Pop quiz: What’s the only fjord in Norway not situated along the country’s Atlantic coast? The Oslofjord, of course.
What’s a fjord, you ask? Does it have anything to do with Björk? No, she’s from Iceland, another country composed of numerous fjords. A fjord is a long, narrow, steep-sided inlet created when a valley left by a retreating glacier is filled by the sea. However, the Oslofjord cut into central Norway is actually not a fjord in the geological sense – the Norwegian word “fjord” can refer to many kinds of waterways. Tricky.
At the northernmost end of the Oslofjord sits – you guessed it – Oslo, occupying an arc of land surrounded by forested hills, placid lakes, and picturesque farms straight out of a fairytale. Approaching the city from any direction by any mode of transportation is a stunning experience. The close proximity to spectacular countryside, as well as some 40 islands dotted throughout the bay, makes Oslo an ideal place for the nature enthusiast in need of a metropolitan area for business. During winter, the proverbial bandwagon is the ski lift – hop on the metro with your equipment in hand and hit the slopes at one of the 8 ski resorts and 2000 kilometers of cross country trails through the Norwegian forest. If you’re aching for some nature within the city center, you’re never more than a few blocks away from a wide grassy park (and some disconcerting statues of raw human emotion if you’re in Frognerparken; see “Man Attacked by Babies”).
Winter, however, can be pretty grim (read: threatening to your sanity) if you work in a space without an external window. The sun shows itself for a mere six hours a day in the dead of winter and the temperature stays at or below freezing all day from mid-November to mid-March. Prepare your psyche. The city is admittedly much bleaker during this monochromatic season. Summer, in contrast, has long, glorious days of up to 18 hours of sun, a phenomenon known as “midnight sun.” That makes the longest day in Oslo almost 13 hours longer than the shortest day. If your circadian rhythm has been looking to participate in an adventure sport, life near the Arctic Circle is definitely for you.
Despite the extremes of the seasons, Oslo continues to be ranked highly for excellent quality of life. In addition to the harmony of city life and recreational opportunities, some of the factors that make Oslo so remarkable include personal freedoms, top-notch education and intellectual capital, entrepreneurship opportunities, transparent and socially progressive government, environmental consciousness, ease of international travel, low crime rate, modern infrastructure and cityscape, hyper-efficient public transportation, English-fluent locals, a well-integrated international community, and vibrant music-culture-design and other creative events.
It’s no surprise that the cost of living is therefore quite high, with housing and all other expenses totaling $2000-2500/month in the next bracket beyond “barely surviving.” $800 is the ultimate flat rental low an expat is usually able get away with. Fortunately, apartments are very well insulated with low energy prices. Check out the Frogner (affluent) and Grünerløkka (hip) neighborhoods if you’ve got the kroners to throw down, the western suburbs if you’d prefer to be immersed in the expat community, or inner east Oslo for a more affordable shabby chic sort of lifestyle within the city.
Find the best coworker community for you by clicking on our interactive map and exploring Oslo’s coworking spaces.