In addition to the beautiful nature and all the outdoor activities they offer, Asker and Bærum have a wide range of attractions. Art lovers will have a busy time visiting the many art galleries. The highlights include:
Henie Onstad Art Centre
The centre has Norway's largest collection of international modern art, with works by Picasso, Matisse, Beuys, Christo and more, and is beautifully located by the Oslofjord in Høvik, Bærum. The Henie Onstad Art Centre has changing exhibitions, restaurant, museum shop, library and a sculpture park by the water. Guided visits are available all year.
The centre was founded by World and Olympic champion figure skater Sonja Henie and her husband Niels Onstad in 1968, and her prize collection is also exhibited at the art centre.
Gallery Trafo opened in August 2006 and has rapidly become an important venue for Norwegian and International contemporary art. The gallery is located in the centre of Asker in an old factory-like building which used to house the transformator supplying the railway from Oslo to the southern part of Norway with power.
There are three floors with exhibitions and showrooms, and the gallery also houses part of Asker muncipality's own art collection.
Asker and Bærum's history is on display in different forms in the local museums. You can explore the history from the World War II and the old Grini Prison Camp or local history from schools, institutions or hospitals. Some of the top museums include:
The focal point of the Asker Museum is the home of the artists Tilla and Otto Valstad and sculptures by Arne Grimdalen. Many cultural activities have originated in the Hvalstaddalen Valley, also known as "The Artists' Valley".
The Valstads' collection has many artefacts and buildings that Tilla and Otto Valstad gathered over many years. These include a Norwegian barn, a Baroque-inspired museum, a garden and Labråten – the home of the artists Hulda and Arne Garborg can also be found here.
The Coast Culture Center in Vollen is also part of the Asker Museum. Vollen was once a centre for boat-building, hunting, trade, fishing, ice cutting, horticulture and market gardening, and you can learn about all this at the centre.
The Lommedalen Railway (Lommedalsbanen)
A narrow-track railway museum where locomotives and cars have been collected from industrial, defence and construction lines from all over Norway. At the Lommedalen Railway Museum you can ride on trains with old carriages and engines and experience Norway's smallest steam locomotive, dating from 1904.
Shopping, crafts and history housed in old ironworks from the 17th century. The main street Verksgata has been given a new lease of life, and many of the buildings have been renovated and turned into small shops, workshops and restaurants.
The Oven Museum in Bærums Verk shows more than 60 ovens produced by the ironworks during the last 300 years. In Glassverket, one of the workshops in Verksgata, you can see how glassblowers work, and buy different glass products hand-made on the premises.
The only racecourse in Norway is also a leading racecourse in Scandinavia, and is located in Jar in Bærum. Øvrevoll Racecourse has about 40 races each year and attract competitors from several nations.
There are several swimming halls, cultural houses and sport stadiums in Asker and Bærum. You will also find several libraries and cinemas in Sandvika and in the centre of Asker.
Bekkestua Arena is a quite new indoor skateboard park, while Fornebu Arena is the largest indoor stadium in northern Europe. Fornebu Arena, aslo called Telenor Arena, hosts football matches, concerts and events and has a maximum capacity of 25 000 spectators. It was also here the Eurovision Song Contest took place in 2010, more information at visitbaerum.no. Finals were held.