Why You'll Want to Explore All That's New on Oslo’s Waterfront
Oslo’s ultra-cool new airport and the coffee culture are two reasons why Travel + Leisure named the Norwegian capital one of the Best Places to Travel in 2017.
And there’s plenty of development happening this year, particularly along the city’s waterfront. Each new building is transforming the city by embracing sleek Scandinavian design and bringing an infusion of energy to the neighborhood.
The revitalization started nearly two decades ago with the approval of the Fjord City project, or Fjordbyen, by the Oslo City Council. The plan outlined development projects from the western neighborhood of Frognerkilen to the eastern neighborhood of Sydhavna — a stretch of more than seven miles along the water.
Since then, many of the major design projects like the Oslo Opera House and Astrup Fearnley Museum have been completed, but there are still quite a few in the works. Here are the highlights as well as what’s coming soon.
Sørenga Harbor Pool
In 2015, a new floating park opened in the Bjørvika neighborhood, and while the size is impressive — it covers five acres — the real draws are the seawater pools and beach. Revelers spend the day lounging on the built-in furniture, wading in the water, or getting their workout in at the competitive outdoor pool. The facilities are open all year, so if you’re brave enough, you can enjoy a cold-water dip in the winter.
Astrup Fearnley Museum
Located on Tjuvholmen Island, the Astrup Fearnley Museum is a must-visit for any contemporary art lover. The collection includes works by young artists from around the world and is considered one of the best in Northern Europe. Additionally, the building is a work of art itself. The structure was designed by Renzo Piano and comprises three pavilions connected by one roof.
Oslo Opera House
One of the most striking additions to the waterfront is the city’s opera house. Completed in 2007, the white marble and granite complex appears to be jutting out of the water and offers panoramic views from its roof. Visitors are encouraged to scale the building’s exterior stairs and rest on its slanted walls for unique perspectives of the city and the surrounding fjord.
Salt, an art project situated between the Oslo Opera House and the Vippetangen Port, consists of multiple wood structures and hosts concerts, talks, and various other projects throughout the week. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a bite to eat at the Boat House, a café and bar that’s also equipped with a wood-burning sauna.
Scheduled to open in the spring of 2017, this multipurpose public space is located at Vippetangen. Once complete, Vippa will include a bakery, brewery, food hall, and stage.
Across the street from the opera house, you’ll find a collection of buildings known as the Barcode Project. The multi-purpose high-rises were a conscious move away from the traditional low-rise skyline of the city and have been a topic of debate since they were completed in 2014. Wander through the various restaurants, shops, and galleries that are housed there.
This pedestrian bridge crosses the city’s main train tracks to connect Grønland and Bjørvika. It offers great views of the new Barcode complex, and the steel and glass design is illuminated in color at night. In other words, it’s very Instagram-worthy.
This walkway connects most of the development along the waterfront. The five-mile stretch is dotted with orange towers to direct you to nearby sites and attractions. The paved promenade is the ideal (and most accessible) way to navigate the city’s shore.
Oslo’s public library is getting a new main branch, and the renderings look incredible. Slated to open in 2018, the building will include a movie theater, restaurant, gaming zones, and more.
Norway is getting a new National Museum, but it won’t arrive until 2020. The space will take select collections from the National Gallery, Museum of Decorative Arts & Design and the National Museum of Contemporary Art so the city’s design and art can be on display together. In the meantime, if you make it to the Oslo before opening day, you can learn more about the project at a small information center at the site.
Edvard Munch is one of Norway’s most famous painters, and the current museum dedicated to his work just isn’t cutting it for Norwegians. The city council approved plans for this new building dedicated to the artist in 2008. The 12-story structure has been controversial due to its large size and was put on hold for some time. Now, construction is scheduled to be complete in 2020. The space will include Munch’s 28,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, and sketches that were willed to the city after his death.