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.
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.
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.
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.
Norway is the place to experience the magical northern lights and the midnight sun above the Arctic Circle; visit the world-famous fjords surrounded by spectacular mountains and glaciers; and in the midst of stunning scenery, enjoy gourmet food and culture in the cities of Oslo, Trondheim, Stavanger, Bergen and Tromsø.
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