The area belonged to Aker municipality until 1858, when it was incorporated into Christiania (Oslo). It was made into a park on Thorvald Meyer's orders in the 1860s. Having developed the neighborhood Grünerløkka, Meyer gave the park Birkelunden to the municipality in 1882. It received major renovations between 1916 and 1920 and 1984 and 1986. In 1920 it was the intention to create a children's playground as well as a small ice rink. A music pavilion was added in 1926, and a small pool added between 1927 and 1928. The park also has several monuments, including a monument to Norwegian volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. Other major parks in the area are Olaf Ryes plass, Sofienbergparken and Tøyenparken.
The park is surrounded by four streets, and housing three and four storeys tall, mostly built in the 1870s and 1880s. Grünerløkka School adjacent to the park was taken into use in 1895, and on the opposite side of the park is found Paulus Church from 1892.
In 2006 the park, school, church and fifteen blocks in the surrounding urban area was put under strict regulations, prohibiting any visible changes to the city environment. According to the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment, it was the first "preservation of a cultural [physical] environment in a city"; earlier the cultural environments Havråtunet, Sogndalsstrand, Utstein Abbey, Neiden and Kongsberg Silver Works had been preserved.
- Tvedt, Knut Are, ed. (2000). "Grünerløkka". Oslo byleksikon (4th ed.). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. pp. 170–171. ISBN 82-573-0815-3.
- Tvedt, Knut Are, ed. (2000). "Birkelunden". Oslo byleksikon (4th ed.). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. p. 62. ISBN 82-573-0815-3.
- Tvedt, Knut Are, ed. (2000). "Grünerløkka skole". Oslo byleksikon (4th ed.). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. p. 171. ISBN 82-573-0815-3.
- Tvedt, Knut Are, ed. (2000). "Paulus kirke". Oslo byleksikon (4th ed.). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. p. 338. ISBN 82-573-0815-3.
- "Birkelunden på Grünerløkka fredes som første kulturmiljø i by" (in Norwegian). Government.no. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
- Oslo Sporveier. "Linjekart" (PDF). Retrieved 18 March 2009.
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