Oslo 2019 European Green Capital

A city for the future

Ready to explore a city filled with sustainable neighbourhoods, car-free streets and eco-friendly gourmet restaurants? Welcome to the 2019 European Green Capital!

Oslo’s reputation as a green city is due to a lot more than its many parks and surrounding forests. Urban planners, politicians and businesses of different kinds all work hard to reduce Oslo’s carbon footprint and ensure a sustainable future for everyone. Their efforts have been recognized and rewarded by the European Commission, which has named Oslo the European Green Capital for 2019. 

Read on to learn more about what makes Oslo an eco-friendly capital out of the ordinary. 


Sustainable city planning


Oslo is one of the fastest growing capitals in Europe, and has seen a lot of large construction projects over the last few decades. Sustainability has been a guiding principle for many of them.

The new Oslo neighbourhood Vulkan, tucked in on a former industrial site by the river Akerselva, is a poster child for eco-friendly city planning. The developers’ wish to create an energy-efficient neighbourhood has resulted in a local energy central with geothermal wells, buildings with extensive solar water heating systems and hotels that recycle energy from coolers and elevators.

Foodtruck in the Vulkan neighbourhood
Foodtruck in the Vulkan neighbourhood
Photo: VisitOSLO/Didrick Stenersen

Developers in Oslo have also been careful to preserve the city's nature and wildlife, and to reuse existing structures in new and clever ways. The construction of the waterfront area of Tjuvholmen included artificial reefs to make sure the local underwater wildlife remained safe. At Sørenga, yet another new neigbourhood in Oslo, what used to be a heavily trafficked bridge has been turned into a park area in the same vein as New York's Highline – an old structure put to new use in a hypermodern district.

Oslo’s emerging landmarks, the new Munch Museum, the new Deichman library and the new National Museum are all built in an environmentally conscious manner and with features that minimise their carbon footprints.

Car-free urban living


Oslo’s politicians play an important role in the city’s ongoing green turn. Through their initiative Bilfritt byliv (‘car-free city life’), the local government has closed down street parking and limited traffic to make room for bikes, benches, green lungs, block parties and other things that make people happier and the air cleaner.

Musical parking paymen machine outside Akershus fortress
Musical parking paymen machine outside Akershus fortress
Photo: VisitOSLO/Didrick Stenersen


Former car sanctuaries have been decorated in new and original ways. For instance, if you walk past Akershus Fortress you may see (and hear) a strange contraption. It's an old parking payment machine turned into a wifi speaker that lets you play your own music and dance in what used to be parking lots.

Green entrepreneurship


In addition to the large-scale efforts of city developers and politicians, Oslo is full of smaller projects and businesses that do their part in making Oslo a greener city.

Not far from the Oslo Central Station lies Losæter, a large city community garden and the workplace of Oslo’s first urban farmer. A bit further east, the so-called Landbrukskvartalet agricultural district is in the mold, filled with interesting sustainable projects within food, environment, urban development, tech, culture and music. Oslo will see a lot more of these kinds of initiatives in the years to come.


Losæter urban farm at Sørenga
Losæter urban farm at Sørenga
Photo: Visit Oslo Region/Didrick Stenersen


Then, of course, there are restaurants like the three Michelin star restaurant Maaemo, that serves world-class gourmet meals based on local and organic produce. Check out our green guide to the city below to find more eco-friendly restaurants and other suggestions on how to plan your sustainable stay in Oslo.

Did you know ...

... that Oslo’s airport Gardermoen is one of the most environmentally friendly airports in the world?

The airport’s new terminal is the first ever airport building to receive an "Excellent" BREEAM rating. In addition to being built from eco-friendly materials, it does amazing things like collecting and storing snow in a depot that is used to cool down the terminal building in summer.


Young traveller at the Oslo Airport
Young traveller at the Oslo Airport
Photo: OSL/Nordic Office of Architecture


... that Oslo’s largest music festival, Øya, is one of the greenest festivals out there?
Øya currently figures at the top of Greener Festival Award’s prestigeous ranking of sustainable festivals. The organisers' green focus manifests in everything from waste management and transportation to the festival’s food selection and choice of toilet paper.


Hammocks at the Øya music festival
Hammocks at the Øya music festival
Photo: Visitosloregion/Didrick Stenersen


... that Oslo has created the world’s first highway to protect endangered bees?
The bee highway aims to give the endangered pollinators a safe passage through the city, aided by flower-filled cemeteries, rooftop gardens, parks and balconies.

What is a European Green Capital?

A European Green Capital is selected annually by the European Commission. 

The award is given to a city that has a consistent record of achieving high environmental standards, is committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development, and can act as a role model to inspire and promote best practices to all other European cities.

European Green Capital winner 2019
European Green Capital winner 2019
Photo: European Commission

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