—  City  —
From top to bottom: city center, old Bergen, Gamlehaugen, city square and Bryggen


Coat of arms

Bergen is located in Norway
Location of Bergen in Norway
Coordinates: 60°23′22″N 5°19′48″E / 60.38944, 5.33Coordinates: 60°23′22″N 5°19′48″E / 60.38944, 5.33
Country Norway
Region Western Norway
County Hordaland
District Midhordland
Municipality Bergen
Established 1070
 • Mayor Trude Drevland (H)
 • Governing mayor Ragnhild Stolt-Nielsen (H)
 • City 465.56 km2 (179.75 sq mi)
 • Urban 94.03 km2 (36.31 sq mi)
 • Metro 2,755 km2 (1,064 sq mi)
Highest elevation 987 m (3,238 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2014)
 • City 272,520
 • Urban 238,098 (2012)
 • Metro 403,730
Demonym Bergenser/Bergensar
Ethnic groups[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 5003–5098
Area code(s) (+47) 5556

Bergen (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈbærɡən]  ( listen)) is a city and municipality in Hordaland on the west coast of Norway. As of 10 August 2022, the municipality had a population of 306,500 and the Greater Bergen Region had a population of 459,200, making Bergen the second-largest city in Norway. The municipality covers an area of 465 square kilometres (180 sq mi) and is located on the peninsula of Bergenshalvøyen. The city centre and northern neighbourhoods are located on Byfjorden and the city is surrounded by mountains. For this reason, Bergen is known as the city of seven mountains. Many of the extra-municipal suburbs are located on islands. Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland and consists of eight boroughs—Arna, Bergenhus, Fana, Fyllingsdalen, Laksevåg, Ytrebygda, Årstad and Åsane.

Trading in Bergen may have started as early as the 1020s, but the city was not incorporated until approximately 1070. It served as Norway's capital in the 13th century, and from the end of the 13th century became a bureau city of the Hanseatic League. Until 1789, Bergen enjoyed exclusive rights to mediate trade between Northern Norway and abroad. The remains of the quays, Bryggen, is a World Heritage Site. The city was hit by numerous fires. The "Bergen School of Meteorology" was developed at the Geophysical Institute beginning in 1917, the Norwegian School of Economics was founded in 1936, and the University of Bergen in 1946. From 1831 to 1972, Bergen was its own county. In 1972 the municipality absorbed four surrounding municipalities, and at the same time became a part of Hordaland county.

The city is an international centre for aquaculture, shipping, offshore petroleum industry and subsea technology, and a national centre for higher education, tourism and finance. The city's main football team is SK Brann and the city's unique tradition is the buekorps. Natives speak the distinct Bergensk dialect. The city features Bergen Airport, Flesland, the Bergen Light Rail and is the terminus of the Bergen Line; Bergen Port is Norway's busiest. Four large bridges connect Bergen to its suburban municipalities.


The city of Bergen was traditionally thought to have been founded by king Olav Kyrre, son of Harald Hardråde in 1070 AD,[2] four years after the Viking Age ended. Modern research has, however, discovered that a trading settlement was established already during the 1020s or 1030s.[3] Bergen gradually assumed the function of capital of Norway in the early 13th century, as the first city where a rudimentary central administration was established. The city's cathedral was the site of the first royal coronation in Norway in the 1150s, and continued to host royal coronations throughout the 13th century. The functions of capital city were lost to Oslo during the reign of King Haakon V (1299–1319). In the middle of the 14th century, North German merchants who had already been present in substantial numbers since the 13th century, founded one of the four kontors of the Hanseatic League at Bryggen in Bergen.

The principal export traded from Bergen was dried cod from the northern Norwegian coast,[4] which started around 1100. The city was granted monopoly in regards to trade from the North of Norway, by king Håkon Håkonsson (1217-1263).[5] Stockfish was the main reason that the city became one of North Europe's largest centers for trade at the time.[5] By the late 14th century, Bergen had established itself as the centre of the trade in Norway.[6] The Hanseatic merchants lived in their own separate quarter of town, where Middle Low German was used, enjoying exclusive rights to trade with the northern fishermen that each summer sailed to Bergen.[7] Today, Bergen's old quayside, Bryggen, is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.[8]

Hieronymus Scholeus's impression of Bergen. The drawing was made in about 1580 and was published in an atlas with drawings of many different cities (Civitaes orbis terrarum).[9]

In 1349, the Black Death was inadvertently brought to Norway by the crew of an English ship arriving in Bergen.[10] In the 15th century, the city was attacked several times by the Victual Brothers,[11] and in 1429 they succeeded in burning the royal castle and much of the city. In 1665, the city's harbour was the site of the Battle of Vågen, where an English naval flotilla attacked a Dutch merchant and treasure fleet supported by the city's garrison.

Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, Bergen remained one of the largest cities in Scandinavia, and was Norway's biggest city until the 1830s,[12] when the capital city of Oslo became the largest. From around 1600, the Hanseatic dominance of the city's trade gradually declined in favour of Norwegian merchants (often of Hanseatic ancestry), and in the 1750s, the Hanseatic Kontor finally closed. Bergen retained its monopoly of trade with Northern Norway until 1789.[13]

An historic photochrom of Bergen near the end of the 19th century. Visible are Domkirken in the bottom left side, Korskirken in the middle, the bay (Vågen) with its many boats and the Bergenhus Fortress to the right of the opening of Vågen.

During World War II, Bergen was occupied on the first day of the German invasion on 9 April 1940, after a brief fight between German ships and the Norwegian coastal artillery. On 20 April 1944, during the German occupation, the Dutch cargo ship Voorbode anchored off the Bergenhus Fortress, loaded with over 120 tons of explosives, blew up, killing at least 150 people and damaging historic buildings. The city was subject to some Allied bombing raids, aiming at German naval installations in the harbour. Some of these caused Norwegian civilian casualties numbering about 100.

The resistance groups in Bergen were Saborg, Milorg, "Theta-gruppen", Sivorg, Stein-organisasjonen and the Communist Party.[14]

Bergen was separated from Hordaland as a county of its own in 1831.[15] It was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipality of Bergen landdistrikt was merged with Bergen on 1 January 1877.[16] The rural municipality of Årstad was merged with Bergen on 1 July 1915. The rural municipalities of Arna, Fana, Laksevåg, and Åsane were merged with Bergen on 1 January 1972. The city lost its status as a separate county on the same date.[17] Bergen is now a municipality in Norway, in the county of Hordaland.


The city's history is marked by numerous great fires. In 1198, the Bagler-faction set fire to the city in connection with a battle against the Birkebeiner faction during the civil war. In 1248, Holmen and Sverresborg burned, and 11 churches were destroyed. In 1413 another fire struck the city, and 14 churches were destroyed. In 1428 the city was plundered by German pirates, and in 1455, Hanseatic merchants were responsible for burning down Munkeliv Abbey. In 1476, Bryggen burned down in a fire started by a drunk trader. In 1582, another fire hit the city centre and Strandsiden. In 1675, 105 buildings burned down in Øvregaten. In 1686 a new great fire hit Strandsiden, destroying 231 city blocks and 218 boathouses. The greatest fire to date happened in 1702 when 90 percent of the city was burned to ashes. In 1751, there was a great fire at Vågsbunnen. In 1756, a new fire at Strandsiden burned down 1,500 buildings, and further great fires hit Strandsiden in 1771 and 1901. In 1916, 300 buildings burned down in the city centre, and in 1955 parts of Bryggen burned down.


The Old Norse forms of the name were Bergvin and Bjǫrgvin (and in Icelandic and Faroese the city is still called Björgvin). The first element is berg (n.) or bjǫrg (n.), which translates to mountain(s). The last element is vin (f.), which means a new settlement where there used to be a pasture or meadow. The full meaning is then 'the meadow among the mountains'.[18] A suitable name: Bergen is often called 'the city among the seven mountains'. It was the playwright Ludvig Holberg who felt so inspired by the seven hills of Rome, that he decided that his home town must be blessed with a corresponding seven mountains – and locals still argue which seven they are.

