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Education and Culture in Oslo

Living in Oslo is not only a great way to experience both nature and an urban environment. It also gives you the opportunity to visit Norway’s cultural center. Our InterNations Expat Guide to living in Oslo gives you an insight into healthcare, education, housing, and different neighborhoods.
The amazing opera house is only one of the cultural hotspots in Oslo which is worth a visit.

Oslo’s Schools: Education for Everyone

Universal schooling was introduced in Oslo about 250 years ago, in 1889. In the beginning, compulsory education included seven years of education, which was later raised to nine years in 1969 and to ten years in 1997.

All schools in Oslo abide by the national curriculum of Norway, which includes Norwegian, Mathematics, Religion, Physical Education, English, Music, Science and the Environment, as well as other compulsory subjects. The children will also choose a second foreign language, do supplementary language studies, or work on study projects — this may be in Norwegian, English, or Sami.

Children who attend school in Oslo will also learn a lot about the culture and history of the Sami. The Nordic heritage and the lives of Norway’s indigenous people are an important part of the national curriculum.

Following on from primary and lower secondary school, upper secondary education mostly focuses on general studies or vocational training, depending on the students’ choice. After completing their vocational training, students will receive a craft certificate while general studies can qualify them for university admission.

Where to Send Your Kids to School

Children over the age of six are obligated to attend school while living in Oslo. The best way to find a school is by contacting primary schools in your neighborhood and putting your child’s name on a list for the next academic year. Some schools even offer so-called reception classes for expat children who have yet to learn the Norwegian language. They will be happy to place your child there if necessary.

If you wish to send your child to a Norwegian public school, please refer to the administrational homepage of the city for a list of all primary, lower and upper secondary schools in Oslo, as well as adult educational facilities. These schools are administered by the Education Authority (Utdanningsetaten), which you can contact by calling + 47 23 30 12 00 if you have any further questions.

It may be wise for expats to send their children to international schools, such as the reputable Oslo International School, especially if your child does not speak Norway or is slightly older. Bear in mind that international schools are private and often ask very high fees; Oslo International School charges, for example, charges 219,000 NOK per year. For a list of international schools in Norway, including Oslo, please refer to our article on Living in Norway.

Jump into Norwegian Ski Culture  

Settling down in Oslo does not only allow you to enjoy the benefits of living in a big city, it also lets you enjoy the close proximity to the surrounding mountainous countryside. The city itself is situated at the end of the Oslofjord, which is why beaches, forests, and islands are within easy reach.

There are 40 islands within the Oslofjord, and some beaches on the islands are reachable in just ten minutes. Oslo’s transportation system, Ruter, includes ferries within its public transportation network. As a result, connections are frequent, affordable and of good quality, especially in the summer months.

The municipality of Oslo includes a total forest area of 242 km², of which Oslo residents and tourists take full advantage in the long winter months when there is heavy snowfall. In winter, you don’t have to travel far to go skiing or snowboarding or to enjoy an adrenaline-packed dog sleigh ride in the forests surrounding the city.

Oslo’s Winter Park (formerly Tryvann) is the largest ski resort in Oslo, with 18 different slopes for a variety of abilities. Perhaps most importantly, the ski slopes are just half an hour away from the city center and can be reached directly by metro (line 1 towards Frognerseteren), making skiing a very accessible winter activity. Oslo is a big city with nature at its doorstep — the best of both worlds for expats!

However, Oslo has a lot more to offer than green hills and beautiful fjords. The city is Norway’s cultural hotspot, with an abundance of museums and modern art galleries. Don’t miss out on the spectacularly designed Opera House by the waterfront or visit the Munch Museum, where you can see Edvard Munch’s famous painting “The Scream.”


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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David Hicks

"Thanks to my network on InterNations, I already had some contact persons to ask for support on coming to Oslo. "

Amelie Barreau

"Enjoying the great spirit of our InterNations’ Oslo Community for the last few months, I am absolutely convinced of the vision to bring people from different nations together."

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