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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 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 Universal Education System

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, offering English, Music, Norwegian, Math and Science as well as other compulsory subjects. The children will also choose a second foreign language, do supplementary language studies or work on study projects.

Expat 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. However, upper secondary education mostly focuses on general studies or vocational training, depending on which the students choose. After completing their vocational training, students will receive a craft certificate while general studies eventually qualify them for university admission.

The Big Search

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. Some schools even offer so-called reception classes for expat children who yet have to learn the Norwegian language. They will be happy to place your child there if necessary. Please refer to the administrational homepage of the city for a list of all primary and lower secondary schools in Oslo. These schools are administered by the Education Authority (Utdanningsetaten), which you can contact by calling 02 180 if you have any questions. For a list of international schools in Norway, including Oslo, please refer to our article on Living in Norway.

Go Skiing or Go Cultural

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 countryside. The city itself is situated at the end of the Oslofjord, which is why beaches, forests and hills are within easy reach. In winter, you don’t have to travel far to go skiing or snowboarding. Oslo’s Winter Park Tryvann or the surrounding forests offer lots of opportunities for winter sports. Oslo is a big city with nature at its doorstep.

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 art galleries. Don’t miss out on the spectacular 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. 

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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