From the black death to Covid-19, pandemics have always put their marks on cities. But catastrophes are often catalysts for change, offering previously non-existing opportunities, and post-corona developments should lead to real improvements.

There’s a 12th-century Norwegian tale about a girl who coven the ‘Black Death’ only to develop PTSD…

Odin and his eight wheel drive (Gerhard Munthe: Illustration for Harald Hårfagres saga. Snorre 1899-edition.)

You don’t have to be Columbo to see a link between Christmas and Scandinavia. It’s enough to imagine a freezing winter wonderland with log cabins, a fireplace and an overdose of hygge. But more essential Christmas habits also owe their origins to Scandinavian traditions.

Away from the clichés, it’s probably…

Oslo: Top 5 skating spots.

Photo: Per Sollerman

“Respect the ice!”

Nordic skating, or tour skating, are the names given to recreational long-distance ice skating on natural ice, something that has become increasingly popular on frozen lakes or fjords. Out there it’s hair-raisingly spectacular to speed toward the open sea, but, if you don’t take into account the…

Photo: Espen Gees

Like everywhere else, big chains have taken over the Oslo bookshop market. Independent bookstores around the world are struggling to survive, like any independent store — not because people don’t love them, but because of the frenzied property market. Thus, indie book havens that offer something special are increasingly becoming…

According to the book ‘Norway’s 100 Best Beers’:

Photo: Colin Eick/Handverk Forlag

Norway’s largest, most thorough beer test launches this week, and Colin Eick, Thomas Horne and Eivind Stoud Platou form the triple-headed, beer-devoted troll behind this effervescent book. …

By Sondre Sommerfelt and Mathias Steinbru

When trying to locate the true flavour of Oslo, it’s well known that the city’s cafeterias are brewing great coffee and that the well-groomed mixologists are mixing ingenious cocktails. Admittedly, when it comes to food, the Nordics have stimulated a modern food revolution with…

Until lately, the neighbourhoods of Oslo have not been overexposed to sophisticated drinking establishments. There’s a less-well-heeled bar scene that dominates the districts outside the city centre, and there has been — and still are — plenty of ‘spit and sawdust’ pubs where the only chairs you’ll get are the…

I’m answering the eternal question — what’s the best bar in town?

Photo: Sondre Sommerfelt

Even if we’re in the middle of a Protestant heartland, with formidable alcohol taxes yet widespread binge-drinking, there are numerous respectable bars in Oslo. You can live like a transient, if you can afford it. …

Sondre Sommerfelt

Sondre Sommerfelt is an Oslo-based anthropologist by training, travel writer and cultural critic by trade sondresommer@gmail.com

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