Oslo, the capital of Norway, is the economic, cultural, financial and political heart of the country and has around 575,000 inhabitants. Another 800,000 people live, outside the city, in the greater Oslo region. It is the fastest growing capital of Scandinavia. The city has fifteen administrative entities, so-called bydeler. The mayor of the city, Mr Fabian Stang, was elected in 2007.
According to the Norse sagas, Oslo was founded around 1049 by King Harald Hardråde. Recent archaeological research has uncovered Christian burials from before 1000, evidence of a preceding urban settlement. This called for the celebration of Oslo's millennium in 2000.
The Norwegian capital is widely considered as an important centre of maritime knowledge in Europe, and is home to approximately 980 companies and 8,500 people working within the maritime sector, among which are some of the world's largest shipping companies.
The Karl Johan Gate is considered to be the most important street of Oslo, with the Royal Palace at its western end.
The average daytime temperature in Oslo around the end of May varies between 16 and 21 °C. Oslo is located in the Central European Timezone.
Oslo hosted the Eurovision Song Contest once before in 1996, when the TV-show featuring contestants from 23 nations took place at the Spektrum venue.