During my time in Amsterdam, I have been lucky enough to visit many countries, but one place which particularly took an interest to me was Norway. I have always been curious about Scandinavian culture and lifestyle. I have been to various European countries but Norway was nothing like I was expecting.
Oslo is truly a place for those with an eye for design and architecture, the city is made up of different islands and districts all based around beautiful mountainous landscapes.
One of the truly unique parts of Oslo is its many islands just minutes from the city centre harbour. Just like the ferries behind Amsterdam Centraal you can easily hop on/off the boats and island hop around the Oslo Fjord. Oslo has nine different islands which are accessible to the public, they are a completely different world to the bustling city centre. The islands I was lucky enough to see were Hovedøya, Gressholmen, Langøyene, Lindøya, and Nakholmen. Each one specializing in its own natural beauty. Hovedøya is one of the most popular islands being famous for its historic ruins and woodland walks. Langøyene is known for its long beaches and peaceful views. Gressholmen, Lindøya and Nakholmen are more private, these islands are filled with colourful holiday cabins and private harbours. This landscape is nothing like I’ve ever seen whilst I was here it was a beautiful day, there was not a cloud in the sky — yet there was no people. This tranquil atmosphere and idyllic wooden cabins made me feel I was walking through a film set.
The architecture on these islands is indescribable, each house is surrounded by paths taking you on a journey throughout the cabins and trees. The houses are simple, made just from wood with simple square windows. This type of architecture is unlike anything I’ve seen before. They also range in three colours red, yellow and green making a unique sight from a distance.
Oslo city centre is a blended mix of modern and old architecture, on one side of the harbour you have newly built art galleries and on the other a Viking fortress. Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen are two architectural highlights of the city centre. Aker Brygge is a strip of restaurants along the harbour, the buildings rise into the sky with rooftop gardens and glass corridors, they are eco-friendly — built to outlive all weather types and they are stylish, black and dark minimal colours are used in a simple colour palette to highlight the different shapes used within the building.
At the end of the modern Aker Brygge is the famous Oslo city hall and Nobel Peace Centre — these buildings look as if they have jumped into the future from the 1970s highlighting, even more, the contrast between the old and new architecture.
Tjuvholmen is one of Oslo’s newest urban areas based at the end of Aker Brygge, home to a shiny new modern art gallery and urban beach this area is built for the modern day man. Similar to Canary Wharf this area is filled with huge glass office buildings, wooden edgy bridges, and fountains. These buildings are built around small canals each filled with luxury boats. At nighttime the whole area is lit up in different ways to make people feel safe while still conserving energy for the environment.
Olso West is another district with a completely different environment. This area is more for the wealthy as it is filled with luxurious houses, apartment buildings and high-end shops. The houses are elegant with lots of small features such as carving on the windowsills or extra decoration on the balcony.
The streets are filled with vintage cars, flower beds, and picturesque street lights — to live in a suburb like this would be a beautiful sight every day.
These houses are a Norwegian blend of Georgian and Victorian housing. The different types of stone used on these buildings also makes for a stand out impact.
Grünerløkka is another district just outside of the city centre. This district is one of Oslo’s hippest areas, indie boutiques and local restaurants line the streets. The squares have markets selling products from local farms and vintage clothing — the atmosphere is a world away from the touristy city centre. The streets are full of energy with buskers and street vendors, this area is mainly colourful apartment blocks. Bright street art and industrial buildings draw crowds of unique people. This area reminded me of ‘De Pijp’ with its indie atmosphere and quirky vibes. The buildings reflect the personality of the young people who mainly live in this area. Each street is a unique find.
Oslo is a city that I will never forget, to have so many different types of architecture and landscapes in one place is inspiring. Norway is nothing like the winter stereotype I expected it to be. For anyone thinking of going exploring in a completely different atmosphere give Oslo a go!