- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Oslo Guide (PDF)
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is situated at the head of the 110-mile (177km) long Oslo Fjord. Regardless of which direction it is entered from, whether by air, sea or road, expats will likely be struck by the profusion of nature surrounding the city. Nestled between water, islands and forested hills, Oslo's physical layout is closely linked with its natural features, and the city's surrounding scenery is simply breathtaking.
Expats moving to Oslo will discover that, even in the city centre, the nearest park is never more than a few blocks away from their accommodation. There is so much to do see and do here. A mere 10-minute boat ride from Oslo's main hub, lovely beaches await on the Oslo Fjord islands. In winter, the city has hundreds of miles of cross-country trails within its boundaries, in addition to eight ski centres.
Oslo is the biggest city in Norway and has been the Norwegian capital for 700 years. King Harald III of Norway founded the city around 1048. After it was destroyed by a fire in 1624, the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV rebuilt the city as Christiania (briefly also spelt Kristiania). In 1925, the original name Oslo was restored by law, a decision that caused much debate at the time. Even now, there is much disagreement as to the meaning of the name 'Oslo'.
The city is the cultural, scientific, economic and administrative centre of Norway and contributes almost a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. The government and parliament are located here, and at the end of Oslo's main street, Karl Johan’s Gate, is the Royal Palace, home to Norway’s royal family. The city is also a hub for Norwegian trade, banking and industry, as well as being an important centre for maritime industries and trade in Europe.
Oslo is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world, but the city's relatively high cost of living is balanced by high salaries, and the high quality of life enjoyed by its residents. Its public transport is excellent and there's very little reason to own a car in Oslo.
For several years Oslo's population of around 650,000 has been growing at an annual rate of around two percent. A large portion of this growth stems from immigration, which in turn, is changing it into an increasingly cosmopolitan city. The immigrant and expat share of the population in the city now stands at more than 25 percent.
The largest groups of immigrants are Pakistanis, Chileans, Somalis and Swedes, while large numbers of British and American expats work here, primarily in the oil, gas and shipping industries.
Expats who make the move to this stunning city often stay far longer than originally anticipated, and with its stunning vistas, myriad things to do and highly efficient welfare system, it's no wonder why.