Article updated on October 21, 2021
Text: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen
Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen
Oslo has developed an important cultural scene with museums celebrating Norwegian bravest explorers, world famous artists, and simple citizens. Know what to expect and prepare your trip to the Norwegian capital!
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1. The national gallery
The rather compact national museum showcases a wide array of styles and is the perfect place to get up close and personal with Norwegian artists, such as Munch (the famous Scream is on show there), Gude and his landscapes, Tidemand and his paintings of his contemporaries or Johan Christian Dahl who give us an idea of life in the Norwegian countryside roughly one century ago.
2. The Munch Museum
A must-visit for the fans of the most influential Norwegian artist. This museum is so inspiring that we dedicated a separate article to it that you can read right here. Be sure to plan some hours to take Munch’s moving art in.
3. The Astrup Fearnley Museum
This private museum showcases international contemporary art pushing the boundaries of the canon located at the tip of the Tjuvholmen peninsula. Expect to get out of your comfort zone! And if the art exhibited is not your sweet spot, admire the building designed by Renzo Piano: a landmark of Oslo!
4. The Kon Tiki Museum
The Kon Tiki Museum celebrates one of the most daring expeditions of the 20th century. See the raft on which Thor Heyerdahl and his team crossed 8,000 kilometres through the Pacific Ocean with no external support!
5. The Ski Museum
See the artefacts used by Amundsen to reach the South Pole in his deadly race against Scott at the Ski Museum. This is the only museum in the world that displays the history of skiing in-depth and above that, your will have a magnificent view from the top of the Olympic Ski Jump over Oslo. Read more about it in this article.
6. The Fram Museum
Step onboard of the Fram, the strongest wooden boat ever built-in order to resist to the ice and drift by the Poles. Experience life aboard in this interactive museum that you will reach by ferry.
7. The Viking Museum
Celebrate the very first Norwegian explorers by admiring world’s best preserved Viking ships! Discovered and excavated only in the mid-19th century, these vessels date back to before the 11th century and are in displayed in an excellent way.
8. The Folk Museum
This open-air museum is great to enjoy a bucolic stroll amongst traditional houses from different Norwegian provinces. Dismantled and rebuilt, buildings from the 1500s and even the famous Gol Stave Church dating back to 1200 come alive along with Norwegian folk costumes, folk art, church art and Sami culture.
The Gol Stave Church is particularly impressive. In the Middle Ages, when Norway became a Christian country, former Vikings-turn-Christians built immense cathedrals and churches to honour the new religion, all made entirely from wood. At one point, between 1,000 and 2,000 of these “stave” churches existed throughout Norway. Today, only 28 historical stave churches remain, many of which feature elaborate carvings that mix Christian and Viking symbols.
9. The Nobel Peace Centre
In the city where the Nobel Peace is rewarded every year (the others are given in Stockholm), the Nobel Peace Centre emphasizes the awarded project of the year. In 2017, ICAN (the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their effort to “ban the bomb” and the Centre houses a confronting photo exhibit with personal belongings of survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
10. The Norwegian Maritime Museum
Arriving by ferry, the location and architecture of the Norwegian Maritime Museum, surely makes you feel on board of a ship. This grand museum offers different exhibitions about Norway’s relationship with the sea, (expect some excellent paintings about anything that has to do with sailing, seafaring, and Norway’s stunning coastal scenery), a unique exhibition of Norwegian traditional wooden boats, a great display of the technical conventions of transport, an interactive room for kids and an outdoor part.
- As a useful tip, the Oslo Pass provides free access to these museums as well as local transport, including ferries to some of the islands.
- Want to have access to this article while walking Oslo? Download it through GPSmyCity and avoid roaming costs while exploring the Oslo at your pace! Already have the app? Check the mobile version of this article here.
- Check out this interactive map (quick tutorial) for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area! Zoom in on the area of interest, and check out the black pins: each of them corresponds to an article.
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