Gaya & Culture

Oslo’s new public library has finally opened

Oslo’s new public library, Deichman Bjørvika, has finally opened its doors for the public of Oslo and visitors to the Norwegian capital. The opening marks another huge milestone in the development of Bjørvika and Oslo. Through the last decade Oslo has transformed into an urban fjord city with an abundance of cultural highlights and iconic landmarks, like the Opera House, the Astrup Fearnley Museum and the Barcode district. And more is still to come.

“The opening of the new Deichman library in Oslo is an important contribution to strengthen Norway’s position as a cultural destination. I look forward to experience the library at Bjørvika, and to the further expansion of the Oslo skyline in the coming months, when the new Munch Museum and the new National Museum will open their doors”, says Bente Bratland Holm, Director of Tourism at Visit Norway.

Bjørvika has truly been transformed into a modern borough with fascinating architecture and great outdoor spaces. This area of the Oslo harbour was once known for a major highway junction and a container port. Today, the highway is gone and the containers have been replaced with shops and restaurants, office and apartment buildings, galleries and an art hotel. It even has beaches and a seawater pool, Oslo’s first urban farm and some very popular urban saunas.

Oslo’s new cultural hub

Located in the harbour of Oslo, just a few steps away from Oslo Central Station and the Opera House, the new Deichman Bjørvika, designed by architects Lundhagem and Atelier Oslo, will be almost impossible to miss for visitors arriving in Oslo’s city centre by bus, tram, train or boat.

“Oslo’s new main library is stunning, especially from the inside, and so is the location. It doesn’t get more central than this”, says VisitOSLO’s Managing Director Christian Lunde enthusiastically. “I am convinced that when the tourists start returning to our city, Deichman Bjørvika will be a popular place to visit and a natural stop along Oslo’s harbour promenade, which takes you past some of Norway’s biggest cultural institutions, including the new MUNCH. I definitely recommend both visitors and people from all over Oslo to come and experience this beautiful building and Oslo’s new waterfront for themselves”, says Lunde.

If your feet are tired after a day of urban adventures, Oslo’s new library offers the perfect space to enjoy a coffee and free Wi-Fi, read newspapers and magazines, soak up the sun on the outdoor terrace of the library restaurant Centropa – or to just relax and admire the architecture and the view of the Opera House and the Oslo Fjord.

A library for the future

The original plan was to open Deichman Bjørvika to the public on March 28th 2020. However, Covid-19 and the national lockdown in March put a stop to that. Today, on June 18th, Library Director Knut Skansen could finally let patrons and visitors into the new main library, or “Norway’s biggest bookshelf” as he likes to call it.

“Finally the people of Oslo and visitors can come to us and start using the library. We are looking forward to show them this building which we are so proud of. Deichman Bjørvika will be a library for the future. I think many people will be very surprised by the building itself and what the library has to offer,” says Skansen.

The new Deichman Bjørvika will be an exploration of what a library can be. Stretching over six floors and 13,500 square meters (approx. 140,000 square feet) you will find books, of course – 450,000 of them – but also other offers and activities, like a children’s section with playful hiding places, technology and knowledge in all forms; and on the fifth floor, a magical little room dedicated to the unique art project Future Library. This room will remain closed a little longer however, until the annual Handover ceremony, which has been moved to September 5th.

Art inside and outside the library

The huge site-specific installation BRAINSTORM by Oslo-born artist Lars Ø Ramberg lights up the main entrance area inside Deichman Bjørvika. It is Europe’s largest neon artwork consisting of 400 meters of handcrafted neon tubes in white and yellow glass.

A 7-meters high sculpture, Creature from Iddefjord is located near the water mirror outside the new public library. You can both look at and walk through this site-specific sculpture by American artist Martin Puryear.

Two million visitors

Deichman Bjørvika’s ambition is to host two million visitors each year, in a Covid-free situation. Among the safety measures in regards to infection control is a limit on the number of visitors who can be present in the library at the same time: 1,000, compared to the usual limit of 3,000. This limit has been set in consultation with local infection control authorities.

Facts about Deichman

Deichman is the agency for the public libraries in the city of Oslo. Founded in 1785, it consists of 22 branches all over Oslo and is Norway’s largest and oldest public library.

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