d
c

The Royal Castle, Oslo

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

Yesterday, I paid a visit to the Royal Castle, the home of the Norwegian royal family, which is located right in the centre of Oslo. The castle is placed on a slight hill surrounded by an idyllic public park that is the daily thoroughfare for people on their way to work and school. Today, King Harald and Queen Sonja reside in the castle, while Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette Marit have offices in the building.

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

The view from the castle front down Karl Johan. Stortinget is the yellow brick building in front of the Freia sign

In a straight line down from the castle is Stortinget, our parliament building. In this previous post, I’m taking you of a tour of Stortinget. From Stortingsssalen (the Storting’s hall), you can see straight over to the castle and wave at the King and Queen. The street leading down to Stortinget is called Karl Johan, named after King Karl Johan, the first king to reside in the castle. Karl Johan continues down to Oslo Central Station and is the most popular street in Norway — it’s for pedestrians only and lined with shops, pubs and restaurants. This street should be avoided at all cost if you are in a hurry or an impatient soul (ie me).

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Norway

The view towards the castle from Stortingssalen

Since I wasn’t allowed to take photographs inside the castle, I have linked to the offical website of the royal family. Head on over there to see photographs and get further details of each of the rooms. I’ve linked to the English page, but the website is also available in Norwegian and Lappish.

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

The royal castle took 24 years to complete and was move-in ready in 1849. By then King Carl Johan had died (1844) and his son, King Oscar, altered the design to make room for his large family. In the period from 1827 to 1833, construction stalled as there wasn’t any money left in the project and Stortinget refused to provide additional funding. Nothing much has changed in Norwegian politics and public construction in the last 150 years or so, it seems!

Since the start of the 1990s the castle has undergone large renovation works, in which they upgraded the electrical system, fixed the roof and brought rooms back to their original state. They carefully removed several layers of paint to reveal the original murals on walls and ceilings, reconstructed new candelabra in the style of the old candle ones and reinstalled light fixtures that had been replaced with light tubes(!).

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

The tour starts out by showing you the waiting room for the prime minister and the council waiting to attend the weekly Statsråd (Council of state). Here the council led by the prime minister present important political cases to King Harald and Crown prince Haakon in the stylish Statsrådssalen (Council chamber). The pretty ceiling decorated with white stars on a pale blue background probably help the politicians daydream when the going gets tough!

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

The tourist entrance is in the back of the castle, in the private gardens

The castle has three large ball rooms that are used to host various events, and the most intimate is the Family dining room used for less formal dinners and luncheons. It was also used for dinner every day when King Olav was residing. The intricate murals on the walls and ceiling make this one of the prettiest rooms in the castle — I can’t imagine dining in such a beautiful setting! The story is that they made the decor so intricate and breathtaking so that dinner guests always could find something to talk about if conversation stalled.

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

The largest ballroom, the Great Hall, is 360 m2, two stories tall (10,7 metres) and has a beautiful mezzanine running all the way around the room, from where the guests can admire four huge candelabra. The orginial wax candle candelabras were sold at auction to the Swedish royal family in 1903, when electricity was installed at the castle. It was handy that the restorers didn’t have far to go to get the specs for new ones! The walls are now repainted in their original decor, a gorgeous and discreet flower work on a background of salmon pink set off against yellowish marble columns, all outlined with lots of gold gilding.

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

The most impressive room of them all is the 300 m2 large Banqueting hall where they host the most important state dinners, like the banquet for the members of the council and dinners in conjunction with important state visits. The hall can seat 225 people.

The gorgeous decor in the ceiling is repeated on the china that is set on the tables, with different plate designs for each course. They have also placed mannequins around the room showing what the waitors/waitresses wear when serving. Guests enter the room listing to Gammel Jægermarsj (The old hunter’s march) by Chr. Schjølberg and leave to the tune of Valdresmarsjen (The Valdres march) by Johannes Hanssen.

The castle holds offices for the King, Queen, Crown Prince and Crown Princess, in addition to a gorgeous visitors’ flat that has hosted Queen Elisabeth, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela and other important people.

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

Guests are taken in through the front door and up the stairs to the Vestibule, with its 12 impressive marble pillars. From here the royal family has access to the balcony where they greeat the children’s parade on May 17th.

The first room on the right from the Vestibule is the reception room for the King’s office, the Bird room. A total of 45 birds and seven butterflies (counted by the King’s footman, who has hours to kill each week waiting to be summed by the King) are a part of this very traditional Norwegian paintwork. So pretty! The office of the Queen is next door to the King’s, while the Crown Prince and Crown Princess’s offices are off to the left from the Vestibule.

The castle is only open to the public during the summer months, when there’s less activity in the castle. With its 173 rooms, the castle is very small compared to those of other European royal families (a quarter of the size of the Swedish royal castle, for instance), so most of the castle is in use on a regular basis. During the summer, in each of the ball rooms tables are set to display some of the gorgeous tableware and china that is a part of the castle’s collections. This makes the rooms particularly grand and inviting.

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

August 16th is the last day the castle is open for visitors this year, so hurry on over to Billettservice to buy your ticket if you live in or around Oslo. A new tour starts every 20 minutes, some in English. Ahead of every tour, they also sell unsold tickets at the door.

The castle is protected 24/7 by members of His Majesty the King’s Guard and every day at 13:30, you can see the changing of the guards. This event is similar to the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace — lots of marching, stomping and gun juggling as some guards sign off and the new crew take their place.

During the summer, members of The King’s Guard frequently march from Akershus Fortress to Karl Johan, where they perform in the middle of the street while pedestrians stop and admire. This is an inredible event that you should definitely try to see — times are given at the tourist office. The King’s Guard has won the Edinburgh Military Tattoo several times and gives an incredible show, marching to the beat of their band and throwing their guns high up in the air. Watching them perform always gives me goose bumps.

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

The guards are getting ready for the changing of the guards, attaching the bajonettes to their guns

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

All ready to go

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

Crowds of people are watching…

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

…under the watchful eye of this guard

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

These guards are coming off their shift

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

A new guard is taking over the position in one of the guard huts

Tall Girl's Fashion // The royal castle of Oslo, Norway

The rest of the new guards are marching to the remaining guard locations to take over the shift

  • What great photos! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • You’re welcome, Shani! Thanks for visiting. xoxo Anett

    • I only wish I could have taken photos inside, as the rooms were so pretty. Thanks for visiting! xoxo Anett

  • kristine

    Var der for noen år siden, fantastisk flott!

    • Ja, det var der vi skulle bodd! Med vaskehjelp, så klart. xoxo Anett

@tallgirlsfashion