Friday, July 22, 2011


Oslo, is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt), it was established on January 1, 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King Christian IV. It was rebuilt closer to Akershus fortress, as Christiania (briefly also spelt Kristiania). In 1925, the city reclaimed its original Norwegian name, Oslo. The diocese of Oslo is one of the five original dioceses in Norway, which originated around the year 1070.
Oslo is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental centre of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. It is an important centre for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe. The city is home to many companies within the maritime sector, some of which are amongst the world's largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers. Oslo is a pilot city of the Council of Europe and the European Commission intercultural cities programme.
Oslo is considered a global city and ranked "Beta World City" in studies performed by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network in 2008. For several years, Oslo has been listed as one of the most expensive cities in the world along with such other global cities, as Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, Paris, and Tokyo. In 2009, however, Oslo regained its status as the world's most expensive city. A survey conducted by ECA International in 2011 placed Oslo 2nd after Tokyo.
As of 2010, the metropolitan area of Oslo has a population of 1,442,318 of whom 912,046 live in the contiguous conurbation. The population currently increases at a record rate of 1.64% annually, making it the fastest growing city in Europe. This growth stems from immigration, as the Norwegian population in the city is decreasing. The immigrant share of the population in the city proper now counts more than 25% of the city's total.

Urban region
The population of the municipality of Oslo is 605,318 as of 1 apr. 2011. The urban area extends beyond the boundaries of the municipality into the surrounding county of Akershus, (municipalities of Bærum, Asker, Røyken, Lørenskog, Skedsmo, Gjerdrum, Sørum, Oppegård) its agglomeration total 912,046 inhabitants. The metropolitan area of Oslo, also referred to as the Greater Oslo Region (Norwegian: Stor-Osloregionen), has a land area of 8,900 km2 (3,400 sq mi) with a population of 1,422,442 as of 1 apr. 2010. The Inner Oslo Fjord Region, or the Capital Region made up by the 5 counties of Oslo, Akershus, Buskerud, Vestfold (west bank of the Oslo fjord) and Østfold (east bank) has a population of 1,908,231 people (01.10.2010). The city centre is situated at the end of the Oslofjord, from which point the city sprawls out in three distinct "corridors" from its centre; inland north-eastwards and southwards along both sides of the fjord giving the city area more or less the shape of a reclining "Y" when seen from the north. To the north and east, wide forested hills (Marka) rise above the city giving the location the shape of a giant amphitheatre. The urban municipality (bykommune) of Oslo and county of Oslo (fylke) are two parts of the same entity, making Oslo the only city in Norway where two administrative levels are integrated. Of Oslo's total area, 115 km2 (44 sq mi) is built-up and 7 km2 (2.7 sq mi) is agricultural. The open areas within the built-up zone amount to 22 km2 (8.5 sq mi).
The city of Oslo was established as a municipality on 3 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). It was separated from the county of Akershus to become a county of its own in 1842. The rural municipality of Aker was merged with Oslo on 1 January 1948 (and simultaneously transferred from Akershus county to Oslo county). Furthermore, Oslo shares several important functions with Akershus county. The neighbouring industrial commune of Aker was incorporated into Oslo in 1948.

Parks and recreation areas
Oslo has a large number of parks and green areas within the city core, as well as outside it.
Frogner Park is a large park located a few minutes walk away from the city centre. This is the biggest and most reputed park in Norway with a large collection of sculptures of Gustav Vigeland
Bygdøy is a huge and green area, commonly called the Museum Peninsula of Oslo. The beautiful location, surrounded by the sea, makes it the most expensive Norwegian district.
St. Hanshaugen Park is an old public park on a high hill in central Oslo. 'St. Hanshaugen' is also the name of the surrounding neighbourhood as well as the larger administrative district (borough) that includes major parts of central Oslo.
Tøyen Park stretches out behind the Munch Museum, and is a vast, grassy expanse. In the north, there is a viewing point known as Ola Narr. The Tøyen area also includes the Botanical Garden and Museum belonging to the University of Oslo.
Oslo (with neighbouring Sandvika-Asker) is built in a horseshoe shape on the shores of the Oslofjord and limited in most directions by hills and forests. As a result, any point within the city is relatively close to the forest. There are two major forests bordering the city: Østmarka (literally "Eastern Forest", on the eastern perimeter of the city), and the very large Nordmarka (literally "Northern Forest", stretching from the northern perimeter of the city deep into the hinterland).true
The municipality operates eight public swimming pools. Tøyenbadet is the largest indoor swimming facility in Oslo and one of the few pools in Norway offering a 50-metre main pool. The outdoor pool Frognerbadet also has the 50-metre range.

