmark.

Kirsten Flagstads Plass 1, 0150 Oslo, Norway
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3 Runner on Opera House Ramp in Oslo, Norway

The architect firm Snøhetta designed the Oslo Opera House with enormous white stone ramps that provide magnificent views of the Oslofjord from both inside and out. They are also a favorite with athletes who get an incredible workout by running up and down the steep walkways. The woman who is barely seen at the top had just completed her third round trip and, amazingly, barely seemed out of breath.

Kirsten Flagstads Plass 1, 0150 Oslo, Norway
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4 Lady Ellen Sailing Yacht in Oslo, Norway

Lady Ellen is a triple-masted, Swedish luxury yacht that was launched in 1982. She is 179 feet long and was designed by Lars Johansson. Currently, this beautiful schooner is available as a charter for special events and sailing exhibitions. She is moored in front of the “Pink Palace in Bjørvika,” a nickname given to the Havnelageret. When it was constructed in 1921 to accommodate trade in the commercial harbor, it was Europe’s largest concrete building. Today it is the headquarters of Dagbladet, a large tabloid newspaper plus an agency that manages military real estate and the Norwegian Intelligence Service’s achieves.

Havnepromenaden Infopunkt 10 Langkaia 1, 0150 Oslo, Norway
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5 Cruise Ship in Port in Oslo, Norway

Approximately 250,000 people a year arrive in Oslo, Norway by cruise ship. They dock along one of four piers. Most of them are a short walk to begin your day of sightseeing. However, Revierkaia, which is shown here with the docked Holland America Line’s MS Eurodam, is the closet pier to Sentrum or city center. Oslo also hosts about three million hotel nights a year.

Langkaia 1, 0150 Oslo, Norway
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6 Fountain at Christian Frederiks Plass in Oslo, Norway

This statue called “Sun and Earth” by Ørnulf Bast has stood on top a fountain in Christian Frederiks plass since 1986. Historically, this location was the garden of Paléet, a former royal residence that was constructed in 1745 and destroyed by fire in 1942. In 1914, the square was named after Christian Frederick. He was the King of Norway for less than five months in 1814 when Norway declared their short-lived independence from Denmark. He then transferred his power to the Storting (Norway’s new parliament) who in turn negotiated a union with Sweden and elected Charles XIII of Sweden as their new king. Christian Frederick returned to Denmark and later became the Danish King Christian VIII from 1839 until 1848.

Christian Frederiks plass Chr. Frederiks plass 2, 0154 Oslo, Norway
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7 Østbanehallen Old Railway Station in Oslo, Norway

Oslo’s Central Station (Oslo Sentralstasjon) was built in 1987 next to the old East Station. Rather than tear down the 1880s Østbanehallen railway hall, it was completely renovated and then reopened in 2015 as a spectacular mall filled with shops and restaurants. Østbanehallen, which the locals are already referring to as “Ø,” also features the Comfort Hotel Grand Central Oslo. Most of its 170 rooms are uniquely decorated with bold graphics by artist Ariel McMillion. After the hotel opened in 2012, its focus on an exciting décor, friendly service, lots of amenities and moderate prices earned it high accolades by reviewers and guests. For a special treat, grab a bite to eat on this terrace of the Brazzerie French and Italian restaurant. It is housed in the old railway station’s ticket office.

Østbanehallen, Jernbanetorget 1, 0154 Oslo, Norway
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8 Clock Tower at Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

This copper clock tower that now graces the pier at Aker Brygge stood on top of the Verkstedhallen building from 1949 until 1982. It signaled employees at the Akers Mekaniske Verksted shipyard when they had three minutes left before the end of their break. If they reported back to work even one minute late, they were docked for fifteen minutes pay.

Clock on Aker Brygge Dock 0250 Oslo, Norway
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9 Woman Buying Fresh Shrimp at Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

Norway is host to about five million foreign visitors a year and most of them come to see its coastal fjords and city landmarks. What they often overlook is the country’s other attributes such as their strong economy. Norway has the world’s fourth highest gross domestic product per capita and the highest standard of living. They are also the second-largest exporter of seafood. This leads to the little qualities of life such as this Norwegian woman purchasing a sack of fresh shrimp from a local fisherman.

Pipervika Rådhusbrygge 4, 0160 Oslo, Norway
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10 Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo, Norway

This wedged-shaped building is a bold hint of what is inside: the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. This dramatic structure, which was designed by Renzo Piano, opened in the Tjuvholmen area of Oslo in 2012. The musset was founded in 1993 by two philanthropic organizations. The benefactor for the Astrup Foundation is Hans Rasmus Astrup who is a billionaire and major art collector. The Thomas Fearnley Foundation was established by a successful shipping family. The museum exhibits artwork from the 1960s through to contemporary artists.

Strandpromenaden 2 0252 Oslo, Norway
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11 Peace Wall Mare Nostrum Mural in Oslo, Norway

During the construction of the new National Museum, a 200 foot surrounding safety wall was converted into a canvas for public art by the Nobel Peace Center. Appropriately it was called the Peace Wall. This mural is a detail of art called Mare Nostrum – Our Ocean. It was painted in June of 2015 by Torunn Skjelland and Vigdis Fjellheim and remained on display until April of 2016.

