Erik Thallaug

5 Reasons to visit the New Deichmanske Main Library in Oslo

The New Deichmanske Main Library is the latest architectural masterpiece to open its door in Oslo’s Bjorvika-precinct. Here are 5 reasons you should visit to the new library next time you spend time in Oslo.

You may be familiar with Oslo’s futuristic opera, nestled at the edge of the fjord where it gently slopes into the water with its white marble gleaming against the surrounding blue hues of the water, horizon and sky. There is no doubt that the extensive building and redevelopment over the past 20 years has transformed Oslo’s inner fjord- and harbour precinct into a must-see destination of Nordic architecture and design.

The new Deichmanske Main Library is the latest architectural masterpiece to open its door in Oslo’s Bjorvika-precinct. It is located next to the Opera, near the equally new and exciting Munch Museum (due to open by Norwegian autumn 2020). The new library is a result of years of careful planning and construction: Time was spent designing a library that felt inclusive, engaging and welcoming for everyone; international tourists as well as Norwegians from all over the country (you can borrow books in Oslo and return them to any library nationwide).

Here are 5 reasons you should visit to the new library next time you spend time in Oslo:

1. Its family-friendly and offers something for everyone

Whether you are passionate about architecture, art and design or love magazines, podcasts and newspapers, Oslo’s new main library will cover all your needs. Travelling with young kids or teenagers? While the younger ones can enjoy dedicated spaces of cosy reading-nooks and a vast collection of colourful picture books, the tweens and teenagers will find cartoons, screens and game-consoles to play and interact with. Why not explore and test the many fun chairs in the library to find your very own family-favourites?Deichman-Bjorvika- Foto Erik Thallaug

Image credit: Erik Thallaug

2. Break up your visit with a delicious meal

You can break up your library-visit with coffee, snacks, lunch or dinner at Centropa Café & Restaurant on the ground floor. Each main dish is named by their country of origin: Think chicken terrine and sauerkraut from Poland, or duck leg confit with beetroot, cherries and endive from Georgia. If you want a typical Norwegian gastronomical experience, opt for the pickled fresh herring with potato cake, leek, onion and sour cream. You are encouraged to mix the dishes as share-platters; ending up with a unique European culinary adventure right in the midst of Oslo.

3. Reflect over ‘The Future Library’ art-project

On the 5th floor you will find ‘Future Library’, a breathing installation by Scottish artist Katie Paterson. Since 2014, a new author has contributed annually with an unpublished text for the collection. The project will span across 100 years with the final piece revealed in 2114 as a published anthology by the 100 authors, written to the generations following their own lifetimes. Until then, the contributions are kept in a trust, while the authors’ names and titles are displayed in a small installation called ‘Silent Room’ on the top floor of the library. But the wonders of ‘Future Library’ does not end here: 1000 new trees planted in the Nordmarka-hills above Oslo will be nurtured over the next century to supply special paper for the original first edition of the anthology. Wood from the same area is used to line the Silent Room, where the smell of pine evokes an atmosphere of contemplation and quiet reflection. The room faces the hills where the growing forest resides; a symbol of a living artwork evolving over the next 100 years for future generations to enjoy.Deichman Library Oslo Foto Jo Straube 1920

Image: Jo Straube

4. Enjoy a hands-on, creative experiences

If you think the library is all about books, think again: The entire 3rd floor is dedicated to not only music, movies, comics and fairy tales, but also offers a wide range of loan-tools like 3D- and large format printers, sewing machines and podcast production tools from the extensive on-site workshop and studios. The library offers instruments, DJ equipment and sound-recording spaces, as well as a CD- and LP collection you can enjoy while visiting. You can also view movies in the basement-level in-house cinema or book the mini-cinema for a private family viewing.

5. It’s free!

The library offers a cultural experience that’s entirely free to enjoy. Take in the art-works and futuristic designs, explore the inspiring architecture, learn the history of the original Deichmans book-collection, soak up the views of the Oslo-fjord, flick through books in one of the many lovely reading nooks and rest your feet before you continue to explore Oslo. Deichman Library Oslo Foto Erik Thallaug jpg

Image: Erik Thallaug

Our Norway tours that include an Oslo visit can be found here.