Economy of Oslo
Oslo is an important centre of maritime knowledge in Europe and is home to approximately 1980 companies and 8,500 employees within the maritime sector, some of which are the world's largest shipping companies, shipbrokers, and insurance brokers. Det Norske Veritas, headquartered at Høvik outside Oslo, is one of the three major maritime classification societies in the world, with 16.5% of the world fleet to class in its register. The city's port is the largest general cargo port in the country and its leading passenger gateway. Close to 6,000 ships dock at the Port of Oslo annually with a total of 6 million tonnes of cargo and over five million passengers. The gross domestic product of Oslo totalled NOK268.047 billion (€33.876 billion) in 2003, which amounted to 17% of the national GDP. This compares with NOK165.915 billion (€20.968 billion) in 1995. The metropolitan area, bar Moss and Drammen, contributed 25% of the national GDP in 2003 and was also responsible for more than one quarter of tax revenues. In comparison, total tax revenues from the oil and gas industry on the Norwegian Continental Shelf amounted to about 16%.
Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. As of 2006, it is ranked tenth according to the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey provided by Mercer Human Resource Consulting and first according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. The reason for this discrepancy is that the EIU omits certain factors from its final index calculation, most notably housing. Although Oslo does have the most expensive housing market in Norway, it is comparably cheaper than other cities on the list in that regard. Meanwhile, prices on goods and services remain some of the highest of any city. Oslo is hosting 2654 of the largest companies in Norway. Within the ranking of Europe's largest cities ordered by their number of companies Oslo is on position 5. A whole group of oil and gas companies is situated in Oslo. According to a report compiled by Swiss bank UBS in the month of August 2006, Oslo and London were the world's most expensive cities.

Oslo has Norway's most extensive public transport system, managed by Ruter. This includes the six-line Oslo Metro, the world's most extensive metro per resident, the six-line Oslo Tramway and the eight-line Oslo Commuter Rail. The tramway operates within the areas close to the city centre, while the metro, which runs underground through the city centre, operates to suburbs further away; this includes two lines which operate to Bærum, and the Ring Line which loops to areas north of the centre.
Oslo Central Station acts as the central hub, and offers train services to most major cities in southern Norway as well as Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden. The Airport Express Train operates along the high-speed Gardermoen Line. The Drammen Line runs under the city centre in the Oslo Tunnel. Some of the city islands and the neighbouring municipality of Nesodden are connected by ferry. Daily cruiseferry services operate to Copenhagen and Frederikshavn in Denmark, and to Kiel in Germany.
Many of the motorways pass through the downtown and other parts of the city in tunnels. The construction of the roads is partially supported through a toll ring. The major motorways through Oslo are European Route E6 and E18. There are three beltways, the innermost which are streets and the outermost, Ring 3 which is an expressway.The main airport serving Oslo is Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, located in Ullensaker, 47 kilometres (29 mi) from the city centre of Oslo. It acts as the main international gateway to Norway, and is the sixth-largest domestic airport in Europe. Gardermoen is a hub for Scandinavian Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Widerøe. Oslo is also served by two secondary airports, which serve some low-cost carriers, such as Ryanair: Moss Airport, Rygge and Sandefjord Airport, Torp, the latter being 110 kilometres (68 mi) from the city.

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