As well as the largest city in Norway, Oslo is also the cultural, economic and governmental centre. It became capital city in 1814 when Norway gained its independence from Denmark and as one of Europe’s maritime centres, is home to nearly a 1,000 companies and 8,500 employees in this sector alone.


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Oslo Berlitz Pocket Guide

With a city population of around 575,000 it is the fastest growing capital city in Scandinavia and one of the fastest growing in Europe as a whole.

The city covers some 454 square kilometers of which 242 are forests which gives the city a very green appearance. So much so that it is not uncommon to see a wild moose in urban areas especially in winter. The city that sprouted up where the River Lo (now called Alnaelva) meets the Bjørvika is one of the explanations for the city’s medieval name of Aslo which later became Oslo (with Oslo meaning river mouth.) When fire destroyed much of the older areas of the city in the 17th century the it was moved westwards to be nearer the Akershus fortress and was renamed in honour of King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway to be called Christiania. Amid much debate, the city was renamed Oslo in the 1920s and the original old town of Oslo became Gamlebyen.


"Like the UK, the country is a constitutional monarchy and the current monarch is Harald V who took the throne in 1991. The Norwegian monarchy can trace its line all the way back to Harald Fairhair in the 9th century. Harald V is also the head of the Church of Norway and Norwegian Armed Forces."