Oslo on the Aker river is a city with a thousand-year history. Like most European capitals, it is the center of the economic, political and cultural life of Norway. Despite being among most expensive cities in the world, Oslo also boasts the highest quality of life in Europe. It is not surprising that about 25% of its almost 700, 000 population are migrants. The city is also in the vanguard of European environmental protection efforts, hence its well-deserved title of European Green Capital 2019. 99% of all energy produced in Norway is from hydropower. Many of Norway’s 2,000 businesses working in the renewable energy sector are headquartered in Oslo: Statkraft (European leader), Scatec Solar, Hafslund ASA, etc. Oslo has a large passenger and cargo port which handles about 60 ships daily. Overall, almost 3,000 companies have offices in Oslo, the majority of them work in gas and oil, and maritime sector. Oslo ranks second after Amsterdam for business friendliness. It has a great infrastructure, modern business centers with top-class workspaces for lease, and qualified human resources.
The Central Business District of Oslo includes such areas as Aker Brygge, Tjuvholmen, and Vika. There are mainly older office buildings here, many of which are currently being renovated. Business tenants in CBD mainly provide financial, shipping and law services. In Vika, many foreign embassies are located. Aker Brygge, with a former shipyard, was redeveloped, and now has both commercial properties for rent, shops, and restaurants. Fornebu is a suburban area in the west of Oslo. When the main Fornebu Airport was closed in 1998 (the operations were moved to Gardermoen Airport -50 km away from Oslo), the area started its transformation into an R&D and IT center. Such companies as Telenor, Statoil, Scandinavian Airlines System, Norgesgruppen, and others have headquarters here. The Fjord CityBjørvika is 700 km² of waterfront area and the new business district of Oslo. Many domestic and foreign business tenants have already rented offices there, especially in the area around Oslo Central Station. Before 2000, there was only a highway and container port here. It is still developing, and many improvements are underway, e.g. new parking facilities. According to Fjord City redevelopment plan, 30,000 people will work and live in Bjorvika after all projects are completed. One of them is the Barcode Project or the Opera Quarter, under which a row of high-rises was erected (finished in 2016). Apart from skyscrapers, Bjorvika has many culture and entertainment options. Sørenga is a neighborhood here with a beautiful green park, seawater pool, and comfortable residential properties. Bjorvika is still developing, and many improvements are underway, e.g. new parking facilities.
The Opera House in Bjorvika district is one of the city symbols. The building has 1,100 rooms and appears to be rising from the water. The medieval Akershus Fortress is another Oslo’s eye-candy. The Norwegian Capital also boasts the oldest ski museum in the world – Holmenkollen, at the base of the ski jump. Skiing originated in Norway, and one can even see exhibits from the Viking era in the museum. The other places which make Oslo one of the most visited cities in Europe are the National Museum and the Munch Museum, open-air Vigelandspark with over 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, and, without a doubt, Oslofjord with its islands, which attract many visitors, especially during summer months. Interestingly, the Nobel Peace Prize is annually awarded in Oslo City Hall. The laureates traditionally stay in the Nobel Suite of the Grand Hotel.