Welcome to Bergen!
Founded in 1070, Bergen is the second largest city in Norway. It is located on Norway’s southwestern coast at just over 60°N.
The western coastline was carved into fjords – long, narrow, inlets – by the weight of the glaciers that covered this part of the world until the end of the last Ice Age, 10 000 years ago. The dramatic landscape is why Bergen is often called the Gateway to the Fjords.
Throughout 2020, the city of Bergen organised a region-wide celebration of Bergen’s 950th Anniversary.
With a new special song and despite COVID-19 restrictions, this video features some of the celebration highlights.
Location: 60°23’N, 5°19’E
Surrounded by 7 mountains, the highest is Ulriken (987m)
Population: nearly 300 000
Climate: Bergen has a moderate, oceanic climate.
On average, it rains 239 days a year, with, on average, over 2m of rain falling per year. But, as people say in Bergen, ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!’
17th of May
Norway’s National, or Constitution Day is the 17th of May. The celebration marks the signing of Norway’s constitution in 1814. The day is marked with festivities – parades and special food – held locally throughout the country. Everyone wears their finest clothes, with many wearing traditional Norwegian dress. The Day’s primary focus is on children – the future of the country. For visitors to Norway, it is a memorable, colourful occasion.
Special to Bergen are the various local “Buekorps,” meaning Bow Corps or Archery Brigades. They form an important part of the parades and festivities!
You know that the 17th of May is approaching in Bergen because the Buekorps begin to practice – both marching and drumming.
The actual drum rhythms are unique to each Buekorps, and there is rivalry between them trying to throw each other off their drumming rhythm!
Bergen is a student city. For most of the year 10% of the population is made up ot students attending one of the several institutions of higher education:
Culture in Bergen ...
With its long history, Bergen has many well-established cultural institutions. A few representative institutions and Festivals are mentioned below ...
Bergen has a number of museums. You can read more about them here.
The University Museum of Bergen recently underwent an extensive renovation, which was completed in 2019. In 2021, it was awarded the prize for Norway’s University of the Year. Read more.
Learn more about Håkon's Hall pictured below.
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
One of the world's oldest orchestras, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra dates back to 1765 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2015. Edvard Grieg had a close relationship with the Orchestra, and served as its artistic director during the years 1880 – 82. Edward Gardner is currently the Orchestra’s Chief Conductor.
The BergenPhilLive site has some streamed concerts.
Festspillen / Bergen International Festival
Nearly 70 years old, the Festival is the largest of its kind in the Nordic countries. Classical music and the theatre are cornerstones of the festival, and every year new productions are presented in collaboration with international partners. Each year over 400 events are staged in the course of 15 days in over 70 venues, including the homes of Edvard Grieg and Ole Bull. Learn more.
Founded in Bergen nearly 20 years ago, Fargespille is an artistic organization that produces stage performances with children and youngsters between the ages of 7 and 25 from all over the world. It is based on a principle of everyone contributing. At a typical Fargespill show, you should expect to experience up to 100 people from over 35 different countries on stage at the same time. Learn more.
Established in 1850, the National Theatre in Bergen is one of four major theatre organisations in Norway. It aims to engage and entertain through socially relevant theatre experiences including a broad range of traditional and new repertoire. This season trailer from 2011 also shares views of Bergen. (The website is only in Norwegian.)
International phenomenon – KYGO
Bergen native, Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll, a.k.a KYGO, is an international super-star. He is an electronic artist. His music extends from popular remixes to Vegas shows to this delightful YouTube video, “Happy Now”, featuring his music and his hometown, Bergen. Learn more.
BERGEN AND HORDALAND TREKKING ASSOCIATION
The Association is the biggest volunteer association in Western Norway with over 30 000 members. It arranges trekking tours and courses, undertakes hiking trail maintenance, engages in nature conservation, and has 25 cabins available for day visit or for overnight stay in the mountains. Learn more.
Street Art Bergen
StreetArt / Gatekunst in Bergen has really taken off over the past decade or so. From tiny to building-sized there are many wonderful examples around the city. In the past couple of years, street artists have collaborated with the city to decorate building sites and other venues. See more on their website (in Norwegian). They also have a Facebook site.