How Dark is Oslo in Winter?

How many hours of light are there in Oslo in winter?  Is it true that in winter it’s always dark? These are some of the most frequent questions that foreigners ask because they obviously do not consider that Norway is a country which stretches for over 1752 km, and that Oslo is just 300 km from the southernmost geographical point of the country. Anyway, if we want to answer these questions we have to start with what is scientific.

This year (2016), Winter Solstice and consequently the shortest day of the year will be on 21th of December, day when in Oslo the sun will rise at 9:18 and sunset will be at 15:11, enlightening the city for 5 hours and 52 minutes. Unlike Tromsø, for example, the town of the Northern Lights, where from the end of November and for over a month we cannot talk about sunrise or sunset, but just about polar night. As you can already see, we are talking about the same country but with two completely different life’s conditions.

However, the position of the sun always close to the horizon, is the big difference that I have noticed during my first Norwegian winter here in Oslo. A kind of sun that is very warm compared to cold winter temperatures but which can give us beautiful contrasts of light on buildings, on the streets, in the nature with the perpetual feeling of sunrise and sunset that it offers during the day to the residents of the city.

Anyway, I believe that the perception of low light here in Oslo, three hours less than in Milan, depends very much on the personal mood in combination with habits and daily lifestyle. For example, if in Italy in December you are used to get up before 8.30am, you must know that in Oslo, at the same time it feels like getting up few hours before. That is to say that here most of the businesses open around 10 am. In addition, if you are one of the lucky ones, the office hours will start at the same time. The situation is different for all those people who start to work between 7 and 9am.

It ‘also true that during sunny days you can enjoy more hours of light, no matter when official sunrise and sunset are, instead in rainy conditions, snow, bad weather, the perception of light will be lower. But this, in winter time, happens everywhere. Not only in Oslo.