Norway is very proud of its heritage and cultural history. This is evident when you visit the country’s capital city, where you will find Oslo museums of all kinds dotted across the city. One area that is particularly famous for its museums is Bygdøy, an area located on the west side of Oslo. Visit the Bygdøy peninsula on Oslo Fjord for a day of cultural fun.
This mostly residential area is lined with embassies and mansions and is an affluent part of the city. It is a charming area to stroll around but there are also some surprises here too. On the edge of the peninsula, by the waterfront of Oslo Fjord, there are several fascinating museums, located side by side, making them easy to visit.
Norway has a great history when it comes to exploration. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Fram Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum and the Viking Ship Museum.
Why not start your nautical-themed museum trip with a ferry ride. Bydgøyfergene, the Bygdøy Passenger Boat, leaves from Pier 3 by the City Hall building, just 10 minutes’ walk from the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Oslo. This service sails visitors and locals across Oslo Fjord between the months of April to October and takes 15 minutes. As well as taking you directly to the museums, it is a great way to appreciate Oslo from a different perspective. As you sail over you can see Aker Brygge, the city’s most popular meeting place, which is situated on the promenade and pier area. Full of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes, it attracts over 12 million visitors each year, both tourists and local residents. From the passenger boat you can also enjoy views of the City Hall, the Opera House and the forest surrounding the city, Nordmarka. Nestled amongst the trees proudly stands Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Museum, another of Oslo’s major attractions.
The centrepiece of this museum is the world’s strongest wooden ship, Fram, the polar ship. The ship was built in Norway, its purpose was for polar research. In its time at sea it was used for three important expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic, famously involving Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen. Discover the incredible story and enjoy a unique opportunity to climb aboard the ship and look around the cabins, lounges, galley and engine room. Up on deck you can stand at the helm and gaze up to the sails. Let your imagination take you to sea. Can you visualise how it must have been to navigate some to the world’s toughest seas in such conditions?
The museum also displays fascinating artefacts, that have been uncovered over the years or used in exploration, including clothing, scientific instruments and medical equipment, to name a few. A number of exhibitions are themed on various exploration journeys, and there is also a northern lights show. Don’t forget to purchase your polar souvenirs before you leave.
In one of the neighbouring buildings you will find the Kon-Tiki Museum, an expedition of another kind. The story of Kon-Tiki has recently been brought back the media’s attention with the release of the 2012 film by the same name, a remake of the original film from 1950. The museum tells the story of one of the world’s most adventurous scientists, Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002). He famously sailed across the Pacific Ocean in a raft in 1947. Here you will find a fascinating exhibition with a replica vessel and artefacts from this journey. This incredible story will leave you feeling humbled.
Viking Ship Museum
Situated a few minutes away from the other two museums, the Viking Ship Museum is worth the walk. Discover two of the world’s best-preserved Viking ships. Built in the 9th century, you will have no choice to admire the ornate decoration carved in the wood, or the workmanship that went into making these vessels seaworthy. The museum unravels the story of the Vikings with exhibits uncovered from Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune, as well as from findings around Oslo Fjord. This is a compelling insight into the life of the Vikings.
If three museums in one day are not enough to suit your cultural palate, then explore Bygdøy further and you will also come across the Norwegian Maritime Museum and the Norwegian Folk Museum which showcases a magnificent 800 year old Stave Church. There artistically designed churches are made from wood and have a valuable place in the county’s architectural history. Considering Norway is a relatively small nation, it has made it into the history books on many an occasion. When you visit these museums it is easy to see why.
What museum would you most like to visit in Oslo?