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Oslo / Norway

A European Christmas

Haruka Sugimoto / Aerospace & Ship Division

* In this column, Marubeni Group staff provide a glimpse of the cities in which they are living and working.

Oslo, the capital of Norway, is a small city, with a population of about 650,000. This time we introduce Christmas in Oslo, as well as Norway’s second largest city, Bergen.

■ Oslo

When December starts, the city of Oslo is adorned with lights, and Christmas trees are set up everywhere. It also signals the appearance of a large Christmas market that includes seasonal cafes, a Ferris wheel, and an ice skating rink.

Lively Christmas market. Includes seasonal cafes and ice skating

The Opera House in Oslo is famous for the design that includes a roof that is also a walkway. The Christmas classic ballet, The Nutcracker Suite, is presented at this time of the year. Although prices are generally quite high in Oslo, the cheapest tickets are only 100 kroner (about 1,500 yen); so compared to Japan, it is not expensive to enjoy professional opera and ballet performances. Other attractions in Oslo are the National Gallery and the Munch Museum, which house versions of Edvard Munch’s The Scream, and Akershus castle, which was the model for the castle in the Disney movie Frozen. There is also the Royal Palace, the residence of the current monarch of Norway (interior tours are offered during the summer), as well as Oslo City Hall, which is the venue for the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in December each year.

■ Bergen

Norway’s second largest city is also popular with tourists, who come even from Japan to see the fjords. At the train stations in Oslo you can purchase ticket sets for rail and ferry portions of “Fjord Tours” to Bergen. On these tours you can enjoy half a day of sightseeing in the fjords as you travel to Bergen.

Bryggen is an area of Bergen where the streets are lined with wooden buildings having the triangular peaked rooftops characteristic of medieval Norwegian architecture. It has been registered as a World Heritage site, and you can go view the charming houses, like those in a fairy tale. The surprise is that these building are still being used today, as shops and restaurants.

Another point of interest is Mt Fløyen; you can reach the top by cable car. From the summit you can overlook the entire city of Bergen, and the view at night is spectacular. The fish market is also famous. There are places where you can ask to have the fresh seafood prepared on the spot, and then sit down to enjoy it. Salmon from Norway is well-known in Japan, but the fish market offers a wonderful variety of seafood flavors, including shrimp, crab and scallops.

Although the cold is severe, what about spending a Nordic Christmas this year?

Marubeni Group communication site “MS+ (MS Plus)” (January 15, 2016)

  • Brightly decorated streets
  • The Opera House rising from the darkness
  • A charming presentation of The Nutcracker Suite
  • “Fjord” is a Norwegian word
  • Cityscape of the Bryggen district
  • Night view from Mt Fløyen
  • Fabulous lobster sashimi

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