Nobels Fredssenter, Brynjulf Bulls Plass 1, 0250 Oslo, Norway
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12 Inner Courtyard at Akershus Fortress in Oslo, Norway

The Akershus Fortress complex consists of 21 buildings but the most interesting and oldest area is the inner Medieval castle. It is reached by walking over a drawbridge to a large stone bastion, through a gate and into this inner courtyard. The first thing I noticed was the coat of arms. The lion in the center was first used by King Magnus VI who died in 1280, twenty years before the fortress was built. The paws holding an ax represent Saint Olaf and signify the king’s rightful heir to the throne. This combination is still used by Norway’s monarch and the state. On either side is a lion rampart guardant. A similar heraldry image was used by King Charles III John in the early 19th century while he was the King of Sweden and Norway.

Akershus Castle Church 0150 Oslo, Norway
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13 Tapestry from Hall of Christian IV at Akershus Fortress of in Oslo, Norway

Three tapestries hang on the north wall of the Hall of Christian IV at Akershus Castle. They represent scenes of a Spanish Riding School in Vienna. These large, gorgeous pieces of artwork were originally crafted in Brussels during the mid-17th century. If my memory serves me correctly they were presented to a member of the royal family as a wedding gift. This tapestry is the only original. A castle representative called it “Tjøha.”

Akershus Castle Church 0150 Oslo, Norway
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14 Norway’s Resistance Museum in Oslo, Norway

At the onset of World War II, Norway declared its neutrality. Despite this, the country was attacked by Germany in April of 1940. After two months of military skirmishes, the Norwegians succumbed to occupation. In response, some citizens and most of the government leaders escaped, as many as 15,000 joined the Nazi military ranks while others chose to continue fighting in clandestine ways. The Norway’s Resistance Museum tells the stories of these underground forces from 1940 until the country was liberated in 1945. The Norges Hjemmefrontmuseum was established in 1966 on the grounds of the Akershus Fortress.

Akershus Festning, 0015 Oslo, Norway
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15 Monolith Tower Close Up at Frogner Park in Oslo, Norway

The Monolith tower is the centerpiece of Frogner Park. It consists of 121 intertwined naked people ranging in age from an old man to a newborn. Apparently it symbolizes human’s universal desire to be closer to each other and the divine spirit. The monument was designed by Gustav Vigeland in 1924. Then, starting in 1929, it took three carvers 14 years to sculpt all of the figures from the 46 foot tall solid piece of granite.

Monolitten 0268 Oslo, Norway
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16 Woman Dancing and Pulling Hair Statue at Frogner Park in Oslo, Norway

This woman dancing while pulling her long hair is just one of the sculptures you will see at the Vigelandsanlegget or Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement in Frogner Park. Artist Gustav Vigeland created 212 statues of naked men, women, children and even infants. Several are in everyday positions like walking, most are interacting in various activities while some border on the bizarre like a man juggling babies. Admission to this outdoor exhibition is free. The park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Oslo.

Skulptuuripark 0268 Oslo, Norway
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17 Boy Sitting Backwards on Granite Sculpture at Frogner Park in Oslo, Norway

This little boy is sitting backwards on the head of one of 36 granite sculptures located on the Monolith Plateau that encircles the tall Monolith tower. The figures represent the circle of life. This young man would fit right in with the other 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland at Foger Park except, of course, he has his clothes on.

Monolitten 0268 Oslo, Norway
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18 Peleet Shopping Center in Oslo, Norway

Two highlights for many tourists are shopping and eating. You will find plenty of both at Peleet. The mall is named after a former royal palace in Oslo. Inside is a shopping center with over 30 stores catering to high-end tastes. Outside are sidewalk restaurant tables. They are an ideal perch for people watching along Karl Johans gate, the city’s major pedestrian boulevard. Peleet offers a very modern experience because it reopened in 2014 after an extensive renovation. But the façades are very old. The white one on the left was built in 1869. Next door was constructed in 1844.

Karl Johans gate 37 - 43, 0162 Oslo, Norway
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19 Storting Plenary Chamber in Oslo, Norway

Behind the yellow brick walls of this semicircular structure is the Plenary Chamber where the 169 members of Norway’s legislative body conduct their meetings. Eight political parties are represented in the Storting parliament. The Stortingsbygingen, called the Parliament of Norway Building in English, has been the home to the country’s government since it was built in 1866 except for a few years when it was occupied by German forces during World War II.

Karl Johans gate 22, 0026 Oslo, Norway
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20 Wenche Foss Statue in Oslo, Norway

This bronze statue celebrates the illustrious 76 year career of Norwegian actress Wenche Foss. She started in an operetta in 1935 and became famous for almost continuous performances in TV shows, movies and theater until shortly before her death in 2011 at the age of 93. She was also an activist for gay rights and a humanitarian for people with disabilities and cancer. This bronze tribute by artist Per Ung was unveiled in 2007 at Johanne Dybwad Square while the actress and queen were in attendance.

