Norway’s capital, Oslo, is located at the head of the long Oslo Fjord, surrounded by nature, culture, and history. You will find that there are parks, gardens, beautiful beaches, and cross-country rails close by, inside the city center, and in its neighboring areas. The city is the cultural, scientific, economic, and administrative center of Norway, attracting many international professionals and companies. The city has much to offer, from an exquisite food culture to amazing technological innovations!
What to expect
- From a relaxed and easy-going lifestyle to great road trips, Oslo offers a wide range of activities for everyone. Here are the main highlights of what to expect when living in Oslo.
- Summer in Oslo is nice and comfortable, and winter is snowy and cold. Some may say that the weather is too cold, however, the city is fully equipped with heating to offer the best service and living conditions.
Average daylight hours: 18 hours in summer and 6 hours in winter.
Average weather: 23º C in summer and -4º C in winter.
Average rainfall: 160 days.
Cost of living
- Oslo is ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world, but the city’s relatively high cost of living is balanced by the over-the-top quality of life that you can enjoy.
Finding an apartment
- It is more common in Norway to buy an apartment or a house rather than rent accommodation, as real estate agents that offer rented apartments mostly cater to tourists. Due to this, it can take longer, to find an apartment for rent. If you want to rent a house or apartment, you should take a look at the advertisements in newspapers and websites. There are various websites to help you find the right apartment or house that suits your needs and adapts to your lifestyle and budget. It is highly recommended to find accommodation in the suburbs rather than in the city center for its buzz and the suburbs are more affordable. Many landlords speak English, so when you find the apartment you want, don’t hesitate to contact them.
- Oslo city center is compact and much of it can be navigated by foot, however, the suburbs stretch out long, which is why the city has an extensive public transportation system. Trains, metro lines, trams, buses, and ferries are on hand to move around the city with ease. The public transport network in Oslo is famous for its reliability and punctuality, so you can get where you need to be in no time, and on time!
- Norway, and Oslo in particular, is a highly technological and innovative society, acting as a great startup hub. The working culture has plenty of opportunities in sectors of technology and a great work-life balance. The Norwegian style of work is extremely efficient and task-oriented, which allows them to enjoy more family and friends after working hours.
- Norwegians can be reserved at first, but once you get to know them, they are quite friendly and have many experiences to share. The best way to meet people is through work or shared hobbies, as well as by taking a Norwegian class, where you’ll meet people of different cultures on the same journey as you! There are many academies that teach Norwegian, which you can easily access and embark on the new adventure.
- The city is filled with museums that track Oslo’s enriching past, as well as multiple exhibitions, art galleries, theaters, restaurants, bars, and much more. Additionally, Oslo is home to many cultural festivals that you cannot miss!
- Oslo has developed immensely in the fields of art and culture, as it has excellent infrastructure, supporting artists to a large extent. Art galleries like the National Gallery, Gallery Fineart, Oslo City Hall Gallery, and many more, have become important landmarks of the city, each with their own unique features and charms. One of the most unique galleries is the Magic Ice, a place that transforms frost into art. The whole permanent exhibition is made of crystal clear ice. You even get a welcome drink served in ice glasses!
- On the museum side, Oslo counts with some attractions like the Fram Ship Museum, Holmenkollen Ski Museum, the Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Viking Ship Museum, and many more. These museums exhibit some of the most important and recognized artifacts of the country. For example, the Munch Museum is home to the masterpiece, The Scream, and a collection of works of various artists from the region.
- Aside from the art life, Oslo lights up as they celebrate different festivals to express their cultural heritage. These traditions have been carried for many years. There are regular concerts held at places like the Norsk Musikkhogskole, the Spektrum Hall, and the Ullevaal Stadium. The Holmenkollen Ski Festival is also quite popular in Oslo, being one of the largest sporting events in the city and attracts many talented skiers from the Nordic countries and from all over the world. There is also the Norwegian Wood Festival, which is a music festival that brings big names like the Foo Fighters and Nick Cave, among others. For Christmas, the city lights up completely, turning Oslo into a true winter wonderland. Concerts and musical shows are organized in the streets, as well as some Christmas Markets where you can try some of the best Nordic sweets. Like this, there are many festivals held throughout the year, like the Oslo Horse Show and the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival that offer something for everyone.
