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Published: August 5th 2017
Norway was once part of Denmark. From 1205 to 1814 there have been 21 wars between Denmark and Sweden and in 1814 Norway was ceded to Sweden in war reparations. Given how wealthy Norway is today that was an expensive “gift”! Norway proclaimed independence from Sweden in 1905 so it is a relatively young country.
Oslo is a small city of only 660,000 people but is growing rapidly (30% since 2000) and expects to have a population of one million within the next decade or so. It is also transforming itself into a modern city with state of the art buildings and skyscrapers. An example of this is its spectacular new opera house situated on the waterside. The architecture not only makes it visually stunning, it also a building you can walk around, in and on its roof where you can get great views of the city and surrounds. There is an interesting sculpture adjacent to the opera house and this is called “She Lies” which we are assuming refers to a shipwreck?
Our hotel was located just outside the city centre in a really nice upmarket suburb, not far from the Royal Palace and
Entrance Hall Stairway
its parkland grounds. Getting into the centre with a 10 minute tram journey.
Oslo is home to both Ibsen, the playwright, and Munch the artist who painted the world famous “the Scream”. We took another walking tour, although this only lasted 90 minutes. Our American student guide told us that Munch painted 20,000 artworks and there are 4 different versions of “the Scream”. They are currently building a brand new building that will be dedicated to his works.
By the way, our American was quite open in telling us he only came to Norway as his university degree was completely free as all education in Norway is free for everybody. I was a bit surprised that a foreign student did not have to contribute though!
The Nobel Peace prize is given each year here and there is a museum that tells the story of each recipient. There is a ceremony where the winner shows off the prize on the fourth floor balcony of the Grand Hotel to a waiting crowd below.
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