Studenterlunden Park Johanne Dybwads plass, 0161 Oslo, Norway
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21 Relief Carving Inside Pediment of National Theater in Oslo, Norway

I enjoy studying classic buildings to learn their history and meaning. A good example is the National Theater in Oslo. I looked beyond the Ionic columns towards the relief inside the pediment. The carving shows armed soldiers chaining a Norse woman. I suspect this is a scene from the play “The Vikings at Helgeland.” The 10th century plot begins when Dagny, the daughter of Icelandic chieftain Ørnulf, is abducted by a Sea-king named Sigurd the Strong. It ends with the deaths of her seven brothers who try to rescue her. The tragedy was written by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen in 1857.

Johanne Dybwads plass 1, 0161 Oslo, Norway
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22 Playwright Henrik Ibsen Statue in Oslo, Norway

Henrik Ibsen is a famous 19th century Norwegian playwright who has been called the father of realism and modern drama. His plays are only second to William Shakespeare in terms of the most staged productions around the world. This statue by Stephan Sinding has stood outside the National Theater since it was built in 1899. On opening night, the author and his wife Suzannah sat in the front row. The couple’s last home is nearby and known as The Ibsen Museum. In the background is the Theatercaféen. Also called the Annex, this Vienna-styled café is part of the 5-star Hotel Continental which was built in 1900.

Johanne Dybwads plass 1, 0161 Oslo, Norway
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23 Oslo Cathedral Clock Tower in Oslo, Norway

The Oslo Cathedral was consecrated in 1697 and then extensively restored in 1850. During that rebuilding, architect Alexis de Chateauneuf specified the addition of this bronze clock tower which is designed in neo-gothic style. Inside the church you will find a 1748 altar, an exquisite painted ceiling, stained-glass windows by Emanuel Vigeland, bronze doors by Dagfin Werenskiold and an 18th century, five-story organ.

Karl Johans gate 11, 0154 Oslo, Norway
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24 Christian IV Pointing Towards Ground Statue Pointing in Oslo, Norway

This bronze statue by Carl Ludvig Jacobsen shows Christian IV pointing towards the ground and declaring “Here lie the city.” It recreates where the King decided to rebuild after the devastating fire of 1624. He then renamed the new city Christiania after himself. In 1877 it became Kristiania before becoming Oslo in 1925. Christian den Fjerde was the ruler of both Denmark and Norway for 59 years from 1588 until 1648. This memorial was erected in the Stortorvet square in 1880.

Kirkegata, 0155 Oslo, Norway
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25 Couples at Café Cathedral Beer Garden in Oslo, Norway

Eating at a local restaurant while traveling is usually fun but it becomes even more charming when it is set in building that is over 300 years old. A good example is the Café Cathedral, which is located inside what they call the “Kirkeristen.” It is an annex of the Oslo Cathedral. This outdoor section is part of their beer garden. It’s a perfect setting for enjoying the sunshine and a romantic meal of pizza, pasta or reindeer. And if it gets chilly, the restaurant is happy to turn on their heating lamps and offer you a cozy blanket.

Café Cathedral Dronningens gate 27, 0154 Oslo, Norway
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26 Albertine Prostitution Relief on City Hall in Oslo, Norway

Numerous statues and reliefs surrounding the Oslo City Hall portray images of legends, historic figures, and allegorical figures of mythological deities plus Norwegian citizens. Perhaps the most interesting is this artwork located near an east bay window called Albertine. The carving by Alfred Seland shows a high-society gentleman with a cane and top hat standing on a ledge next to a proper appearing woman. She is secretly holding hands with a commoner who is hiding around the corner. I assumed this represented a marital affair. It turns out the woman is a prostitute, the john is on her right and her pimp is on the left. The image is based on the novel “Albertine” by Norwegian author Christian Krohg. Within days after it was published in 1886, all copies of the book were confiscated and she was jailed. The ensuing uproar led to laws that criminalized prostitution.

Rådhusplassen 1, 0037 Oslo, Norway
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27 Dark History of Victoria Terrasse in Oslo, Norway

When the Victoria Terrasse was finished in 1890, its ornate façade with towers and a slate roof stretched over 590 feet. Inside were luxury apartments that were so fancy they were among the first residences to have electricity. In 1913, the government purchased the structure for administrative offices and a police station. Its dark history occurred during World War II when the Germans occupied Norway. In 1940, they converted Victoria Terrace into the headquarters for their Gestapo (Secret State Police) and Sicherheitsdienst (State Security for intelligence and covert operations). Until 1945, Norwegian citizens and political prisoners were jailed, interrogated and tortured here. In 1942, the British tried unsuccessfully to destroy it in an aerial bombing called the “Oslo Mosquito Raid.” The building now serves as the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Victoria Terrasse 0251 Oslo, Norway
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