Oslo Byleksikon (The Oslo City Encyclopedia), was published by the Oslo Society (Oslo Byes Vel) for the first time in 1938. Now, The Oslo Society has published a digital edition with close to 7,000 entries making its content more accessible than ever. Here we dive into the vaults of this veritable digital masterpiece and present some samples, which will be constantly evolving as Norway’s capital changes. This is a tribute to Oslo – the capital of Norway in words and images.
The Oslo Society (Oslo Byes Vel) was founded in 1811 and is an independent membership organization focusing on the capital’s urban development, urban culture and participation.
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Through cultural activities, the journal St. Hallvard and the blue plaques on dedicated building facades, the Oslo Society urges its members to become better acquainted with the capital and take an active part in its development.
The Oslo City encyclopedia
The encyclopedia includes close to 7,000 entries covering images, maps, main categories as well as sensible and searchable sub categories. Topics span the wide range of history, architecture and everyday life, from arts to sports and recreation. Each entry defines the concept, provides historical background and in some instances explains why the site is marked with blue plaques.
is the second city hall of Oslo (1734-1843) and one of its oldest preserved structures. The oldest section dates from ca. 1625-30, the year 1647 on the anchor plates of the facade may possibly refer to an extension in connection with the land commissioner Johann Garmann taking over the house that year as a private dwelling. Read more
New Munch Museum
The city council approved the removal of the Munch Museum from Tøyen to Bjørvika in 2011 after four years of political wrangling. An architectural competition held in 2009 was won by the Spanish entry Juan Herreros Arquitecto. The winning proposal ‘Lambda’, a 40-meter-high block with a lopsided section at the top, created a great deal of controversy. The new building is due to be completed in 2020.
The museum building at Tøyen will be used from 2020 onwards by National Theatre.
Oslo City Hall (Rådhuset)
Oslo City Hall (Rådhuset) is seat of the city’s central administrative bodies and a number of municipal offices, designed by the architects Arnstein Arneberg and Magnus Poulsson. The City Hall was officially opened in 1950, after a planning and construction period of approximately 30 years. Read more
Former masonic lodge
The former masonic lodge played an important role in the development of Norwegian cultural identity in the 19th century. Among the cultural figures who were active here were Edvard Grieg, Henrik Ibsen, Ole Bull, Johan Svendsen, Halfdan Kierulf and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. In the 20th century, Filharmonisk Selskaps Orkester (now: Oslo Philharmonic) held its opening concert here in 1909. Read more
Aker River (Akerselva)
The idea of making use of the banks of the Akerselva as a green belt through the city was proposed by Major Jacob Høe in 1915, as a countermove against plans to canalize and cover over sections of the river. At the opening of Sannerbrua in 1917, the municipal mayor, Carl Jeppesen, spoke these famous words: ‘May Akerselven become a broad smile and not an ugly furrow in the face of the capital.’ Read more
Image: Akershus Castle and Fortress. Photo: Bjørtvedt / Creative Commons
Akershus Castle and Fortress
The fortification was originally begun by Håkon V, probably in the 1299-1304 period, and in 1308 it was a strong fortified castle that could withstand the attacks of the Swedish Count Erik. In the medieval period, it was a large-scale fortified complex that fully met contemporary requirements. The individual functions such as ladies’ bower, servants’ hall, pantry, etc. were organized around two buildings south and north of the main tower Vågehals (Daredevil) and the smaller tower Fuglesang (Birdsong). Read more
A Tribute to Oslo – The Capital of Norway in Words and Images
“Without the dedication and hard work by the editorial council, consisting of different subject editors, the result would not have been so successful,” says a spokeswoman for the Oslo Society. The team has been working on the digitization process since the fall of 2014.
Related: The Medieval Oslo
Translation from Norwegian has also been demanding because it is time consuming as well as expensive.
“The biggest challenges ahead will be to keep the encyclopedia updated and keep the web platform up to date. We also want to add new illustrations, which will be a demanding, but fun, process,” says one of the staff members to Daily Scandinavian.
Feature image (on top): The Library of Congress Carl Johans Gade with Castle Christinia Norway LOC Wikipedia
A Tribute to Oslo – The Capital of Norway in Words and Images, compiled by Tor Kjolberg