Following a huge investment in cultural capital, Oslo is a destination with a focus on creativity. Several new museums, exhibitions and attractions have opened in Norway’s capital, this year, just as tourists return.

You won’t need to take any pre-departure COVID tests, or show proof of vaccination status to enter the country, and regular access to hand sanitizer could be your only reminder of the pandemic. 

Here are five of the city’s new openings that you should visit now.

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The National Museum of Norway opens this weekend © Iwan Baan

Oslo’s waterfront National Museum is a triumph

The Nasjonalmuseet, opening June 11, is Oslo’s brand-new poster child and the largest museum in the Nordics. It has over 80 rooms displaying 6500 artifacts all part of a collection created by the coming together of works from five other cultural institutions. 

Follow the artworks chronologically in a building that brings together art, design and architecture to give the visitor the very best opportunity to nourish their imagination and harness their creativity through shared history and a sense of identity. The first floor focuses on designs and crafts, with displays of 1000-year-old tapestries, intricate cabinets, dazzling dresses, and sculptures dating back over 4500 years. The second floor is dedicated to fine arts, with a Munch room where you can see a selection of the famous Norwegian artist’s work, including a version of The Scream (yes, there’s more than one! See another on display at the new Munch in Bjørvika). 

Other big names, including Manet, Monet, Degas and Rodin, are displayed in rooms #53 and #54, but you’ll be really missing out if you don’t spend time visiting the changing exhibitions. The third-floor Light Room has 23ft-high (7m) glass/marble walls that can’t be used for wall hangings, so the architecture challenged the curators to use the display space in a non-traditional way. The “I Call it Art” exhibit of contemporary pieces from Norwegian artists, including some previously unknown to the curators, runs until mid September.

Tracey Emin's bronze The Mother sculpture
Tracey Emin's The Mother outside the Munch Museum © Istvan Virag, Agency of Cultural Affairs, the City of Oslo

Tracey Emin’s new 18-ton bronze sculpture 

The new Munch opened in October 2021 to display the collection that Edvard Munch bequeathed to the city. In complete contrast to the glass-and-steel angles of the building designed by Spanish architects, Estudio Herreros, is Tracey Emin’s brand-new bronze sculpture, a 29ft-tall (9m) female nude lowered into its permanent home at the start of June. The Mother is in a wildflower meadow on the pier outside the museum facing towards the fjord, with sapling silver birch trees that will grow to cast shade on her, creating a new space in the city for people to enjoy. 

Inspired by strong female figures, including Emin’s own mother, this kneeling figure with her hands out in front of her is the first bronze on this scale to be modeled on an older woman of 80 to 90 years of age. Crucially she is not your mother or the artist’s mother; she is the mother, someone demonstrating strength and humility, grace and protection, something curved and organic among all the straight edges of the harborside buildings.

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Norwegian band Satyricon have a black metal music exhibition at Munch © Morten Andersen

Satyricon and Munch black metal music exhibit

Munch’s newest exhibit, running until August 28, is a remarkable combination of black metal music and late-19th century paintings by Edvard Munch. Norwegian band Satyricon was asked to compose music to accompany certain graphics and paintings from the collection. Walk into the dark room, take a moment to allow your eyes to adjust, and listen as the 56-minute-long soundtrack wafts between drama, tension, fear and exploration. At first disorientating and then intimidating, this haunting exhibit stays with you.

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Deichman Library © Erik Thallaug, Deichman

Deichman’s Future Library takes literary culture into the next century

Deichman Library is so much more than a city library: it’s a meeting place, somewhere to share ideas, learn, watch and enjoy – a true testament to Oslo’s desire to make culture available to all. The Future Library is a tiny part of this incredible public building. It’s home to unseen manuscripts submitted by well-known authors that will remain here unread for 100 years. The handover ceremony of three new manuscripts by authors Karl Ove Knausgård, Ocean Vuong, and Tsitsi Dangarembga takes place on June 12. Creep into the sauna-like room to see the glass blocks representing the works submitted so far.

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Sommerro will open on September 1 © GrecoDeco

Sommerro hotel includes the city’s first year-round rooftop pool

The city’s former electricity office where people paid their bills is being restored to its former art deco glory and will reopen as luxury hotel Sommerro. Expect 1930s furnishings and artwork throughout the original building contrastingW with the new modern rooftop complex that includes restaurant TAK Oslo, serving Nordic-Japanese cuisine, a sauna and an outdoor swimming pool. The original basement public baths have been converted to wellness suite, Vesktantbadet. The new complex opens September 1, with the wellness suite opening in full in November.

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