The name Sagene itself is the plural of the Norwegian word for "saw", reflecting all the old industrial mechanical saws powered by the river Akerselva in this area in the 1800s and early 1900s.
Running through the borough of Sagene is the river Akerselva which has contributed in shaping the culture and history of the borough. The river has been exploited for energy, and along it for a thousand years, mills and turbines have been operating.
Norway's oldest industrial building - Glads papermill - is located in Sagene. The cradle of industrialism in Norway stood here in the mid 1800s with establishments such as Graahs spinnery and Hjula weavery. Author Oskar Braaten (1881-1939) grew up and got inspiration for his books in this environment.
Today the old factories are filled by modern industries, in large parts with media, information technology (IT) and graphical businesses.
Small wooden houses along the streets Maridalsveien and Sandakerveien are memories of the incoming dwellings of the 1700s, while the laborers' housing of the 1800s was built in concrete.
The Sagene Church, designed by architect Christian Furst, was opened in 1891 and is monumental for the area. The altarpiece is a copy of the one in the cathedral in Antwerpen
After the First World War the area around Torshov (now part of the borough of Sagene) and Sagene was planned to be a "city within the city" with some 2,000 apartments. This can still be experienced in Torshov today. The esteemed Soria Moria building from 1928 houses theatre, cinemas, restaurants and other cultural events and offerings.
The main street is called Vogts gate. and it's in Torshov. The tram goes down this street, which is the most busy street in the Sagene/Torshov borough. The street is highly urbanised with plenty of stores and coffee shops. Vogts gate is in the heart of Torshov.
The borough of Sagene includes the areas of Sagene, Bjølsen, Iladalen, Sandaker, Åsen and Torshov. It is the smallest borough of Oslo, but compared to its relatively small size, it has a noteworthy population by Norwegian standards. In the west its border is the street Uelandsgate and the cemetery (gravlund) Nordre gravlund. In the north it borders Tåsen and Storo. The border then follows the valley Torshovdalen in the east, and borders the areas of Rodeløkka and Grünerløkka is the south.
In 2003 Sagene was one of the four boroughs in Oslo with direct elections to the boroughs council, the rest being appointed by the city council. During the period 2003-2007 the leader of the burough concil was Tone Tellevik Dahl from the Labour party, with her deputy being Jan Fredrik Pedersen from the Socialist Left Party. The borough council consisted of 5 representatives for the Socialist Left, 4 for Labour, 2 each for Conservatives and Progress and 1 each for the Red Electoral Alliance and the Liberals. In the 2007 borough election Labour became the largest party, with 5 representatives, the Socialist Left and the Conservatives both getting 3 seats, the Liberals 2 and Progress and the Red Electoral Alliance 1 each.
Skeid is traditionally a Torshov team