The Norway Trade Fairs Foundation

The Norway Trade Fairs Foundation is a self-owned foundation. It owns and operates NOVA Spektrum in Lillestrøm and Oslo Spektrum.

The foundation’s purpose is to create value for Norwegian and international business by ensuring a market-friendly and cost-effective offering to organizers, exhibitors and visitors.

The board and the nomination committee are composed of representatives from the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise and Virke.


NOVA Spektrum is an international arena for trade fairs, exhibitions, conventions, conferences, banquets, concerts, events and related activities. NOVA Spektrum was Norway Trade Fairs until 18 November 2021.

NOVA Spektrum arranges both trade fairs and exhibitions open to the public. Some of the largest events are Oslo Design Fair (formerly Gave & Interiør), Nor-Shipping, UMAMI ARENA (formerly SMAK), Oslo Motor Show, Hagemessen, Camp Villmark and Sjøen for Alle. Nova Spektrum also rents out premises to external organizers of trade fairs, and contributes to the arranging of concerts, conventions and other events.

NOVA Spektrum’s locations can accommodate everything from large to small trade fairs, open exhibitions, corporate events or seminars combined with exhibitions, as well as major international conventions, conferences, seminars, kick-offs or concerts.

The exhibition centre consists of seven large and small halls, together providing 39,000 m2 of exhibition space for trade fairs and events. At NOVA Spektrum, conventions can also arranged for up to 10,000 participants, with a plenary hall for 6,000 participants. The centre meets international standards, with 55 meeting rooms of all sizes. Over 25 of the meeting rooms can accommodate over 100 people. In the halls, there is room for 6,000 people for dinner, 2,500 people for a banquet at round tables, or 12,000 people for a standing concert.


Oslo Spektrum, officially Oslo Spektrum Arena ANS, is an indoor multi-purpose arena for concerts, sporting events and major trade fairs in Norway. The arena opened in December 1990 and had its first full year of operation in 1991. In December 2005, Norway Trade Fairs took over as owners.

With up to 9,700 seats, Oslo Spektrum is regularly used as a concert venue for international artists visiting Oslo. In addition, the arena houses a number of other types of events including sporting events, trade fairs and conferences. Oslo Spektrum is centrally located in downtown Oslo, close to Oslo Central Station and the Oslo Bus Terminal.


Through its business activities, the Norway Trade Fairs Foundation has hosted Norway’s largest trade fair successes for almost 100 years, 40 of them at Sjølyst. For its first 50 years, Norway Trade Fairs played a major role in the development and presentation of Norwegian business and industry, both in Norway and abroad.

In 1918, a trade fair committee consisting of representatives from the major business organizations in Norway was appointed on the initiative of the business community. The committee was to prepare a plan for the establishment of a Norwegian trade fair. The need arose in the period after the First World War when Norway was in danger of being flooded with foreign goods.

Norges Varemesse 1922 at Akershus festning.

The first major national fair took place at Akershus Fortress from 5-12 September 1920. The opening was solemnly attended by Haakon VII. Two-hundred and eighty companies were present, with 8,000 registered buyers and 53,000 visitors. National fairs were held annually thereafter, rotating between Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen and Stavanger.

In 1925, Norway Trade Fairs became an association, with representatives from the most important business organizations in Norway.

Norway Trade Fairs moved from Akershus Fortress to its own exhibition centre at Sjølyst in 1962. The 14th National Fair in 1958 was the last at Akershus Fortress, and in August 1959 the mayor and Norway Trade Fairs chairman Rolf Stranger laid the cornerstone for the new building at Sjølyst. On 3 May 1962, Olav V opened the 15th National Fair, as the first exhibition in its own trade fair centre, Sjølystsenteret. After the move, the number of annual exhibitions increased from three in 1962 to 24 in 1970.

The national focus was terminated in 1963, when Norway Trade Fairs also began arranging exhibitions with foreign exhibitors.

The car show in 1964 became the most visited exhibition of all time, with 172,000 visitors.

In the early 1970s, the business expanded. The organization was further developed and the number of events increased. During these years, the foundation was laid for a number of the exhibitions that are today among Norway Trade Fairs’ most important events.

The reed boat RA from Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition came to Norway in 1973 in very poor condition, and the city had no premises to house it. Norway Trade Fairs offered to make the D-hall available. Here RA was restored by Indians from Lake Titicaca in Peru, who lived and took their meals in the building during the restoration period.

In 1981, Norway Trade Fairs became a foundation, having been an association since 1925.

The exhibition building was hit by a large fire in 1984. The exhibition Sjøen for Alle was nevertheless arranged only 10 days after the fire. Reconstruction and a new entryway were completed the following year, and the new entrance made it possible to arrange several exhibitions at the same time. During the reconstruction, the exhibition area was increased by 3,000 m2, the restaurant was placed above the new entrance, and the Rica chain took over catering.

A new exhibition and parking complex was completed in 1989. Sjølystsenteret thus became the largest exhibition facility in Norway, and served as a landmark at the main access road to Oslo from the west until the relocation of the business to Lillestrøm in 2002. 

In 1991, Norway Trade Fairs had 5,300 exhibitors and 575,000 visitors, a record for trade fairs in Norway. The following year (1992), the facility at Sjølyst was further expanded to include a new conference centre. The entire facility now amounted to 65,000 m2 including garage facilities, of which exhibition halls made up 24,000 m2. The highest number of events in a single year was 42 in 1999. Norway Trade Fairs arranged a total of approx. 1050 exhibitions at Sjølyst, with a total of 15 million visitors attending the events.

After 40 years at Sjølyst, Norway Trade Fairs moved to new premises in Lillestrøm in August 2002. The new, modern trade fair and convention facility is 59,000 m2, of which exhibition halls make up 39,000 m2. The facility has associated hotel facilities under the management of the Olav Thon Group. In 2006, Norway Trade Fairs acquired Oslo Spektrum and took over operations. Located centrally in Oslo and Lillestrøm, both arenas host exhibitions, concerts, conferences, conventions and other events.

Even with a new trade fair centre, there was a need for additional hall space to be able to host larger exhibitions. Another hall was therefore commissioned, and Hall E was completed on 1 December 2008. The administration moved from rented office space at Thon Hotel Arena to the second floor of the new exhibition hall.

On 18 November 2021, the exhibition and event centre Norway Trade Fairs changed its name to NOVA Spektrum.