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Highlights from UiO's history

Royal heritage: King Frederick VI of Denmark founded the University of Oslo.

1813: Early years. The first university buildings at Anatomigården.

1833: Reaching for the stars: The Astronomical Observatory.

1852: Monumental architecture: The university campus at Karl Johans gate in its heyday.

1912: Female academic power: Kristine Bonnevie, Professor of Biology.

1936: Modern functionality. The Natural sciences building at the new Blindern Campus.

1970: Baby boom invasion. Student numbers reach 16 800.

1969: Nobel Prize winners Hassel and Frisch. 

1980's: Gender equality. Female student population surpasses male population.

1999: Steel, glass and stone - the New University Library, Georg Sverdrup building.

2011: Stronger than ever. The university celebrates 200 years of existence.


King Frederick VI of Denmark had long been opposed to the idea of establishing any university in the province of Norway, fearing it might stir up separatist emotions. But in 1811, after a successful campaign, the Danish king is persuaded: Norway will have its first university, the Royal Frederick University, Universitas Regia Fredericiana.


The university opens in Christiania (the former name of Oslo), counting 7 professors and 18 students. At this time, Christiania is still a provincial town in a country without a capital. A year later, however, things change dramatically: Norway declares its independence and adopts its own constitution in 1814.


The University’s Astronomical Observatory in Christiania is built. Designed for cartographic, astronomic and other observational purposes, Christopher Hansteen’s observatory becomes an important symbol of national identity and a landmark of scientific progress.


Two years after the completion of the King’s castle, the university moves into its stately new buildings at Karl Johans gate. The castle, the university and later the Parliament will form an architectural axis of power.


The University of Oslo enrolls its first female student, Ida Cecilie Thoresen.


W.C. Brøgger is appointed the first rector (president) of the university.


Kristine Bonnevie becomes the first female professor at the Royal Frederik University, one year before Norwegian women are given the right to vote.


The University Library building opens in Henrik Ibsen’s gate (formerly Drammensveien), serving as Norway’s National Library until 1989.


Fridtjof Nansen - explorer, scientist and national icon - is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work for refugees and victims of World War I.


The first buildings at Blindern Campus officially open.


The student welfare organization (SIO) is established.


Nazi occupants take action against the university. 650 male students are deported.


The Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund, Lånekassen, is established, granting financial support to students. This enables more young people to get a higher education.


The extended Blindern Campus opens. Baby boomers flock to a modern university with spacious and functional buildings. Over the next decade, the number of UiO students will triple.


Ragnar Frisch is awarded the first Nobel Prize in Economics and Odd Hassel gets the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.


The number of students reaches 16,800, three times that in 1960.


Ivar Giæver is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.


Female students outnumber the male student population.


Trygve Haavelmo is awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics.


The New University Library building, Georg Sverdrup’s hus, opens at Blindern, replacing the old one from 1913.


The University of Oslo implements the Quality Reform, program structures, grade systems, exams etc. are reshaped entirely.


The University celebrates its bicentennial with a number of festive events.

Published Aug. 30, 2012 12:01 PM - Last modified Nov. 16, 2017 9:51 PM