Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oslo Open Houses 2008: the Stock Exchange

OK, so I am the slowest blogger ever ... we all know that. That's just how it is, I'm learning to live with it. Now let's all have fun looking at some not very good pictures I took in September! Yay!

OK, so, the weekend of September 13th & 14th last year there was an event here in Oslo which should have been really big but wasn't. It was so weird, they hardly advertised it, I only heard about it from my mother by coincidence, I hardly saw it mentioned in the media or anywhere else. Only when I actually went looking for the info because I already knew about it. Very strange. The event was a collaboration between several organizations - Statsbygg, the state-owned building company, the Norwegian association of landscapers, ditto of ... what, interior designers? I know, right?? And also the Oslo Architects Association. Basically a whole bunch of places that are normally closed to the public were open to visitors that weekend. And entry was free everywhere. It was so cool, all those places should have been packed! But with pretty much no advertising I guess hardly anyone heard about it. I hope they do it again this year ... even with the shoddy turnouts last year ... >:-(

This all sounded very interesting and unmissable, so KAS and I decided we had to catch some of this. We looked through the programs and picked two places we wanted to go to. The first was the Stock Exchange down by the harbor. This building was originally constructed in the late 1820s; back then it was quite small, though - the structure was expanded in 1909-10 to pretty close to its present look. It's quite an imposing building ... at least if you don't look too closely ... ;-)

The exterior. Front of the building, obviously. The harbor area's down to the left. KAS in the foreground to the left, random stranger in the background to the right.

The entry hall ... picture taken from the second floor. Pretty nice.

Now, look closely at this. Detail of the staircase. Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, marble was considered very fancy and it was generally felt to be the thing to do to build important structures of expensive stone. Unfortunately, we were basically dirt poor. No money for stone. So what we did was to build in wood - the way we'd always done - and then paint it to look like marble. ;-)

The entry hall again, seen from the stairs looking down. I'm sorry it's so blurry. :-(

KAS by an old blackboard ... a remnant from the days before computers. The text on it says 'Bonds - Stocks - Company - Seller - Buyer'.

Again, the age of computers isn't that old. This board was used to display the current exchange rate. They've left it as it was the last time they used it ... August 30th, 1991. That's actually kind of mindboggling when you think about it. I can't tell what the Icelandic crown was worth back then because of the glare from the flash ... that might have been interesting. Oh well, Google is my friend, if I'm really interested ...

The dining hall. Now this really was fancy. The light wasn't very good for taking pictures, though ... at least not with my old camera which was all I had then. Alas.

The dining hall again. The walls were lined with portraits of rich white men ... all the directors the place has had for the past 190 years.

V. fancy chandelier, of course. I mean, hello. The ceiling was really gorgeous ... very detailed ... it just doesn't show too well in this picture. Again, sorry. :-(

The floor ... !! Where, I presume, it all goes down. It's not exactly New York, is it ... >:-)

On our way to our next destination we passed June 7th Square, where the flowers were blossoming beautifully in a way that made it seem rather unlikely that it was in fact mid-September in Oslo. Climate changes, anyone ... ?

For more info on the Oslo Stock Exchange and its history, go here (in Norwegian, I'm afraid). The Open Houses 2008 program here.


DES said...

The reason why “it's not exactly New York” is that nothing actually goes down on the floor... Everything is computerized, and since 1999, traders sit in their own offices all over the country rather than on the exchange floor.

Paz said...

cool to get into those places that are never opened, thanks for sharing

Leisha Camden said...

DES: That's not my point though. It doesn't matter where the traders sit, here, there or anywhere. My point is that this place is tiny. That's why it's not New York.

Paz: It is cool, that's why we were surprised that it was so badly advertised, they could have gotten a huge response if they'd done it 'properly'. It was almost enough to make us think that they didn't really want to be doing it ... so to get out of having to do it again next year they just didn't advertise it, and now this year they will be able to say Oh, there's no point doing it again, hardly anyone came last year. I know, paranoid much?? But it does kind of make sense, in a twisted way ...