Akershus, Oslo and Østfold: The county of Akershus lies like a pincer around the Norwegian capital, Oslo. The county is divided into four main districts: Upper and Lower Romerike, Follo and Asker/Bærum. The name derives logically from the ancient Akershus fortress located inside the Oslo harbor. It was named after the medieval farm Aker, now incorporated in Oslo.
Akershus is well endowed by nature. Large farms were originally inhabited by kings, princes and other nobles. Not surprisingly, Eidsivating Court was placed in this area.
All of Norway has its own stake in the momentous event in Eidsvoll in 1814, where the National Assembly met and the country’s constitution came into being. It is therefore a dignified area, offering history as well as local national dishes.
Oslo is an old town, but as a city relatively new. In the previous century, Christiania, as Oslo was called then, had about 10,000 inhabitants. Today Oslo is approaching a million.
The large immigration from the rest of the country and from more exotic cultures has left its marks. There have been – and still are – sharp distinctions between rich and poor.
While there has been a certain social cohesion, we also today find groups in the community that fall outside the mainstream
In recent years there has emerged an interest to preserve traditions that have existed throughout history. Old traditional dishes seem to have come to honor and dignity, corresponding to the old days of urban party food. Restaurant life in Oslo is thriving today.
What makes urban food exciting is its variety – which is a natural consequence of all the people moving. People from all over the country and the world carry with them the traditions and roots that cannot easily be shed even if they are located somewhere else than where they came from.
Østfold lies with its back turned to Sweden and the continent. Therefore Østfold has played the role as the strong back when strife riled between the Nordic sister nations. Østfold also turned its face out to the world – open to impressions and impulses.
Feature image (on top) Oslo from above – Lasse Tur
Core Areas in Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg