The emergence of Oslo, Norway as Scandinavia’s artistic hub

Oslo is known for its unique skyline, from Oslo City Hall to Oslo Cathedral, the Nobel Peace Center and the Norwegian Opera & Ballet with its slanted exterior that rises out of the harbor, inviting visitors to walk on the roof. However, something new is brewing along the fjord, which is good news for all art lovers.

You’ll notice the avant-garde trendsetting art immediately when you walk through the doors of THE THIEF, a luxury waterfront property by Nordic Hotels & Resorts in Oslo, Norway that offers enchanting guest experiences. THE THIEF’s permanent collection is located on the ever-evolving Thief Island, or Tjuvholmen district – the city’s new cultural hub near the city centre, and has been cleverly curated by Sune Nordgren, a Swedish art historian and former director of Norway’s National Museum of Art. Each of the rooms and suites features original artwork created by established as well as emerging artists, handpicked by Nordgren. In-room TVs creatively showcase “Art-on-Demand” functionality.

As a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection, you can expect this property to operate with a high level of service, providing access to a premium selection of food and beverage offerings – THIEF RESTAURANT is a smart choice to sample elevated Scandinavian flavors, a rooftop terrace , a fitness centre, a wellness area and spa, and free entry to the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art.

The art collection is at the heart of interior design throughout the property, from the floor-to-ceiling windows that provide natural light to velvety chairs, warm furnishings and ambient lighting. The thoughtful touches don’t actually stop there – even the wool blankets and slippers, made from high-quality Norwegian wool, are special. Interior designer, Anemone Wille Vage has focused on creating rich contrasts full of texture, with a nod to the site’s maritime history and purpose.

With the Oslofjord and neighboring glass and steel modern architecture as a theater setting, you will be eager to set out on foot to explore this art-forward district where national funding for the arts has been a priority.

Nearby art galleries and studios not to be missed include: Fineart Oslo, Gerhardsen Gerner, Galleri Semmingsen, Galleri Brandstrup, Peder Lund, Galleri Haaken and Pushwagner Gallery.

And of course, no trip to Oslo is complete for art lovers without exploring the 13 floors of masterpieces at the MUNCH museum, home to three visible versions – a painting, drawing and print – of Edvard Munch’s The scream. While still within walking distance, the MUNCH Museum is a mile and a half away from THE THIEF, or about 30 minutes on foot. The MUNCH museum houses the largest collection of art created by Edvard Munch – over 200 works are on permanent display.

It is entirely possible to create an entire itinerary for the art lover in mind, also in Oslo’s outdoor spaces. The Vigeland Museum not only has a massive collection of Gustav Vigeland’s art where you can see plaster originals indoors, but Vigeland Park also has over 200 large-scale sculptures in granite, bronze and wrought iron outdoors. The largest outdoor sculpture park in the world, with art created by a single artist, Vigeland Park is a top tourist attraction in Oslo. The sculpture park, located in Frognerparken, is free to visit and is open all year round – be sure to see The angry boy, the monolith, and Wheel of life.

With THE THIEF as your home base, you can see why Oslo is quickly emerging as Scandinavia’s next art capital, especially with the openings of the MUNCH museum (October 2021) and the new National Museum (June 2022), the largest art museum in the Nordic countries with modern, contemporary and classical art as well as architecture and design.

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