- The city is full with cinemas, theaters, and art performances. Watch some of the best dance performances in the Rockefeller Music Hall, the National Theater, or the Norwegian Theater, and more, which come a long way, filled with history and modern touches. The experience is unique and unforgettable!
- You can also hop on the train from the city center and reach beautiful beaches just 10 minutes away, where you can enjoy a relaxed day in summer. In winter, the city has hundreds of kilometers of cross-country and 8 ski centers for some adrenaline rush!
- The city has plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from for dining, a quick snack, or to grab a drink with coworkers after work. Even though Oslo is largely international, and it has countless restaurants from different cultures, the local restaurants remain loyal to their traditional dishes. Dishes like smoked salmon with a deep flavor for its slow-cooking, accompanied by brown bread spread with butter, is one of Norway’s most popular dishes. The “Smalahove”, or sheep’s head, used to represent a lower class, but now it is served across Norway during the holiday season. And if you are looking for something sweet, try the “Brunost”, it’s a cheese byproduct that Norwegians enjoy like a fine brie, which you can enjoy on a slide of bread. And last but not least, the “Cloudberries”: Norway’s forests cultivate many berries, especially during summer. These orange and pink cloudlike berries grow in the wild and are used as a topping for cream cakes and jams.
- There are strong traditions for cross-country skiing in Norway, as it has its roots in the country. Ski jumping, biathlon, and alpine skiing regularly attract large crowds nationally and internationally. The Holmenkollen ski jump, visible from miles away as it towers over Oslo, and it is also one of Norway’s most visited attractions and hosts the World Cup event every winter. Here you will also find the world’s oldest museum specialized in skiing. If you are a football enthusiast, you could visit the Valerenga football club in Oslo, which is the biggest in the city. Ice hockey, motorsports, handball, cycling, and athletics are other popular sports in the city.
- Bygdoy Peninsula: to the west of Oslo, you can easily reach the Bygdoy Peninsula via public transport or car, home to the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Norway, located in Villa Grande, and the Royal Manor, a completely operational 200-acre organic farm. The peninsula is easy to explore for a great weekend getaway from the buzz of the city!
- Lillehammer: Just a two-hour train ride from Oslo lies the city of Lillehammer. The city’s jewel is Maihaugen, an open-air museum with period homes and exhibits, and it is also home to the Norwegian Olympic Museum, which commemorates the Winter Games held in 1994. Lillehammer is home to many museums, as well as several historic homes, including the home of Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset, a famous female writer. It has a great vibrant and artistic scene, with beautiful streets and amazing restaurants. This is perfect for a day trip to learn more about Norway’s history and culture.
- TusenFryd Family Park: with more than 40 attractions, countless games, and live entertainment, the park is a fun diversion for the whole family. You can find everything here, from full speed rides like the Speedmonster Coaster to family favorites like bumper cars and log boat rides. Some of the popular attractions include Thor’s Hammer, an indoor 3D adventure, and Ragnarok, a river rafting experience. The park admission also includes the BadeFryd water park!
- The Oslo Airport, Avinor, has many international connections in Europe, Asia, and North America. The airport is easily accessible via bus and train, making it comfortable to travel from and to the airport. And, if you like to travel by land, there are many interesting neighboring cities in Norway to discover, which you can reach by train or car.
We hope that you have found this guide useful.
Find more details, information, and KPIs about Oslo in our Expat Guide.
The Fut-Ure Team will likewise be happy to help you to set up in the city if you are looking for a job in the region, or give you more information about the local Talent market (including details and advice in topics like Taxes and legal) if you are planning to open an office in Oslo.
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