The exhibition Back To The 80s in Oslo at The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is a reminder of this decade of contrasts. It helps us to understand that history is happening here and now, that there is no coincidence and that we’re going to face it again. The story is not over – and the 80’s are not yet forgotten.

Back to the 80s in Oslo Norway #2
Anyone remember these fashions or Miami Vice?

I was in my 30s at the time and remember much of this exhibition well. Some of us have spent almost 20 years trying to forget the 1980s. We have destroyed the images of ourselves with short hair on top and long in the neck (maybe hair everywhere, sprayed and teased up to a fur balls the size of the sun). We have sent Poco Loco-sweaters, shoulder pads and our white washed jeans to Africa. We have done our best to suppress the music that can best be described as a crime against humanity, like Kenny G’s Songbird, Modern Talking, Brother Louie or the Beach Boys’ Kokomo.
Back to the 80s in Oslo Norway #3
Do you still have you’re LPs and enjoy vinyl?

The girls are no longer lounging in their pleather sofas and dreaming of Pat Sharp, Don Johnson and Patrick Swayze, but they still blush mysteriously when they remember their dates at Café Checkmate with newly rich Yuppies (young upwardly mobile professional individuals) and tanned UN soldiers home on leave from the war in Lebanon.
Back to the 80s in Oslo Norway #4 Back to the 80s in Oslo Norway #5
No girls in the sofa when I was there, but I still enjoyed the Stress Less :-)

For many of us the 1980s represents a historical base point which we have partly succeeded in forgetting. But, as Bruce Springsteen sings in The Riverside from 1980; Memories come back to Haunt me. The exhibition shows that the 80s was a decade that perhaps more than anything else was characterized by sharp contrasts; between community involvement and individualism – despair and optimism as well as wealth and poverty – black and pastel, Punk Rock and dance pop and even between fear and liberation. All this was well illustrated at stands, displays rooms and furnishings:
Back to the 80s in Oslo Norway #1
The exhibition room at The Folk Museum.

Laughter and suspense:
While the music of pop artists was positive and upbeat, the 80s began with intense fear at the height of the Cold War, right wing politics of The Reagan administration and Margret Thatcher. Fortunately it ended with liberation, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and a completely changed political climate.
Back to the 80s in Oslo Norway #6
Posters of pop icons: Madonna, Duran Duran, Michel Jackson, Bonjovi and Dire Straits.

Along the way, we invented CD players and computers bread and milk became available around the clock, environmentalists who were more than hippies and a housing boom. The banks could lend us money to buy new homes. Having fun was allowed again. Here is a collection of stands that might jog your memory:
Back to the 80s in Oslo Norway #8 Back to the 80s in Oslo Norway #7
Left: Mac & Osborn (I had both!) – Right: TV & Videogames
Back to the 80s in Oslo Norway #9 Back to the 80s in Oslo Norway #10
Left: Children become consumers with Star Wars and designer clothes – Right: Adults got VHF cassette players.

It was an impressive and very visual exhibition taking me right down memory lane from the decade when I got finished my college years and got my masters degree in economics, started my career as a sales trainee, had my first born – a daughter, played A-Ha’s big hit Take on Me on my record player, bought my first Volvo and experienced the introduction of micro computers (do you remember spread sheets like SuperCalc and VisiCalc or WordPerfect?). What a blast from the past.

OsloBG2010 at RennyBAThis is an example of the kinds of exhibition you may see at The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. Here are some other earlier posts from there: Lefse and rural farmhouse from Norway and Folk Dance in Bunad from Norway.
It’s at Bygdøy island, just 20 minuets by boat or buss from Oslo, where you also find the Maritime, Viking Ship, KonTiki and even more museums. All this will be at your disposal at the Oslo Blog Gathering in Oslo in August this year. Even more: if you join us and book the Program Fee – entrance to these museums will be included! Click the logo to the left to read the program and how you can participant at a compact three days program to explore the city and Norway’s history, culture and traditions!


