Moving to Oslo
Oslo is the capital of Norway, situated at the head of the 110-mile long Oslo Fjord. Regardless of which direction one enters Oslo from, be it air, sea or road, one will likely be struck by the profusion of nature surrounding the city. Nestled there between water, islands and forested hills, Oslo's physical layout is closely linked with its natural features.
Expats moving to Oslo will find that even in the city centre, the nearest park is never more than a few blocks away from one's accommodation. A ten-minute boat ride from the centre takes you to lovely beaches on the Oslo Fjord islands. In the winter, Oslo has hundreds of kilometres of cross-country trails within the city boundaries, in addition to eight ski centres.
In 2007, Reader's Digest ranked Oslo as number two on a list of the world's greenest, most liveable cities for expats. However, it is also consistently ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world by several studies. In 2009, The Economist magazine ranked it the world's Most Expensive City, but in the 2012 Mercer Cost of Living Survey it had moved down a few places from previous years to number 18.
Oslo is the biggest city in Norway, and its key expat destination. It has been the country's capital for more than 700 years. However, with its population at around 550,000, it is still one of the smallest capitals in Europe.
King Harald III of Norway founded Oslo around 1048. After the city 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 debate as to the meaning of the name “Oslo”.
Oslo is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental centre of Norway. The government and Parliament are located here, and at the end of Oslo's main street, Karl Johan’s Gate, you will find the Royal Palace, home to Norway’s Royal family. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. It is also an important centre for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe. Oslo's share of the national GDP is 20 per cent (2012).
In 2012, the population was estimated to be growing at a rate of just under 2 per cent annually. A large portion of this growth stems from immigration, which in turn, is changing Oslo into an increasingly cosmopolitan city. The immigrant and expat share of the population in the city now counts more than 25 per cent. 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.