A City Profile of Oslo, Norway

Towers of Oslo's City Hall, harbor view at sunset

fotoVoyage / E+ Collection / Getty Images

Oslo (which was called Christiania in 1624-1878, and Kristiania in 1878-1924) is Norway's capital. Oslo is also the biggest city in Norway. The population of Oslo is about 545,000, however, 1.3 million live in the greater Oslo metropolitan area, and there are about 1.7 million inhabitants in the entire Oslo Fjord region. 

The city center of Oslo is centrally located and easy to find at the end of the Oslo Fjord from where the city surrounds both sides of the fjord like a horseshoe.

Transportation in Oslo

It's easy to find flights to Oslo-Gardermoen, and if you're within ​​Scandinavia already, there are several ways to get from city to city. The public transportation system in Oslo itself is quite extensive, punctual, and affordable. All public transport in Oslo operates on a common ticket system, allowing free transfer within one hour with a regular ticket.

Oslo's Location & Weather

Oslo (coordinates: 59° 56'N 10° 45'E) is found at the Oslofjord's northernmost tip. There are forty (!) islands within the city area and 343 lakes in Oslo.

Oslo includes many parks with lots of nature to see, which gives Oslo a relaxing, green appearance. Wild moose is sometimes seen in suburban areas of Oslo in winter. Oslo has a hemiboreal continental climate and the average temperatures are:

  • April - May: 4.5 to 10.8 degrees Celsius (40F to 51F)
  • June - August: 15.2 to 16.4 degrees Celsius (60F to 61.5F)
  • September - October: 6.3 to 10.8 degrees Celsius (43.3F to 51.4F)
  • November - March: 0.7 to –4.3 degrees Celsius (33F to 24F)

The city center of Oslo is situated at the end of the Oslofjord from where the city sprawls out both to the north and to the south on both sides of the fjord, which gives the city area a slight U shape. The Greater Oslo region covers a population of approximately 1.3 million at the current time and is growing at a steady rate with migrants coming from all Scandinavian countries and many countries around the world, making Oslo a true metropolis of all colors and cultures.

Although the city's population is small compared to most European capitals, it occupies a large land area covered by forests, hills, and lakes. This is definitely a destination where you cannot forget to bring your camera, no matter what time of year you are visiting.

History of Oslo, Norway

Oslo was founded circa 1050 by Harold III. In the 14th century, Oslo came under the dominance of the Hanseatic League. After a great fire in 1624, the city was rebuilt and renamed Christiania (later also Kristiania) until 1925 when the name Oslo was made official again. In World War II, Oslo fell (Apr. 9, 1940) to the Germans, and it was occupied until the surrender (May 1945) of the German forces in Norway. The neighboring industrial commune of Aker was incorporated into Oslo in 1948.