Oslo, Norway, the national capital. It is Norway's largest city and chief seaport, and the commercial, industrial, and cultural center of the country. Oslo is on the Aker River at the northern end of Oslo Fjord in southeastern Norway. Behind it rise high, pine-covered hills.
Oslo is the home port for much of Norway's large merchant marine; its harbor is ice-free all year. Shipbuilding, ship repairing, and other maritime industries are important. Many consumer and industrial goods are also produced.
Near the waterfront is the modern city hall, opened in 1950 to commemorate Oslo's 900th anniversary. Not far away is Karl Johans Gate, the main street. At its western end, set in a park, is the royal palace. Along or near the street are the University of Oslo, National Theater, National Art Museum, and Storting (parliament) building. Near the eastern end of Karl Johans Gate is Oslo Cathedral, adjoining the market place. On a peninsula in the harbor is Akershus Castle, built in 1300 as a fortress. It later became a royal palace. It is now a national shrine.
Frogner Park is an outdoor museum in which Gustaf Vigeland created a sculptural world of human and animal figures. Near the city is Holmenkollen Ski Jump. The Norwegian Folk Museum has 150 old wooden buildings brought from all parts of Norway. Exhibits in other museums include ninth-century Viking ships; the polar exploration ship Fram, used by Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen; and Thor Heyerdahl's raft Kon-Tiki.
Oslo was founded in 1050 by King Harald III. In 1624, after most of the city had been accidentally burned, Christian IV of Denmark and Norway founded a new city, named Christiania for himself. The city became the seat of the Norwegian assembly in 1814 and became the national capital when Norway became fully independent in 1905. In 1925 the old name of Oslo was restored. The city was under German occupation during most of World War II.