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Taking a look at Bygdøy Royal Estate

The Bygdøy Royal Estate is located on the small peninsula Bygdøy in Norway’s capital Oslo. The size of the estate is approximately 2,000 acres, with 740 acres of cultivated land. Today, the property is separated in three, one-part acts as the summerhouse to the Norwegian monarch, one part is an active farm, and the third part is acting as a recreation area for the capital’s population.

The farm at the Bygdøy royal estate is Oslo’s largest dairy producer and produces only organic milk.  The farm is open to the public and is run by the Agriculture Department at the Norwegian Folk Museum. The royal history of the farm stretches all back to the 1300s. In 1305 King Håkon V Magnusson gave the farm as a gift to his wife, Queen Eufemia. The farm has since been owned or made available to the Norwegian, Danish-Norwegian or Swedish-Norwegian royal house.

Parts of the farm. On the building on the left, you can clearly see King Olav V’s monogram. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen.

The visitor’s farm has regular days where children can greet the animals. Markets and activity days are also held here. On the building you can see the monogram of King Harald. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen.

The buildings of the modern farm photographed from “The Queen’s Hill”. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen

Throughout the 1700s, the main house on the farm was used as a cottage for the Norwegian governor. From around 1800, it became the summer residence of royal family. King Christian Frederik, later Christian VIII, lived in the house in the summer and autumn 1814 after he had to renounce the throne.

In the decades around 1800, vast areas of the property were sold, and a great number of private country houses were established. However, in 1837, King Karl III Johan bought the rest of the farm from the state. His son, King Karl IV sold it back to the state in 1863, and since then it was mad available le for use by the royal family.

The main entrance to Bygdøt Royal Estate. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen.

The building today used as a summer residence for King Harald and Queen Sonja. Photo: Jan Haug, Det Kongelige Hoff/The Royal Court.

The gardens in front of the buildings are characterized by large areas of tulips. Photo: Ole Johan Hildre, Det kongelige hoff/The Royal Court.

Between 1847 and 1853, King Oscar I established the little castle Oscarshall only a quarter of a walk from the main house on the farm. After 1905, the main building was repaired and modernized, and King Haakon VII and his family, and later King Olav V, used it as a permanent summer residence.

The property was transferred to the Norwegian Folk museum in 2004. King Harald V abandoned the right of use of the farm, but retained the main building and associated buildings for the staff and park. The main building is today fenced and not possible to visit to the public. The building is usually also used for informal parties. Last time there was a royal gathering there was in July 2017, in connection with the celebration of Queen Sonja’s 80th birthday.

The living room that looks out onto the tulip-garden. Photo: Espen Grønli, Det Kongelige Hoff/The Royal Court.

The dining room. Photo: Jan Haug, Det Kongelige Hoff/The Royal Court.

The park attached to the royal estate is scattered. There are several kilometres of hiking trails around the whole peninsula. Also, there is some monuments, small cabins, beaches and good points for a great view that are made available to Oslo’s population and tourists.

About a three-minute walk from the main building lies “the Queen’s Hill”. A steep hill that, today, is a public park. The park was built in the 1700s. In the park, which can be visited by anyone, there are main two sights. The first thing that meets you as you walk up the wide path is an impressive monument in memory of Herman Wedel-Jarlsberg.

After leaving the wide path and entering the small forest paths, they all lead to the highest point of the hill. Here is a beautiful garden with benches and flower. Here is also a cabin called “The Shieling-hut”. At the top of the hill, there is an impressive view of large parts of western Oslo.

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