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The downsides of Oslo you should be aware of before moving there 

Oslo is a fantastic place to call home. However, there are some downsides to life in Norway's capital city that you should be aware of before making the move. 

Pictured is Oslo.
There are several downsides to life in Oslo that you should know about. Pictured is the capital city. Photo by Marleen Mulder-Wieske on Unsplash

Dotted on the fjord from which it draws its name, Oslo is a fantastic city with a little bit of everything for everyone. 

There are plenty of great areas for raising a family, a few trendy districts for the hip crowd, lots of green space for the more outdoorsy types, and plenty of modern architecture to marvel at. Add to all of this a fairly well-connected public transport system, and the city seems like the complete package. 

However, the city is certainly not without its faults, and Oslo can sometimes live in the shadow of other Scandi cities such as Copenhagen and Stockholm. Here are a few of the downsides you should know about when moving to Oslo.

Expensive to find a place to live

It doesn’t matter whether you intend to rent or buy. A place in Oslo will probably cost you more than anywhere else in Norway. This is because the city has the country’s highest property and rental prices. 

According to Statistics Norway, a 50 square-metre 2-room dwelling in Oslo costs 12,310 kroner per month in rent. This is 29 percent higher than the national average for a similar home. 

Last year the average house price in Norway was around 4 million kroner, or around 400,000 thousand euros, according to Real Estate Norway. Meanwhile, the average price of a home in Oslo was approximately 6 million kroner this February

If you are renting in Oslo, you’ll need deep pockets to secure a place to live as landlords typically ask for the equivalent of three months’ rent as the deposit. 

READ MORE: Eight things to know when renting an apartment in Norway

Difficult to keep up with the property market

Being Norway’s largest city, there is ample choice when it comes to the property market. However, you still might find it challenging to find a place to live. 

The rental market moves fairly quickly, and you won’t be guaranteed to hear from a landlord if there is plenty of interest in their apartment. 

Additionally, several readers of The Local have said that they often don’t hear back from landlords when contacting them in English. 

READ MORE: What is it like to rent in Norway as a foreign resident? 

Suburbs are a lot more remote than you’d think 

Many move to the outskirts of Oslo for a number of reasons, be it wanting to be closer to nature, work, or simply wanting more value for money. 

However, Oslo’s suburbs can feel a lot more remote, and less like a city than people often think. 

This may be an issue for those who like to be at the heart of everything. Although for many who value peace, privacy and nature then, this is probably more of an upside. 

Not everyone is impressed with the city life

Oslo is a relatively small city of around 700,000 residents or so. If you are coming from a bigger city, or are familiar with, lived in, or visited Copenhagen or Stockholm, you may find it a bit underwhelming. 

On first inspection, some may find the food, culture and nightlife scenes a bit more subdued compared to other major European cities. 

Not to despair, though, as there will still be plenty to see and do in Oslo, especially as the culinary and cultural scenes are ever-expanding.  

Part of why it may also feel like there’s less hustle and bustle is due to the city’s unique, slower pace. 

Once you get used to the more relaxed pace of the city compared to elsewhere, you’ll soon learn to appreciate its uniqueness. 

The locals aren’t known for their friendliness 

Different countries have their norms and social values, and in this regard, Norway is no different from anywhere else on Earth. 

Norwegians could be considered more reserved and not as outgoing when around strangers. Generally, this is done out of politeness and respect for one’s privacy than due to rudeness, which Oslo’s inhabitants are sometimes unfairly accused of. 

With that being said, it may be more challenging than other places to fit in and feel at home with the locals. 

Although once accepted, especially when living in apartment blocks with communal areas, you’ll start feeling welcomed as a member of the community. 

Expensive public transport         

Oslo has a fairly well-connected transport system. No matter which part of the city you’ll be living in, you can expect to be near a bus, tram, or T-bane stop. 

However, this convenience does come at a cost. According to Business Insider, Oslo is the 15th most expensive city for commuters. The average price of commuting in Oslo was around 90 dollars or 790 kroner per month. 

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What you might not have known about Oslo’s Diechman Bjørvika library

Located in the heart of Oslo, the Deichman Bjørvika has recently been crowned Norway’s most visited cultural institution. However, there are a few things you might not have known about the mega-library.

What you might not have known about Oslo’s Diechman Bjørvika library

Spread over six floors and a stone’s throw from the central station and opera house, Oslo’s Bjørvika Deichman library has become a firm favourite since its opening in 2020. 

The library is the country’s most visited cultural institution, attracting 3.3 million visitors since it opened its doors to the public, according to figures from newswire NTB. 

However, a lot more lies beneath the library’s sleek modern architecture than books. These are a few things you may not have known about Deichman Bjørvika. 

It’s a great place to practice Norwegian

Every Monday, except for public holidays, the Red Cross holds Norwegian language training at 5pm for people who want to practice their skills with others

Tickets are handed out on the fourth floor from 16:30, and the language training takes place on the fifth floor. The event runs for 2 hours. 

You can practice with other participants, which can help you network and make friends if you are a new arrival.

READ MORE: Places to practice your Norwegian in Oslo

You can book a private cinema screening for free

They say the best things in life are free, and we’ve all dreamed of being able to book a private cinema screening for ourselves before. 

But, did you know that you can book a free private cinema screening of a film in the library? Not only that, but the screening is completely free! 

Diechman Bjørvika’s mini-cinema can host films, documentaries, and short films in a screening room for 20 people. The mini cinema is on the 3rd floor, and a minimum of three people are required to make a booking. 

You can choose films and media from or FilmBIB, in addition to those from the library’s collection. 

It does come with a small catch. Eating in the cinema is against the rules. You can book here

Intended to be a social hub

If you haven’t been able to tell by now, you’re unlikely to get shooshed in this library for chatting to a friend. 

Designed to be a social hub, there are plenty of places where you can be social and make a bit of noise. For starters, there are various talks and lectures offered on an almost weekly basis. Then there are the meeting rooms. 

If you fancy giving your brain a rest, there is also free shuffleboard situated by the windows, allowing for views of the Oslo fjord.

There are also Friday night social meetings and a free junior cinema for younger visitors. 

Plenty of opportunities to get creative 

Some hobbies can take quite a bit of money to get into, or the equipment might take up too much space. Luckily, the Deichman has plenty of space and opportunities for people to try something new, get in touch with their creative side, or pick up a forgotten passion. 

3D printerssewing machines and vinyl cutters are some equipment visitors can use at the library. There is also a creative workshop with tools that can be borrowed and where you can meet others who quite like tinkering with odds and ends

Other creatives have plenty of things to sink their teeth into as well. There’s a DJ deck with headphones, Serrato DJ Pro software, Pioneer DDJ-SR2 controllers, and a touch screen interface. Aspiring disk jockeys can bring their own songs on a memory stick or use the library’s Tidal subscription. For chatterboxes, there is also a podcast studio