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Kadir in the Pride Parade
The Proud Experience.
Photo: Visit Norway / VisitOSLO & Oslo Brand Partners / Oslo Pride and FRI / Bleed / Trigger / Løvik / Havstein

Travel Trade

The Proud Experience

Three young Europeans, Kadir, Anna, and Klára, flew in to take part in Oslo Pride – Norway’s biggest celebration of love, freedom, and diversity.

Most Norwegians have a liberal attitude towards LGBTQ+ people, and the country was among the first to enact anti-discrimination laws against gays and lesbians. In fact, Norway ranks as third best in the ILGA-Europe 2018 rating of 49 European countries.

Oslo Pride is the largest LGBTQ+ event in Norway. The festival is held annually in June/July and aims to contribute to the acceptance of people just as they are. In ten days, human rights and LGBTQ+ issues set the agenda through art, culture, debates – and parties.

Anna and Klára at Oslo Pride
Anna and Klára at Oslo Pride.
Photo: VisitOSLO

Oslove at first sight

This year’s celebration was no exception. From 22 June to 1 July, thousands of people from far and near gathered in Oslo to celebrate progress and push to end all forms of discrimination. More than 40,000 people attended Oslo’s Pride Parade on 1 July. Amongst the participants were Anna Grúňová (31), Klára Slivoňová (32), and Kadir Telli (23) who had been invited by VisitOslo and Visit Norway to take part in the colourful event.

“We felt that Oslo was a place where people accept you for who you are” – Klára Slivoňová​

The Palace Park in Oslo
The Palace Park in Oslo.
Photo: VisitOSLO

Anna and Klára were visiting Oslo for the first time, and this is how they describe their stay:

“If we were to sum up Oslo Pride in just one word, it would be ‘moving’. Everyone we met was so friendly and supportive. The number of people participating in the celebration, including thousands of people who were not gay, was simply overwhelming. Even firefighters, police officers, and the army joined the parade! That made a big impression on us. The music was perfect, and so was the vibe. Every street was decorated with rainbow flags. It seemed like the whole city had prepared for the parade,” Anna says with a smile.

Except for the Pride, what did you do in Oslo?
“We explored several parts of the city by foot, bike, and boat. We visited the Oslo Opera house, which was an impressive piece of architecture. We dug into the Viking history at the Viking Ship Museum on the Bygdøy peninsula, and we studied the fascinating sculptures in the Vigeland Park in Frogner. Another highlight was to walk through Damstredet, a picturesque cobbled street in central Oslo with several charming wooden houses,” says Anna.

How does Oslo differ from other capitals you have been to?
“Although Oslo looks small on the map, it feels big. We quickly realised that the city is packed with things to see and do. We fell in love with the combination of urban city life and nature, which several viewpoints reflected. From some places, we could see the city and the fjord in one direction and dense forests in the other. Oslo is a very green city overall, with several nice parks that the locals seem to take good care of. The fact that the sun barely sets during summer – only for three or four hours – gives you plenty of time (and energy!) to experience the city to the fullest,” Anna says enthusiastically.

What makes Oslo an LGBTQ-friendly travel destination?
“We felt that Oslo was a very welcoming city, a place where people accept you for who you are. For instance, nobody was looking at us when we were holding hands. Instead, some people actually walked up to us and said: ‘This is your celebration, but we will take part in it’,” Klára explains.

Anna og Klára at Oslo Pride
Anna og Klára at Oslo Pride.
Photo: VisitOSLO

What taste of Oslo will you remember?
“The brown cheese (brunost), obviously. It really tastes like caramel. Besides that, we had a great food experience at Lille Herbern, a restaurant located on a tiny island near the city centre. We took part in the preparation of the food, and it all turned out very tasty: mussels, shellfish, and other kinds of fresh seafood. We also had lots of great coffee experiences during our stay.”

What did you bring home?
“Five big packages of liquorice (I couldn’t get enough of it), traditional woollen socks, a winter hoodie, a Viking helmet, a package of coffee beans – and of course some brown cheese,“ Anna chuckles.

What about Oslo made the biggest impression on you?
“The people, the views, and the many green lungs. We could have spent a whole day in the Vigeland Park if we only had more time. The efficient public transportation made it easy to explore the city, and the Oslo Pass, which also gave us free access to some attractions, came in very handy. It was cool that we could even use the Oslo Pass on the ferries that connect the city centre with the surrounding islands,“ says Klára.

Is there one advice you would give to newcomers in Oslo?
“Don’t be afraid to ask the locals. People in Oslo are very friendly and can often give you great advice. Get hold of a map, buy the Oslo Pass, and plan at least one picnic in a park. The distances are short but the experiences plentiful so it might be a good idea to make a plan before you start your exploration,” Klára recommends.

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