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Oslo is the capital of Norway, and according to The Economist, it is the most expensive city in the world (in 2006). In the 17th century, the city burnt down completely, and it was rebuilt by king Christian IV. It was then given the name Christiana (later Kristiania). The name Oslo was restored in 1924. Apart from a few wooden buildings that survived the flames, the city has a modern look with broad streets.
The city has grown tremendously. At the beginning of the 19th century, it was little more than a village with about 10,000 inhabitants. Nowadays, Oslo has a population of over half a million. The growth still continues: every year, 15,000 new inhabitants are added, making Oslo one of the fastest growing cities in Europe.
Oslo is located in the south-east of Norway, on the Oslofjord. This fjord is almost 100 kilometres long and the capital is situated at its end. Oslo is situated in an area with green hills and mountains. It is located at less that 100 kilometres' drive from the border with Sweden.
The capital of Norway is one of the wealthiest cities in Europe, with an average income double the European average. This is due to a large extent to the nation's oil and gas reserves. The service sector is very important in Oslo, and trade via the city's port also plays an important role.
In addition, the city houses many education and health care institutions.
The airport of Oslo is called Gardermoen, and it is located at 45 kilometres to the north-east of the city. It was opened in 1998, and it is one of the most punctual airports in Europe. There is a direct high-speed rail link to the airport. Budget airlines use Torp airport near Sandefjord, 115 kilometres to the south of Oslo.
Oslo has an excellent public transport system with metro's, trams, buses and ferries. There are six tram lines and five metro lines. The metro is called T-bane and it especially connects the western and eastern suburbs. You can use all these forms of public transport with one ticket, which is also valid on local trains. There are ferries to little islands in the Oslofjord and to the Bygdøy peninsula, where old Viking ships are on display.
At the stations of Oslo Bysykkel, you can rent a bike for a maximum of three hours. You can hand back the bike at any other station.
Trains in Norway are extremely punctual. From the Central Station (Sentralstasjon), trains depart for Trondheim, Bergen and Stavanger. There are international connections to Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden. You can take the ferry to Hirtshals, Frederikshavn and Copenhagen in Denmark, Kiel in Germany and Helsingborg in Sweden.
Oslo is located on a junction of motorways. The international motorways E6 (to Malmö in Sweden) and E18 (to Stockholm) connect in Oslo. When you approach the city, there is a 20 Kroner toll you have to pay. Thanks to the broad streets, driving in Oslo is easy.
In the city centre, you have to pay to park in the street (Mon-Fri from 8 am - 5 pm, Sat from 9 am - 3 pm). Outside the centre, there are also a few streets where you have to pay to park your car. In addition, there are car parks and parking areas. There is a distinction between private and municipal car parks. The municipal ones can be recognized by signs displaying a white P on a blue background. You can park your car for free in these car parks with the so-called Oslo pass, which you can also use on the city's public transport system, and which gives you access to museums.
It is not always easy to find a hotel room. We recommend booking in advance, especially during the Summer and at large events (for instance the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony). Luxury hotels are located in the city centre, budget accommodations are usually at the edge of the city.
For more information about Oslo, we recommend Google, and the following sources: