The business district of the Oslo region
The former site of Oslo airport has been transformed into a business park and now a district in its own right. Here’s what you need to know about Fornebu.
When I first moved to Norway, I worked for Fornebu for about a year. The business park of modern office buildings on a green peninsula was a soulless place.
But things are slowly changing. I recently took a trip to Fornebu to see how things have changed over the past 10 or so years.
Today’s Fornebu now has apartments, a shopping center and is starting to look more or less like any other neighborhood in Oslo. Kind of.
Although I continue to refer to Fornebu as a district of Oslo, it is actually part of the municipality of Bærum. It’s the same with working-class ‘West Oslo’ neighborhoods such as Stabekk and Bekkestua.
For decades, the Fornebu Peninsula was known to everyone as the site of Oslo Airport. It served as the city’s main airport from before World War II until October 1998.
Once Gardermoen removed the main airport from Fornebu, work began to transform the peninsula into a center of excellence for IT and telecommunications.
Read more: Jobs In Oslo: How to find work in the Norwegian capital
Fornebu quickly attracted anchor tenants. It became the headquarters of telecommunications giant Telenor and the international operations base of energy giant Equinor (then Statoil).
A few hotels have been built to meet the growing needs of the business community. In 2009, the multi-purpose Telenor Arena opened at a cost of NOK 585 million. Urban redevelopment has continued and in recent years a number of apartment complexes have attracted people not only to work there, but also to live there.
A shopping center opened in 2014. In the coming years, a T-Bane extension will make traveling between downtown Oslo and Fornebu much easier. More on that later.
Things to do in Fornebu
Fornebu is far from being a tourist destination. But many people visiting Oslo on business will end up in Fornebu for meetings. If you’re staying at one of the Fornebu hotels, it’s a good idea to know a little about the area.
Fornebu Trail: Opened in 2014, Fornebu S presents itself as a “fashion and beauty destination that offers inspiration and impulses”. In other words, it’s a mall.
Besides the usual mall names, there is a Meny supermarket, a few cafes/restaurants, and Vinmonopolet, the state-owned liquor store.
Telenor Arena: Today, the Telenor Arena is a multi-purpose hall hosting concerts and exhibitions all year round. But he has a very interesting origin story.
The NOK 585 million site was originally intended to be Stabæk Fotball’s new stadium. But the team only played there for three years before disputes over money forced them out.
coastal path: There are trails all over Fornebu, many running along the coastline. They are perfect for taking a break from business and making the most of the nature of the region.
Known in Norwegian as ‘Fornebu Rundt’, this 6 km long loop trail is popular with walkers, runners and dog walkers. For a longer 10km route, check out this recommended jogging route.
Storoyodden Beach: On the western side of the peninsula, this sandy beach and grassy areas are a popular draw for locals when the sun is shining. A nearby nature reserve is home to a diverse birdlife.
Historic Air Tower: Known in Norwegian as Flytårnet, the former air traffic control tower and associated buildings form the heart of ‘Old Fornebu’. The facility now houses a wide range of tenants, including a television studio, a retro furniture store, and a car and scooter museum.
Extension from Oslo T-Bane to Fornebu
When I worked in Fornebu, one of my main complaints was about the crowding of the buses.
Although there have been improvements to the roads and routes since then, I can imagine it’s still pretty bad at peak times given how many businesses have moved into the area since then.
There was talk in 2011 of extending the T-Bane (light rail) system to Fornebu. Previously, other projects had been discussed, including a tram and an automated people carrier linking Lysaker station.
But after funding was finally agreed for the T-Bane extension, construction began in late 2020. The line is expected to open by 2027.
The new Fornebu line will connect to the common city tunnel at Majorstuen. From there, it will run entirely through an 8.15 km tunnel serving six stations: Skøyen, Vækerø, Lysaker, Telenor Arena, Flytårnet and Fornebu Senter.
Where to sleep in Fornebu
Are you coming to Fornebu for a conference or a series of business meetings? You can choose between staying in downtown Oslo and heading to Fornebu, or staying at one of the many Fornebu hotels.
The Radisson Blu Park Hotel and the Quality Hotel Expo are on the north side of Fornebu. Both are perfect options for attending events at the Telenor Arena.
Further south, the Scandic Fornebu is ideally located for Equinior’s offices. It is also close to the Fornebu S shopping center.