Os is in Hordaland county in Norway. Located south of Bergen, most visitors visit on day trips from the city.
The municipality Os is situated in the southern part of Bergenshalvøya - The Bergen Peninsula - where the fjord and the coast meet. To the north Os borders on the city Bergen. Otherwise Os faces Krossfjorden, Bjørnefjorden and Fusafjorden, and borders on the municipality Samnanger to the east. The driving distance to the centre of Bergen, and also to Flesland Airport, is 30 kilometres.
The centre of Os
Osøyro is the ancient seaside settlement that has developed into a modern centre. The centre of Os can be reached both on land and at sea. Here you can find the municipal council and most of the services both inhabitants and tourists need. The centre circles around the river mouth, and faces seafarers as well as wayfarers.
Os has about 16 000 inhabitants. The last 100 years the population has increased steadily. This has also been the situation in the other municipalities around Bergen. Osøyro, the centre, is most densely populated. Other areas with a concentration of population are Lysefjorden, Søfteland, Søre Neset and Nore Neset.
Os covers about 140 square kilometres. Towards the south and the west there are hills and open fields and a coastline with islands, bays and sounds. Towards the north-east there are rather steep fjord sides, narrow valleys and mountains with peaks as high as 850 metres.
The Place with Sculptures
In the roundabout at Osøyro, in the shopping centre, in shops, in parks and public buildings you will find sculptures in steel and bronze, marble and granite. Not like in Carrara or other famous sculpture cities, but enough to characterise Os as "The Place with Sculptures". A couple of excellent, local sculptors, and also the international sculpture symposium must be given credit for this. The sculpture symposium is a biennial event which has tempted artists from all over the world to spend a couple of summer weeks at Os working with chisel and angel grinder in a big tent at the banks of The Os River. They have used both Italian marble and Norwegian granite, but mostly marble. During the two weeks of the symposium each of the sculptors finishes one sculpture, and it is open for the public to come and watch the sculptors working.
Many of the sculptures from the symposiums have remained at Os, to the great delight of both inhabitants and visitors.
During the month of May 2002 the sculptor Mette Midtseter could open the first sculpture workshop in Western Norway at Lysefjorden, where she has her studio together with some other artists.
"Fritio i Os" - "Time off at Os"
"Fritio i Os" was first arranged in 1978. It is a great cultural event that receives the attention of most people at Os for some hectic November days. Every other year a whole week is devoted to various kinds of music and theatre: traditional concerts, plays, musicals, cabarets, jazz concerts and revues. An exhibition of arts and crafts, where the Os people can show what they are doing in their spare time, is always a part of "Fritio i Os". Most people involved in the cultural life at Os contribute to "Fritio", even if it is not possible for everyone to participate each time.
Music and theatre
Strong music traditions, with choirs and bands at a high level, have traditionally been the most important aspect of the cultural life at Os. That is the reason why several young musicians from Os, mostly jazz musicians, have become professional. A raising star on the national rock scene is Furia, a girl band from Os that has been touring the whole country. However, brass bands and choirs - and the municipal music school for children and young people - are still the cornerstone in the local music life, from which coming stars will grow up. The municipal culture- and music school offers a versatile education in music, dance and art.
Blues and jazz
A weekend at the end of June is the time for the blue notes. Osøren Blues & Jazzfestival has been arranged each summer since 1999, and has attracted an imposing group of musicians at a high national, and even international level. The blues artists are mostly brought to Os from other places, while the jazz artists are generally local. They have developed their skills on the flourishing local music scene. However, the quality of the jazz concerts during the festival is still very high.
At present several artists are working at Os. Some of them are full-time, professional artists, others work on a part-time basis having other sources of income to support them. Many genres are represented by these local artists, ranging from more or less abstract installations to naturalistic oil paintings. Perhaps it is the sculptors who have reached the furthest, with works in both stone and ceramics, wood and bronze. Some artists working two-dimensional have succeeded too. About 30 artists and handicraftsmen have been organised in a network that among other things arrange an annual exhibition. "Os kunstlag" and the municipal culture council have for many years arranged art school for children, with courses twice a year.
The most distinctive art form that has a tradition at Os is rose painting. This local tradition, "The Os-painting", has been developed from the eighteen twenties and further on, and it is the only one of the styles of rose painting in Norway that has an unbroken tradition until today. Rose painting has traditionally been a male profession, but today it is women that carry the tradition on to new generations.
At Os there are different kinds of sporting activities with special emphasis on a few sports. Handball and football are most popular, but other sports also have strong traditions. Race walking has an exceptional position. Kjersti Tysse Plätzer’s silver medal at 20 kilometres in the Olympic Games is the greatest trophy any person from Os has ever won. Otherwise she and other athletes from Søfteland have won a lot of royal cups and other great trophies in race walking. Athletes from Os have also excelled in rowing, swimming and karate. The same goes for the brave men and women in Os Aeroklubb, flying their gliders high up in the air. Os Aeroklubb is one of the most active glider clubs in the country. Otherwise you can enjoy sports ranging from horse sports, shooting and sailing to athletics and most ball games. A recent development is the increasing interest in golf, which has led the golf club to become the biggest sports club. Bjørnefjorden Golfklubb runs a nine hole golf course at Hauge, some hundred metres from Osøyro.
Bergen Airport, Flesland is the closest airport. From the airport, follow the signs to Nesttun and then follow E39. Alternatively, follow the signs to Nesttun until right before the shopping centre Lagunen, from where you follow the signs to Fana and then to Os/Drange (towards Lysøen).
Lysekloster (Monastry of Lyse), ☎ +47 55 55 20 00. The ruins of the monastry built in 1146 by Cistercian monks. The land, and the farm set on it was given to the Cistercian order by the bishop Sigurd, the farm was the biggest in the area at the time. The ruins lie close to the road and they are open to the public at all times, and there are no entry fees. edit
Lysøen, The Lysøen Museum, N-5215 LYSEKLOSTE, ☎ +47 56 30 90 77 (email@example.com, fax: +47 56 30 93 72). 18 May-31 August: M-Sat 12PM – 4PM. Sundays: 11AM - 5PM September: Sundays Only: 12PM - 4PM. 30NOk for Adults and 10NOK for children. Free admission with the Bergen card. This island belonged to Ole Bull, a famous musician. He bought the island in 1872 and drew the original drawings for the special house he built himself. The island is a great place to go for walks, as well as seeing the extraordinary house, as there are many great paths to walk along. You can attend guided tours at every hour, starting 15 minutes after opening time. To get to the island you must take the ferry from Buena quay. The Ferry goes every day: 12PM, 1PM, 2PM, 3PM. Sundays also: 11AM and 4PM. The ferry back goes every day: 1.30PM, 2.30PM, 3:30PM, 4:30PM. Sundays also: 12:30PM and 5:30PM. These fares cost 50NOK for adults and 30NOK for children, this too is free with the Bergen card. The boat has more departures if necessary. Large groups should book in advance. There is a café and museum shop at the island. edit
Solstrand Hotel & Bad, Osøyro N-5200 OS, +47 56 57 11 50 (fax: +47 56 57 11 20, e-mail: ), . The hotel has 135 guest rooms, all individually decorated. The hotel has a restaurant, swimming pool, SPA, bar and a large garden/park area.