Europe / Norway

Oslo

Between the Oslofjord and the forests of Marka lies the Norwegian capital. Explore the combination of city life and easy access to the great outdoors. Embrace the cold: The world's winter capital offers great choices for outdoor fun.

Oslo is a municipality, and the capital and most populous city of Norway. As a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt), it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved during the reign of King Christian IV. It was rebuilt closer to Akershus Castle, and renamed Christiania in his honour (also spelled Kristiania in the late 1800s). In 1925, twenty years after the dissolution of personal union between Norway and Sweden, the city reclaimed its original Norwegian name, Oslo. The diocese of Oslo is one of the five original dioceses in Norway, which originated around the year 1070.

Oslo is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental centre of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. It is an important centre for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe. The city is home to many companies within the maritime sector, some of which are amongst the world's largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers. Oslo is a pilot city of the Council of Europe and the European Commission intercultural cities programme.

Oslo is considered a global city and ranked "Beta World City" in studies performed by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network in 2008. For several years, Oslo has been listed as one of the most expensive cities in the world along with such other global cities, as Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, Paris, and Tokyo. In 2009, however, Oslo regained its status as the world's most expensive city. A survey conducted by ECA International in 2011 placed Oslo 2nd after Tokyo.

As of 2010 the metropolitan area of Oslo has a population of 1,442,318, of whom 912,046 live in the contiguous conurbation. The population currently increases at record rates, making it the fastest growing city in Europe. This growth stems for the most part from immigration but also from high birth rates and national migration. The Norwegian population in the city is not decreasing in absolute numbers, but in relative terms the pecentage of native Norwegians of the total population in the city proper is decreasing due to a growing immigrant population and thus a growing total population.  The immigrant share of the population in the city proper now counts more than 25% of the city's total.

Oslo has a humid continental climate (Dfb according to the Köppen climate classification system). Because of the city's northern latitude, daylight varies greatly, from more than 18 hours in midsummer, when it never gets completely dark at night, to around 6 hours in midwinter.[citation needed] Despite its northerly location, the climate is relatively mild throughout the year because of the Gulf Stream.

Oslo has pleasantly mild to warm summers with average high temperatures of 20–22 °C (68–72 °F) and lows of around 12 °C (54 °F). Temperatures exceed 25 °C (77 °F) quite often, and heatwaves are common during the summer. The highest temperature ever recorded was 35 °C (95 °F) on 21 July 1901. Due to the fjord being a relatively enclosed body of water, the water temperatures can get quite high during long warm periods. Winters are cold and snowy with temperatures between -7 °C (19 °F) up to -1 °C (30 °F). The coldest temperature recorded is -27.1 °C (-16.8 °F) in January 1942. Temperatures have tended to be higher in recent years.

Annual precipitation is 763 millimetres (30.0 in) with moderate rainfall throughout the year. Snowfall can occur from November to April, but snow accumulation occurs mainly from January through March. Almost every winter, ice develops in the innermost parts of the Oslofjord, and during some winters the whole inner fjord freezes. As it is far from the mild Atlantic water of the west coast, this large fjord can freeze over completely, although this has become rare. Even for its latitude, Oslo is outstandingly cloudy, receiving a diminutive average of 1,668 hours of bright sunshine annually. Of the 4,456 possible sunshine hours that could be received annually, Oslo receives only 1,668 (37%) of that total.

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