Jump to maincontent

Enerhaugen and Hammersborg

  • Houses from the suburbs
    From the suburbs Enerhaugen and Hammersborg Haakon Michael Harris / Norsk Folkemuseum


hristiania’s eastern suburbs, grew up after 1814. Inthe 1700s, there had been only a few poverty-stricken tenant farms here, ownedby Oslo Manor House. A few poor families totaling 22 people lived here in 1801.The timber merchant Jørgen Young bought the area in 1815 and began parceling itout. By 1833, its population had grown to 850.

Due to poverty, drunkenness and crime, Enerhaugen was regarded as a problem area. It was therefore placed under the control of the town policeforce, even if the suburb was part of a neighboring district until the town expansion in 1859.

Conditions had been bettered at Enerhaugen, and its population had grownby the mid-1800s. 1800 people lived there in the 1880s, many of them in littleone-story houses built of logs or planks, often left without outer paneling formany years. Most houses had only one room and a kitchen. If there were otherrooms, these were lived in by additional families, and the kitchen was shared. Garretscould be fitted out in attics. Lodgers were also common.

Houses in Enerhaugen, many left unchanged until the late 1950s, often hada standard far below that which had become usual elsewhere by the postwaryears. There was no running water, for example, causing people who lived here,right in the middle of town, to fetch their water from a pump in the street.The houses were torn down and replaced in 1962-1964 by four large apartmentbuildings designed by the architect Sofus Hougen.


is named after Jen Hammer, who owned land there in the1700s. Its oldest known building was Christ Church built in 1626, with acemetery established in 1654. Several houses were moved there around 1740 fromthe wharf near Akershus Castle.

Hammersborg was built up with tiny wooden, brick and half-timbered housesbalancing on the edge of a cliff, linked by dark and narrow alleyways with gapsleading into little courtyards. This suburb was a funny little world of its ownwith steep stairways and tiny open squares, a jumble of absurd verandas,jutting roofs, galleries and lean-tos.

236 people lived in Hammersborg in 1801, 73 of them under 17 years ofage. The adult male population included 17 laborers and 18 soldiers. Everypossible trade had representatives here, along with hucksters and pedlars.

Most of the adult women were registered as being housewives, along withsome few working women and maid servants. Women worked as seamstresses, weaversand laundresses. Six women lived by selling bread.

Most of the original buildings in Hammersborg were torn down in the 1920swhen the new library building and the Swedish church were built.