A trip to Oslo’s “Ghetto”

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Following Saturday's wander around Grünerløkka, I decided to venture out on Sunday to the area of Oslo with a questionable reputation – Grønland. It's the area to the immediate north and east of Oslo Sentralstasjon. A number of people at work (Norwegians) had warned me off the area, so naturally my curiosity was aroused!

With Ståle as my guide, we walked from the T-Bane stop straight to an awesome cafe/bar called Oslo Mekaniske Verksted – luckily everyone calls it Oslo Mek for short. We sat outside but inside the bar was styled out like a cross between a library and gentlemen's club. I can imagine it being a great place to chill with friends or even read/study. It was such a gorgeous day (AGAIN!) so we went to another of Grønland's al-fresco bars, this one called Dattera til Hagen. I attempted to order an iced coffee in Norwegian and got a response in English, so I have a way to go yet 🙂

My impressions of Grønland were not at all bad. Speaking frankly, the fears many Norwegians have toward the area seem to be because it's the “immigrant” area, and sure enough there is a big mix of nationalities living there. But having lived in Birmingham for 11 years, that's simply not an issue for me. There's also the drug pushers, and yes I was quite shocked at how open it was (I was asked three times on a Sunday afternoon) but a simple “Nei Takk” (No thanks) is all that's required. There's no follow up, no asking for money, in fact there's pretty much just a friendly smile. I know it's only a first impression, but if that's Oslo's rough area, this really is a good city to live in.

We then walked up the river towards Grünerløkka and made our final stop, a bar called Blå (Norwegian for “Blue”). Again we sat outside and I was struck by how much it reminded me of the Rainbow back in Birmingham and Digbeth in general. A warehouse building, art students working away upstairs, a real mix of people, graffiti art everywhere, a BBQ, and random live music. Fab. I'll definitely be coming back here.

I've also been taking short video clips during my first week and I'll turn them into a quick YouTube video later tonight so you can get a better feel for the atmosphere of this wonderful city 🙂

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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7 thoughts on “A trip to Oslo’s “Ghetto””

  1. Great insight into oslo’s “ghetto” really puts a lot of perspective, especially as a guy born and raised in Los angeles.

  2. I am moving to Oslo at the end of April and looking for cheaper residences, naturally this area came up. When I read “ghetto” I was simultaneously curious and concerned as a single female. However, after reading this…I feel like compared to where I grew up (Winnipeg, MB Canada) and where I have lived for the past 9 years (Vancouver, BC Canada) this seems like a walk in the park. Both cities have there reputations, one for being the highest murder capital and the other for drugs and intense poverty -think skid row in LA.
    Super informative.

    • The ting about Oslo’s “ghetto” is that it spreads out across all east side, almost. Places like Grønnland and Grünerløkka isn’t that ghetto as you would think, because of all the restaurants and people going through. Places like “Holmlia”, “stovner” “romsås” and “tøyen” on the other hand, is a bit worse. There is less people walking around there, to the “gangsters” or “teenage gangsters” that means basically a place to hang out, smoke some weed, etc. So if i were you i wouldn’t wander around there at night time. At least not alone! 😉 – Pootis, Oslo Norway

      • I live in Holmlia, and it’s a lovely and family friendly neighbourhood, with an abundance of playgrounds and communal gardens. We just get a bad rep because the area is mostly inhabited by non-whites. It’s just good old racism 🙂

  3. Grønnland has culture and character, unlike most other dead boring places in Oslo. It’s not any more dangerous than any other place in Oslo. Infact the quieter more upscale areas of Oslo is notorious for theft and robbery.
    Grønnland is a home for all the outcasts, all the artists and people who are on the margins of society. A fantastic place for amazing things to happen.

  4. Elsa’s comment is typical of the “bohemian” art student that has been brainwashed by the left. Don’t come crying after you get raped/stabbed by a pack of Muslims.

  5. I was Googling so-called dangerous areas in Oslo (I’m born and bred, and find the claim laughable), and this was the first link I clicked, gladly so. I got to see a picture of my godfather that I hadn’t seen before (purple suit, long curly hair, on stage with Frank Znort at Blå) He passed away in 2012, so idk, was just nice to see… What a cute little coincidence…

    I hope you enjoyed your stay in Oslo.


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