Oslo is the capital and the most populous city in Norway. It was founded around 1000 AD as trading hub and later became a capital around 1300. Today, the city of Oslo has a population of 648,000, while the greater metropolitan area has a population of 1,502,604. The population is currently increasing at record rates, making it the fastest growing major city in Europe. This growth stems for the most part from international immigration and related high birth rates, but also from intra-national migration. The immigrant population in the city is growing somewhat faster than the Norwegian population, and in the city proper this is now more than 25% of the total.
Oslo is the economic and governmental centre of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. It is an important centre for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe. The city is home to many companies within the maritime sector, some of which are among the world’s largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers.