Oslo urges tourism at home

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It’s spring, and city officials in Oslo want local residents to be tourists in their own town as area museums and attractions gear up for the busy summer tourist season. On Sunday, locals could get a unique opportunity to learn more about things to see and do at home, for free.

Oslo's City Hall will be the starting point for a free, informative day of being a tourist at home. PHOTO: Views and News

Oslo is packed with museums, and Views and News has been profiling several for its Museum Guide. This week we’re deviating from any specific museum to focus on the city’s Turist i egen by (Tourist in your own city) program that kicked off Sunday at Oslo City Hall. 

It all started at 10am, when the city and county and tourism promotion agency VisitOSLO (external link) opened the doors of City Hall on the city side (Borggården) of the building. Those attending could hear presentations of what’s on offer in Oslo from tourist boss Tor Sannerud among others, before proceeding downstairs to hear other local promotions and then receive a free “Oslo Pass,” which entitled the holder to free use of all public transport, free access to many museums that normally charge admission fees, and discounts on food and drink at several local cafés and restaurants.

The purpose, said city officials, was to help local residents, both Norwegian and foreign, to get better acquainted with Oslo’s museums and attractions. The biggest challenge for participants was deciding how to best spend their day.

In addition to free admission, several museums offered special programs on Sunday. The Norwegian Folk Museum on Bygdøy, for example, gave a sneak preview of a new attraction called Trøndelagstunet, while the Natural History Museum and Botanical Gardens at Tøyen featured a free concert on the steps of the Botanical Museum, to “sing in the spring.”

Oslo’s City Museum (Bymuseum) was behind a free guided walking tour of the historic area behind the Akershus Fortress and Castle called Kvadraturen, where several buildings date from the 1600s. Meanwhile, inside the Akershus Fortress, the Norwegian Defense Museum launched a special program that follows in the footsteps of the “Olsen gang” films that played out on the scene, along with offering a new exhibit focusing on Soviet prisoners of war that was visited by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier in the week.

The Holocaust Center on Bygdøy, meanwhile, was open free to those with the Oslo Pass and offered guided tours of Villa Grande, the mansion where the museum is housed that Norwegian traitor Vidkun Quisling took over as his private residence during World War II.

City officials called the locally oriented tourist promotion “an outstanding opportunity” for Oslo residents to learn about and visit places “that they maybe walk by every day,” but never take the time to explore. Sunday, at any rate, was a good chance to stop and take a look.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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