  1. I don’t know about others, pop musics in the 80’s are still the best to me with MJ, Madonna, Police, Wham and so on though I was still in secondary school. Great post.It reminds me of my school time… :)

  2. i was born in 1980.. so my memories of the 80’s would be more of playing. hehehe ;p

  3. Sounds like a wonderful exhibition, Renny.

    I loved A-Ha, ‘Take on Me’ is a song I still listen to on my iPod- the video that went with it was ground breaking. To me the music was great but the fashion is best forgotten (even if it was slightly better than the dreaded 70s!)

  4. Dear Renny,
    I enjoyed the pictures you published about your visit at the Back to the 80s exhibition which I didn’t see when I came to Oslo in September. In the 80s I was an adolescent and I used to play “Take on me” again and again, like your daughter^_^ I miss the 80s, it was a great time and I regret not seeing the exhibition, but the thing is I didn’t have much time :((( By the way, were the sofa and the armchair at the exhibition comfortable??^_* Best regards to you and your wife from Italy, Letizia^_^

  5. I would love to see that….I was a teenager in the 80’s and talk about it all the time to my now teenager. I loved the 80’s!

  6. Thanks for sharing the eightees at museum!!! My best memories are of course with Madonna, M. Jackson and Police. We had no mobilphone but I was happy when now I never go out without it.It was the time of my studies too and the time I met Pierre in a studient party!!! I imagine your feeling walking through the 80 s memories!!!

  7. I was young in the 80’s ………..LOL
    Fantastic post :-)
    It was a wonderful time the 80’s !!!

  8. That looks like a fascinating exhibition. Looking back, the 80s are truly fascinating: a weird mix of brazen excitement and tasteless squalor.

    I remember as soon as the 90s came around, we were all delighted to throw off the shackles of the 80s! But looking back, I find myself more impressed than I was at the time.

  9. I was born in 1983 so I was too young to remember a lot of the 80s. That said, I recognized most of the vinyls and I still listen to Genesis, Phil Collins etc.

    I’d love to see a similar exhibition in Canada!

  10. I was still young at that time… give me back the 80s !

  11. I still think the toys were cool back then. As for the computers, yeesh I can’t get over how they were ever used.

  12. yeah,i watched miami vice when i was a kid. my parents used to have LPs though i dont have even one…why is that? :D

    oh,look at that chair! hubby fancied that chair and finally,he got one this new year sale! :D now i can relate why he wanted it so bad :D

    have a great week ahead Renny,Diane,and the whole family!!

  13. What an interesting exhibition! I was a teen in the 80s and sported the asymetrical high hair with bright clothing. Thanks for sharing your photos which brought back some hilarious memories.

  14. What a fun exhibition! I remember everything. :-)

  15. Nice exhibition ! I was 8 years in 1980. But I was remenber the music and the close of my parents jajajajaj
    hugs Reny

  16. I have at least 9 of the records that was in the picture.
    Another interesting post.

  17. Oh, the eighties! Yes, we’ve been there – and it seemed like it was only yesterday! where did the years goooo????

    Must have been fun to see all this again :-)

  18. What an amazing exhibition! These images bring up so many memories. I loved the 80’s even if it’s the decade that taste forgot :-D

  19. When I think of the 80s it does not sound that long ago but it is. That is when I started working in my last job, a multinational corporation, and I worked there almost 26 years!

  20. sir can you tell me how old are you in ’80s ?

  21. I was in my early 20s then. i remember the awful shoulder pads. I can’t believe I put them on to look older. yucks.

  22. A blast from the past… love the Miami Vice stuff… (And my gosh – did people really dress like that?) ;-)

  23. Thanks for the trip down memory lane! Wonderful!

  24. The 80s weren’t my favorite decade. And I gave my LP’s to my ex-husband because I could see we were going to CD’s although I resisted for years and years. I miss the covers…..they were so cool.

  25. My girlfriend would lost her head over all those 80s stuff :)

  26. 80’s are still respected this year of 2010. There are lots of revival fashion statement from 80′ that still recognize today

  27. nice museum, can we play chess there ?

  28. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.

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