Three reasons why I hate Oslo

For a Torontonian, Oslo is easy to hate. Already, I have several reasons, but I will confine myself to three. Number one is Bygdoy, the “Museum Island of Oslo.” In a previous post, I mentioned the Fram Museum, which
houses both the Fram and the Gjoa, two ships that played major roles in the
exploration of the Arctic. Yes, here they are, beautifully preserved at Bygdoy,
and presented with a vast array of polar-exploration material, including even three
of my own books. How large an avalanche are we expected to handle? And today, revisiting Bygdoy, we had to deal with two equally
overwhelming experiences: the Viking Ship Museum, which houses three ships salvaged
from the 800s (not a misprint),  and the
Norwegian Folk Museum, which is like Upper Canada Village or Black Creek
Village, but with a far longer history.

Bygdoy alone would make me hate this city. But Oslo offers a
welter of corollary reasons. Number two has to be the spectacular waterfront. OK, it
can’t quite compare with that of Sydney, which is arguably the most beautiful in the
world. But that is mainly because, with a metro-population of 1.5 million, Oslo
is considerably smaller. Even so, a Torontonian has to face a transit system
that works, and that includes not just buses, LRTs, and subways, but also
ferries that transport commuters up and down an eye-popping fjord to towns and
communities along the water, always in the never-ending sunshine. And the waterfront itself features a superb promenade lined with high-end restaurants,
in which you can sit and watch the passing parade of sailboats and kayaks and
cruise ships. For a Torontonian, it’s mortifying.

The third reason I hate Oslo is Edvard Munch. Everybody
knows The Scream, his most famous painting, but that is just one of numerous
towering works he created. I know this because Oslo has devoted an entire
museum to Munch, as well a vast room in the National Gallery. Munch evokes and
represents this city’s attitude towards its great artists and writers, which is
one of pride and joyful celebration. Any Torontonian, and indeed any Canadian,
knows that the appropriate posture is one of indifference and disdain. So there
you have it, three good reasons to hate Oslo: the Museum Island, the waterfront, Edvard
Munch. If those seem insufficient, we have a couple more days here, and already I see more reasons


  1. Anonymous on February 1, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    Now I hate Oslo also.


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