Looking out across the Oslo fjord, with its islands and sandy beaches, it is easy to forget that the Norwegian economy is in difficulty.
As oil prices have collapsed, it’s become clear that Norway has caught what used to be called the Dutch disease – an overreliance on one industry, in this case the oil and gas sector.
With its upmarket waterfront restaurants and the Barcode office blocks, the Sorenga dockside development serves as a poignant reminder of how prosperous Norway had become while the going was still good.
“Where once there was a container port, there is now housing,” says Vibecke Lyse Augdal, managing director of property rentals company Utleiemegleren, as she takes in the view from a luxury flat at this natural extension to the east of Oslo’s Fjord City development.
“We’re just a few yards from the central station and the opera quarter, and soon we’ll have the Munch museum and the Oslo public library here too.”
As the Norwegian economy bounced back following the 2008 financial crisis, the Norwegian people enjoyed enviable prosperity.
Hence, at a time when much of the rest of the world was undergoing a prolonged period of painful economic austerity, Norway had money to burn on prestigious waterfront developments such as Sorenga.