This site uses technical, analytics and third-party cookies.
By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies.

Preferences cookies



Historical notes on the area where the Embassy is located and on the Chancery and Residence buildings.

The Inkognito “løkke”

Inkognito, known since the end of 1600, was one of the numerous “løkker”, fenced green spaces, existing in Oslo, where people could stroll, meet, let the children play, organise parties and meetings. The løkker were originally public and accessible to everyone, but the wealthiest families soon managed to win the purchase and consequently the right of ownership. Some areas of Oslo still retain the memory of the original løkke in their names (Grünerløkka, Tullinløkka, Ruseløkka, Rodeløkka).

The Inkognito løkke became private property as early as 1697 and the first villa built in it (today at number 49 of Parkveien) was built around 1700. From 1820 part of the property had to be sold due to the decision to build the Royal Palace (begun in 1824 and completed in 1848) on the Bellevue hillock, in the immediate vicinity of the Inkognito løkke.

The long avenue leading to the villa started from the area now called Aker Brygge and a small part of the avenue is preserved and recognizable in the park area aroundthe Royal Palace called the Queen’s Park (Dronningsparken).

The villa was called Inkognito and was owned by Bernt Anker, one of the richest and most influential men at the time. The name Inkognito probably derives from the fact that the villa was located in an area then far from the city centre and therefore “hidden”.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The street Inkognitogaten

Inkognitogaten is today a street in Oslo located in an area immediately behind the Royal Palace in the Frogner district. The street begins at the intersection with Uranienborgveien and runs parallel to the park of the Royal Palace going south and ending at the intersection with Henrik Ibsens gate (formerly Drammensveien).

Inkognitogaten got its name from the Inkognito løkkein 1866.

When the Royal Palace was built, starting in 1840, it was decided to build a series of villas in the vicinity of the Palace which formed the beginning of what was later called Vestkant (West area). Many of the villas in Inkognitogata were built in the 1860s and most of them still exist, are well maintained and included in the “yellow list” of the Municipality of Oslo on protected buildings, unlike what happened in other adjacent streets, such as Oscarsgate, where, due to demographicg rowth and the need to create numerous new dwellings, many villas were demolished and replaced by apartment buildings.

Numerous villas were designed and built by the Lenschow family of master builders, who carried out many works in the district called Bag Slottet (“behind the Royal Palace”) in the years 1860-1870. Born in 1807 in Mecklenburg, Asmus Lenschow moved to Kristiania and became one of the most well-known and active builders of the city from 1830. Among his works there is a large number of villas in Homansbyen, the Frydenlund brewery in Oslo (1859) and the Schou Brewery in Trondheim (1872). The villas in Homansbyen, of which the neo-Gothic villa located in Inkognitogaten 1 is particularly noteworthy, were designed by Lenschow himself or by the architect Georg Bull and built by Lenschow either at his own expense or on commission. Asmus Lenschow died in 1883, but his three sons, also architects, continued their father’s work.

Today Inkognitogaten has over 30 house numbers (1-35, 2-34) and hosts several diplomatic missions including the embassies of South Korea, Italy and Sweden. In Inkognitogata are also located the representative villa of the Norwegian Government, known as Villa Parafina, and the Prime Minister’s Residence, following the decision of the Parliament, in March 2004, to build a government complex that included the three properties located at Parkveien 45, Riddevoldsgate 2 and Inkognitogaten 18.

The Chancery – Inkognitogaten 7

Inkognitogaten 7 was registered in 1868 and built by Asmus Lenschow at his own expense. Originally the house had two apartments, one on each floor. The villa was inhabited starting from 1870-80.

In 1875, the Bank Manager Bertram Dybwad and the merchant Johan Løken lived in Inkognitogata 7 with their respective families. Løken continued to live in the house for many years and still lived there in 1900, with Colonel Nicolai Magnus Widerberg and family as tenants.

In the years 1910-1914 several changes were made. Among other things, the drive through carport, an annex and the garage were built upon a project by architect Holger Sinding-Larsen, and also another annex designed by Arnstein Arneberg. These changes were made for the sugar plantation manager and consul Hans Peter Faye.

In 1914-1918 the court chamberlain Haakon Mathisen lived in Inkognitogata 7 and in 1929 the merchant, and first consul general of the Czech Republic, Ingwald Nielsen and his family. When Ingwald Nielsen’s widow Rachel died in 1962 the property was inherited by their only son, Odd Nielsen. The Italian State rented the villa in the mid-1960s and then bought it on 30 December 1983.

The Residence – Inkognitogaten 5

Similarly to Inkognitogaten 7, Inkognitogaten 5 was also built in 1868 by Asmus Lenschow and inhabited from 1891-92.

Architecturally, Inkognitogaten 5 is a magnificent Tudor style villa (Romantic Gothic) with a characteristic corner tower on the left. In 1874, permission was sought from the Municipality for the construction of a stable based on designs by Anders Henrik Lenschow, son of Asmus Lenschow.

Inkognitogaten 5 also had originally two apartments, one on each floor, clearly deducible from the entrance and the main staircase. In 1891-92 until 1916-17 Petra Andresen (born Petra Juell on 2.10.1829, died on 25.09.1917) lived in the villa. She was the widow of Johan Henrik Andresen, owner of Tidemands Tobakk Fabrik and heir to one of the wealthiest Norwegian families. In 1918, the banker Christie Heiberg lived in Inkognitogaten 5 and built a central heating system and a small annex with toilet. The Italian State bought the villa from the banker on 30 March 1920. In 1925 the Embassy of Italy built a garage and expanded the villa at the rear with a new area to be used as dwelling.

In 1927 the following Italian Legation was registered: Compans di Brichanteu C., “gesandt” – Roncalli di Montorio Guido, count – Quentin F, naval attaché – FierGiulio, aeronautical attaché – Conti G.A. chancellor.

Sources: Statsarkivet, Byantikvaren, Oslo Kommune
Various internet sources (, etc.)

Book about the Residence: “La Villa di Inkognitogaten” / “Villaen i Inkognitogaten” by Gaetano Cortese

The Norwegian version of the book can be downloaded here (1. part) and here (2. part).

Other books about Italian Embassies in the world: