Open Air Museums - Oslo vs. Stockholm

On my second day in Oslo I visited the Norsk Folkemuseum which is an open-air museum on the peninsula Bygdøy. It displays Norwegian architecture and culture throughout the centuries and is quite similar to the open-air museum Skansen in Stockholm.

In fact, I compared the two museums with each other in my mind the whole time I was there. Therefore I wanted to compare the two today for you, instead of just presenting the Folkemuseum. You can read my post on Skansen here.

I got a lot of feedback on my Skansen post from people saying that they've never visited (or even heard from) an open-air museum. As I grew up in a village that was situated only 10 miles from the next open-air museum, which we also visited at least every two years, this is quite astounding for me.

So, basically open-air museums consist of about 100 buildings from either the entire country (as in Folkemuseum or Skansen) or from only a particular area (as in the one I visited countless times in my childhood). Usually you can visit the inside of the buildings which are equipped with furniture of the time they were build and often you can also find actors there who act as if they are people from the 18th century for instance.

Open-air museums also are composed as one or several little villages with one main village or square where events take place regularly.

So, let's do a little compare and contrast now. I decided to only include pictures from the Folkemuseum as you've already seen the ones from Skansen in my older post or can do so here.

Established in:

  • Folkemuseum was founded in 1894
  • Skansen is the very first open-air museum of the world, established in 1891
Norsk Folkemuseum

Number of buildings:

  • Folkemuseum has about 160 buildings
  • Skansen displays about 150 buildings

Oldest building:

  • The Gol Stave Church at Folkemuseum was build in 1200
Norsk Folkemuseum
  • the oldest building in Skansen is from the 14th century and actually from Norway. It's the only non-Swedish building at Skansen though.


  • There are exhibitions on Norwegian folklore and traditional customs in a separate building next to the entrance and there even is an apartment building in Folkemuseum which was build in Oslo and where you can visit a typical flat of the 1920s and one of Indian immigrants to Norway in the 1990s. Furthermore you can find a pharmacy, a bank, several hampsteads and an old corner shop there.
Norsk Folkemuseum
Norsk Folkemuseum
  • There is no special exhibition at Skansen but instead a few buildings where life in the 18th and 19th century is reenacted, for instance a pottery, a school, an engraver’s workshop, a shoemaker’s shop and a bakery.


  • Folkemuseum has typical Norwegian farm animals such as sheep and pigs right next to a typical farm.
Norsk Folkemuseum
  • There is a zoo and an aquarium at Skansen. The zoo focusses on 75 different Nordic animal species such as reindeer, elk, wolves and bears whereas the aquarium has about 200 different exotic animals such as snakes and spiders.


  • In summer you can watch a traditional Norwegian folk dance group perform and there are also special events like sheep sharing, potato days and spooky nights year round. Of course Christmas can be celebrated at Folkemuseum too.
  • Every Swedish holiday can be celebrated at Skansen: Midsommar, Walpurgis Night, the Swedish National Day or Christmas. In addition there are workshops, theatre plays, pony-riding and lectures on the animals almost every day.


  • Folkemuseum is situated on the peninsula Bygdoy. Unfortunately it's so far away from the city centre that you can't walk there but you can go by bike, bus or ferry. The bus however is always crowded in summertime and it takes about 45mins to Oslo's city centre during rush hour.
  • Skansen is situated on the island Djurgarden in Östermalm. It is a 15mins walk from Östermalm's centre or you can just take the bus or tram from Stockholm Central Station.

Entrance fee:

  •  An adult ticket for Folkemuseum costs 110NOK year round (13€)
  • Admission to Skansen costs between 100SEK and 170SEK (11€ - 18€) depending on the season


  • The old church is just gorgeous and so is the location of the Folkemuseum in the woods!
Norsk Folkemuseum
  • I absolutely loved the glassblowing demonstrations, the zoo, the market in the square in summer and the view over Stockholm!


  • Even though the Folkemuseum was situated in the woods, there was a road right next to it which destroyed the image of time travel a little but other than that, it's wonderful there!
  • I honestly can't think of any. Skansen is situated on a hill on an island so no traffic there.


Skansen and Folkemuseum are same same but different. I would absolutely love to visit both museums again and can only recommend you to do so too. I found Skansen a little bit more crowded than the Folkemuseum but then again, the area of the latter is much bigger.

Apart from that, the buildings were of course typical Swedish and typical Norwegian and although the two cultures have a lot in common, they're not the same which is another reason why you should visit both!