Norway’s most famous fictional detective comes to the big screen in October 2017 in The Snowman, based on the thriller by Jo Nesbø.
Shot on location in and around Oslo, the movie takes viewers to every corner of the city, from the glitz and glamour of the newest business districts to the dark alleyways of the old town and the remote, frozen woods of Nordmarka.
If you’re ready to follow in Harry Hole’s footsteps, then check out our spoiler-free list of the various film and book locations you can visit here in Oslo. Just keep a watchful out eye for any snowmen!
Sofies Gate 5
Harry Hole’s home is at number 5, Sofies Gate – it’s a quiet backstreet just a stone’s throw from the busy boulevard of Pilestredet. The din of traffic and screech of the tram echo off the brick-and-stone facades lining this narrow road, while the occasional student meanders past on their way to classes in the nearby college.
A typical working-class apartment block from the late 1800s, the beige building would be completely unremarkable if not for its appearance in the Nesbø’s books. The entrance is actually around the corner, in a narrow alleyway facing a concrete wall, and is definitely worth a look.
While there’s no sign to indicate the building’s central role in the books, residents have given a subtle nod to their fictional neighbour by including Harry Hole’s name on the entryway buzzer. Give it a ring if you dare and see who answers.
You can visit Hole’s house by hopping off trams 11 or 17 at the Frydenlund stop, near the intersection of Sofies Gate and Pilestredet. From here you can stroll uphill along Sofies Gate towards the St. Hanshuagen neighborhood, which features in many of Harry Hole’s adventures and is the site of his favourite watering hole, Restaurant Schrøder.
Waldemar Thanes gate 8
We’ve mentioned Restaurant Schrøder before as a good place for traditional Norwegian food, but it’s also known locally as the favourite haunt of Harry Hole, who comes here when he needs a quick bite or a few drinks while mulling over a case.
Schrøder’s brown walls and red-and-white-checked tablecloths have changed little over the years, as the faded photos on the restaurant’s walls attest. The place was once known for its good food and cheap beer, drawing in thirty students, blue-collar workers from the surrounding neighborhood, and the occasional hard-nosed, brooding detective.
Over time the prices have increased and the restaurant has changed hands several times, but the ambiance remains more or less the same, and the food is still straightforward and pretty good. Restaurant Schrøder is a 15-minute walk from downtown, or can be reached by catching the 21 bus which stops just down the street.
Crime tours in Oslo
If you’re fascinated by Scandinavia’s dark underbelly then you might want to check out this special crime tour, which visits some of the places where real crimes have been committed across Oslo. It also gives you a chance to learn about Norway’s unique approach to dealing with people who break the law.
Oslo Police Headquarters
Much of the drama and deliberation surrounding the hunt for the Snowman killer takes place at Oslo’s Central Police Headquarters, or Politihuset in Norwegian. It’s located in the Grønland neighbourhood on Oslo’s East Side.
While usually not a tourist attraction in its own right, fans of Harry Hole won’t be disappointed with a stroll by the building, the neighbouring jail and the surrounding park, all of which have been vividly described time and again throughout the Harry Hole series.
You can also enter the main lobby of the headquarters and view several display cases of police memorabilia throughout the ages. The building is a 10-minute walk from the central train station, and can also be reached by bus 37.
Oslo City Hall
The magnificent art and architecture of Oslo’s monumental city hall is prominently displayed during Arve Støp’s grand gala in The Snowman. Overlooking the Aker Brygge harbour district, Oslo City Hall is one of capital’s most iconic buildings and a must-see for anyone visiting the city. The labour-inspired interior is lavishly decorated with vibrant murals depicting the struggles, triumphs, and enduring solidarity of the city’s workers and residents. The cavernous central hall is also the location of the annual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
As it’s a public building, the City Hall is free to enter during opening hours. Various informational signs are scattered throughout the building, allowing you to take a leisurely self-guided tour throughout the building’s various rooms, many of which you’re sure to recognise from the film.
Nestled a short walk away from the nude statues and great granite column of intertwined figures at Vigeland Sculpture Park, the quiet residential neighbourhood of Hoff can easily seem a world away from the noise and hustle of the city.
Its quaint wooden houses, low-slung apartment blocks and small, meandering streets project an atmosphere of suburban calm. Yet it was here that, in the book, a young mother suddenly vanished one night without a trace, save for her pink scarf, which was found wrapped around a snowman in the front yard. The disquieting details of this disappearance prompted Harry Hole to investigate personally, launching him into the labyrinth of the Snowman murders and placing Hoff in a central role for the horrifying events to come.
Hoff and the surrounding neighborhoods of Skøyen and Smestad can be easily explored on foot, and are bisected by tram and subway lines which are both a short ride away from Majorstua and the city center. This area is typical of most Norwegian suburbs, and will give you a clear sense of the residential neighborhoods often described by Nesbø in his murder mysteries.