While the spectacular landscapes of Norway are certainly the main attraction of any vacation to this Scandinavian country, there are also many Norway museums where you could happily spend a rainy day or a quiet afternoon. Many of the best museums, such as the Munch Museum, are located in Oslo, the capital city. Whether you are interested in history, music, or art, there are museums in Oslo to match your desires, and there are plenty of options outside the capital. The historic city of Trondheim, for example, is home to a few fascinating museums that house very interesting archaeological artifacts.
The Munch Museum is one of the top museums in Oslo and is home to a significant collection of Edvard Munch’s paintings. When the artist died in 1944 he left all of his work to the city of Oslo, and the Munch Museum opened roughly two decades later, in 1963. More than 1,000 paintings and 4,000 drawings are on display, clearly demonstrating his contribution to art. As the most significant Norwegian artist of the twentieth century, this museum is a great dedication to Edvard Munch and a site well worth visiting on a trip to Oslo. The museum is closed on Mondays and open the rest of the week from 10 am to 5 pm.
Another of the popular museums in Oslo is the Viking Ship Museum. Displaying the best preserved Viking ships in the world, this museum draws audiences both young and old. Artifacts that were found on the ships provide some of the in-depth information we now know about the Vikings. Located ten minutes outside the center of Oslo, the museum is open seven days a week, and operating hours vary depending on the season. Other important Norway museums in Oslo include the National Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, and the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology.
The city of Trondheim is home to one of Norway’s most popular attractions, the Nidaros Cathedral. A significant building for many Norwegians, the cathedral was built on top of the grave of the patron saint of Norway, St Olav. Artifacts from the cathedral are on display at the nearby Archbishop’s Palace, which houses a few different museums. The west wing of the palace displays the Crown Regalia Museum, the Army Museum, and the Resistance Museum. The south wing is home to the Archbishop’s Palace Museum, where the archaeological finds from the Cathedral are on display. For music lovers, the Ringve Museum is Norway’s national museum of music and musical instruments.
Other Norway museums are less traditional, such as the aquarium in Bergen. Many galleries of contemporary art, theaters, and of course the great Opera House in Oslo all contribute to a lively cultural scene across the country, but Bergen is regarded as the cultural capital. The city is home to a variety of ballet, opera, and music performances, and it is a great place to visit to combine culture and landscapes, as it is also the gateway to the fjords. While museums may not be the top attraction when planning a trip to Norway, there are many significant and fascinating opportunities to learn about Norwegian culture and history if you choose to do so.
Image: Johan Berge/Innovation Norway