Let’s start talking about Oslo and its tourist aspects with dispelling immediatey the most common myth among those who have visited it over the years: just a three-day stay in the city is not enough to understand and appreciate the value of its identity. Avoid to leave for Oslo with the same spirit with which you would visit most glittering and rich of history European capitals like Paris, London, Berlin, or the other Scandinavian capitals as Stockholm or Copenhagen.
The capital of the Kingdom of Norway, at least for the moment, for sure doesn’t stand out for the history of its monuments and its traditions, but is to be admired for its natural beauty, the multiculturalism of its inhabitants, the diversity of its neighborhoods, its simple but at the same time innovative, almost revolutionary style, able in recent years to project the city one step ahead compared to other European capitals.
OSLO IS A CITY IN GREAT CHANGE. JUST STAY AWAY FOR FEW MONTHS, SOMETIMES DAYS, AND on your return, FOR SURE, YOU WILL COME ACROSS SOMETHING NEW. TRY TO CLIMB ON THE ROOF OF THE BEAUTIFUL OPERA HOUSE OPENED IN 2008, AND YOU WILL IMMEDIATELY NOTICE THE GREAT WORK OF RESTYLING AND REDEVELOPMENT IN ACT FOR OVER TEN YEARS.
The first time I visited the city in March of 2011, in occasion of my thirtieth birthday in the company of my girlfriend Mar’yana. During our classic three-day stay, there were many times when I thought of what could be the main reason for travel to a capital city so poor, especially when compared to previous stays in the fascinating and extremely enjoyable Stockholm. The neighborhood Bjørvika distinguished by its Barcode was yet a skeleton, the Tjuvholmen area with the important Astrup Fearnley Museum, designed by Renzo Piano, was being literally glued to the old harbor of Aker Brygge. The rehabilitation of the former industrial area along the Akerselva river was proceeding with the realization of Vulkan, one of the most environmentally friendly and cutting-edge places in the city. Walking along the streets of Oslo at that time meant to zig zag between works in progress, constructions, bulldozers and workers everywhere.
But it was the day we were leaving when Mar’yana and I perceived the same feeling of nostalgia leaving the city that had not certainly surprised us with the special effects of other European capitals, but we were conquered by its positive energy, its innovative strength, its true diversity.
Until few years ago you could say that Oslo was a plain Scandinavian capital made of oil and little else. Now things have to be reviewed. Having emerged unharmed from the global crisis of 2008, Oslo is now the city with the fastest growth rates of population in Europe (over 2% a year), the construction of new buildings and dwellings, creation of new startups and the great desire to improve every day. With recognizable Viking roots, traditionalist without exceeding, far too tolerant, free and transparent, intelligent to understand before the others that wealth based only on oil can become too risky. Just read the local newspapers to understand with what passion citizens, journalists and politicians love to participate in debates about the city, to propose new projects, to share opinions and solutions projected to guarantee to future generations an even higher welfare than the current one.
With 100,000 new dwelings to be built over the next decade it is understandable why Oslo is considered the best city in the world for young architects in search of work. The city decided to rebuild the look and to turn into a small metropolis of design, destination of art, culture and business. New museums, theaters, concert halls, hotels, convention centers, squares, parks and the opportunity to practice a multitude of outdoor activities in the sea as in a hill, make of Oslo a human scale capital, at the same time unable to bother and always ready to surprise its inhabitants and visitors. High living cost but proportionate salaries, Scandinavian welfare and inherent love for nature complete the picture of the city.
To put it in the manner of Elise By Olsen, fifteen years old blogger, international superstar that from 8 to 15 goes to school and for the rest of the time is committed to directing her online magazine Recens: «Before Oslo was a boring city, only fish and oil. But not anymore»!