Saturday, 14 June 2008

Oslo City Hall

The City Hall
Oslo City Hall is the political and administrative heart of Oslo. The building also has an important place in the history of Norwegian art and architecture and stands as a monument to the main artistic movements from the middle of the last century.
The main function of City Hall is naturally the political and administrative running of the capital. In 1986 Oslo was the first municipality in Norway to introduce a parliamentary system with a City Government. The Mayor is elected separately by the City Parliament and sits for the whole electoral period of four years. The City Parliament consists of 59 members who assemble about 15 times a year.
In addition to being a work place for some 450 municipal employees and politicians, Oslo City Hall also attracts more than 100,000 guests, visitors and tourists every year. It is the capital’s most important venue for formal ceremonies, the best known being perhaps the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize. It is also an arena throughout the year for 400 or more large and small arrangements, receptions, banquets, award ceremonies, civil confirmations, etc. The tradition of holding civil weddings in the City Hall came to an end when the ceremony was transferred in 1994 to the new Oslo Courthouse.

The lower level of the Oslo City Hall, which is entered from the harbour side, houses the City Hall Gallery and the municipal Information Centre. The gallery presents a variety of changing exhibitions throughout the year and during the summer various events and activities are staged outdoors in the square.

In 1915 Hieronymus Heyerdahl, Mayor of Christiania (renamed Oslo from 1st of January 1925), presented a plan to combine the building of a new city hall with the clearance of Pipervika, the old slum area by the harbour. In 1918 an architectural competition was won by Arnstein Arneberg and Magnus Poulsson. Their final design, completed in 1930, combines the various artistic and architectural trends of the period. The blend of national romanticism, classicism and functionalism gives the building a truly unique character.
The foundation stone was laid in 1931 and a new city centre was gradually created on the site of the slum clearance, with the City Hall as the towering centrepiece of this ambitious development plan. World War II, however, delayed completion and the building was not officially inaugurated until 15th May 1950.

The City Hall covers a ground area of 4,560 sq. metres. The total floor area is roughly 38,000 sq. metres distributed between two office towers and a central building containing the main hall and the city parliament chamber. The main hall is one of Norway’s largest public spaces with a floor area of more than 1,500 sq. metres and a ceiling height of 20.8 metres.

The east tower and the west tower are 66 and 63 metres high respectively. The Mayor and the Chief Commissioner of the City Government each occupy a corner office at the ground floor of the two towers.

In 1950, the City Hall had only 4 outside bells. Two years later, the carillon at the top of the east tower had 38 different bells. In the year 2000, however, a further 11 bells were added as part of the celebrations to mark Oslo’s 1000th anniversary and the City Hall’s 50th birthday. The carillon plays every day on the hour from 07.00 to 24.00. The bells are all cast in bronze consisting of 78% copper and 22% pewter precisely. The largest of the bells weighs as much as 4,000 kilograms (8,818 lbs), while the smallest weighs only 14 (31 lbs). Concerts are regularly played on the carillon during the summer.

Since 1990 the Oslo City Hall has been the venue every 10th December for the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize. The ceremony, which is broadcast live on television throughout the world, has been a significant factor in making the City Hall an important tourist attraction for visitors to Oslo.

Source - Oslo kommune


Louis la Vache said...

"Louis" thanks you for your kind comments about his s H a K y S h O t. For this next "ABC Wednesday", stop by for "Visions from Hell!"

Unknown said...

cool info on the city!
thanks for coming to My Photoblog

Anonymous said...

Många fina och intresanta bilder här.

chrome3d said...

I´ve been to Oslo only once but after reading and seeing your blog I want to come again.

Mary said...

Very intersting! Neat to get to see where they give the Nobel Peace Prize! It's a great photo.

Anil P said...

Majestic structure.

maryt/theteach said...

A very beautiful municipal building! And to see where the Nobel is presented - thank you, JOhn! :D

mercè said...

An wonderful building, for a great city. This it is one of the places that have slope to visit and I expect to do it in brief. Seeing these you photograph so stupendous, does that have more win of going.

Cath said...

A magnificent building John, and great history.
Interesting post.

Gerald (Ackworth born) said...

Maybe it is the angular nature of it or maybe just the colour but I do think it is a rather ugly looking building and un-grand. It looks more like a mill or factory than an important building.

That is not to denigrate its function in any way of course.