October 15–17, 2012
Welcome to Oslo, Norway's capital city. As the most populous city in Norway, Oslo is also the nation's economic and government center as well as the hub of trade, banking, industry, and shipping.
According to Norse sagas, the city was founded around 1048 by King Harald II. Oslo was destroyed by fire in 1624 and renamed Christiania (later Kristiania) until its original Norwegian name was restored in 1925.
More than 9 in 10 Norwegians speak English, making Norway one of the most English-proficient nations in the world where English is not an official language.
Also referred to as the greater Oslo region (Norwegian Stor-Osloregionen), metropolitan Oslo has a land area of 8,900 square kilometers (3,400 square miles) and a population of 1,422,442. The inner Oslo Fjord region, or the capital region, consists of the five counties of Oslo, Akershus, Buskerud, Vestfold, and Østfold, with the city center situated at the end of the Oslo Fjord.
From that point, the city sprawls out in three distinct "corridors"—inland and northeastward and southward along both sides of the fjord, giving the city area more or less the shape of a reclining "Y" when seen from the north.
Oslo has a humid continental climate. Because of the city's northern latitude, daylight varies greatly, from more than 18 hours in midsummer (when it never gets completely dark at night) to around 6 hours in midwinter. Despite its northerly location, the climate is relatively mild and pleasant throughout the year because of the Gulf Stream.
October can be gray and chilly—usually rainy—but also quite warm. At 763 millimeters (30 inches), rainfall is moderate throughout the year. The cold is much worse in December–February, as winters are snowy with temperatures between -7° C (19° F) and -1° C (30° F). Although snowfall can occur from November to April, it occurs mainly from January through March.
Government: Constitutional monarchy with parliamentary democracy
Currency: Kroner (NOK)
Timekeeping: Central European Time (UTC +1)
Exchange: Most banks near tourist information offices, post offices, or local ATM withdrawals; best exchange rates—ATMs or paying with a credit card
Language: Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk) and Saami (Most people speak some English, and many speak French, German, and other European languages.)
Electricity: 230V/50 Hz (European plug)
Calling Code: +47