Museums of Oslo

A collection of must-sees, including cultural spots like Thief Island and the Norsk Folkemuseum, and engineering marvels such as Viking ships, medieval fortresses, the Kon-Tiki raft, and the Holmenkollen Ski Jump...

Bygdøynesveien 36, 0286 Oslo, Norway
This museum is dedicated to Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002), who gained worldwide fame when he crossed the Pacific Ocean on Kon-Tiki (a raft made from balsa wood) in 1947. After his return, Heyerdahl worked on a documentary of the journey, which won an Academy Award in 1951 (this movie is screened every day at the museum). The museum also houses several permanent exhibitions on his other journeys, including the expeditions on the reed boats Ra and Tigris, as well as his excavations on Easter Island and Fatu-Hiva. The archives of Thor Heyerdahl have now been included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World register. The museum is located on Bygdøy, an area ripe with museums and interesting highlights.
13 Universitetsgata
Established in 1837, Nasjonalgalleriet (The National Gallery) houses the country’s largest public collection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures. The focus is mainly on Norwegian art, featuring works by Munch (his perhaps most famous work, The Scream, is on display here), but the museum also displays works by international artists, such as several French Impressionists. There’s also a completely charming café and small gift shop inside. P.S. Nasjonalgalleriet is connected to several other museums and galleries in Oslo (like The Museum of Contemporary Art, The National Museum of Architecture, and The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design) and your entry ticket gives you access to all of them – not a bad deal at all!
This 700 year old fortress lies nestled by the Oslo fjord, still quite imposing even though lots of modern buildings have shot up all around it. The remains of the Medieval Akershus Castle lies within the fortress walls, once home to Norwegian kings and queens. Complete with narrow winding corridors, dungeons, and great halls, this truly is one of the most important buildings in Norway if you’re historically inclined. The castle church is still used for services, christenings, weddings and concerts, and the whole fortress area is visited by thousands of people each year, perhaps proving that history still matters?
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