In 1918, there was a campaign to reintroduce the Norse form Bjørgvin as the name of the city. This was turned down – but as a compromise the name of the diocese was changed to Bjørgvin bispedømme.[19] N


Bergen: Urban areas (Statistics Norway)

Bergen occupies most of the peninsula of Bergenshalvøyen in the district of Midthordland in mid-western Hordaland. The municipality covers an area of 465 square kilometres (180 square miles). Most of the urban area is located on or close to a fjord or bay, although there are several mountains located within the urban area. The city centre is surrounded by the Seven Mountains, although there is disagreement as to which of the nine mountains constitute these. Ulriken, Fløyen, Løvstakken and Damsgårdsfjellet are always included as well as three of Lyderhorn, Sandviksfjellet, Blåmanen, Rundemanen and Kolbeinsvarden.[20] Gullfjellet is the highest mountain in Bergen, at 987 metres (3,238 ft) above mean sea level.[21]

The population is 271,067[22] making the population density 583 people per km2. The main urban area of Bergen has 238,098 residents and covers an area of 96.71 square kilometres (37.34 sq mi).[23] Other urban areas, as defined by Statistics Norway, consists of Indre Arna (6,536 residents), Fanahammeren (3,690), Ytre Arna (2,626), Hylkje (2,277) and Espeland (2,182).[23]

Bergen is sheltered from the North Sea by the islands Askøy, Holsnøy (the municipality of Meland) and Sotra (the municipalities of Fjell and Sund). Bergen borders the municipalities Meland, Lindås and Osterøy to the north, Vaksdal and Samnanger to the east, Os and Austevoll to the south, and Sund, Fjell and Askøy to the west.

View of the city centre from Mt. Fløyen
View of the city centre from Mt. Fløyen


Bergen features a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb). Areas of the municipality at some higher altitude (above ca 200 m amsl) are largely oceanic sub-polar (Cfc), with cool winters and mild summers. Despite being so far north, Bergen's weather is warmer than that would suggest. In the winter, Bergen has the warmest winters of all cities in Norway, caused by the Gulf Stream. Bergen experiences plentiful rainfall, with annual precipitation measuring 2,250 mm (89 in) on average.[24] This is because the city is surrounded by mountains that cause moist North Atlantic air to undergo orographic lift, which yields abundant rainfall. Rain fell every day between 29 October 2006 and 21 January 2007, 85 consecutive days.[25] In Bergen, precipitation is plentiful and heavy rain can happen at any time of the year. The highest temperature ever recorded was 31.8 °C (89.2 °F) on July 17, 2003.[26] The lowest ever recorded is −16.3 °C (3 °F), in 1987.[27] The high precipitation is often used in the marketing of the city, and figures to a degree on postcards sold in the city. For some time there were umbrella vending machines in the city, but these did not turn out to be a success.[28]

Bergen on a rainy day

In recent years, precipitation and winds have increased in the city. In late 2005, heavy rains caused floods and several landslides, the worst of which killed three people on 14 September. Some indications are that due to climate change, severe storms causing landslides and floods will become more powerful in the area and in surrounding counties in coming years. As a response, the municipality created a special 24-man rescue unit within the fire department in 2005, to respond to future slides and other natural disasters,[29] and neighbourhoods considered at risk of slides were surveyed in 2006.[30] As of October 2007, the prediction has been supported by over 480 landslides in Hordaland county from the spring of 2006 to the summer of 2007. Most of the slides hit roads however none of them caused damage to cars, buildings, or people,[31][32] until October 2007, when a large rock dislodged and killed the driver of a car.[33] Another concern is the risk of rising sea levels. Already today, Bryggen is regularly flooded at extreme tide, and it is feared that as sea levels rise, floods will become a major problem in Bergen. Floods may in the future reach the old fire station in Olav Kyrres Gate, as well as the railroad tracks leading out of the city.[34] It has therefore been suggested by among others Stiftelsen Bryggen, the foundation responsible for preserving the UNESCO site, that a sea wall, built so that it could be raised and lowered as demanded by the tides, be built outside the harbour to protect the city.[35]

Climate data for Bergen (1961–1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 3.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 1.5
Average low °C (°F) −0.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 190
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 20 15 17 13 14 11 15 17 20 22 17 21 202
humidity 78 76 73 72 72 76 77 78 79 79 78 79 76.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 19 56 94 147 186 189 167 144 86 60 27 12 1,187
Source: World Meteorological Organisation (high and low temperatures),[36] NOAA (all else)[37]


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1500 5,500
1769 18,827 +242.3%
1855 37,015 +96.6%
1900 94,485 +155.3%
1910 104,224 +10.3%
1920 118,490 +13.7%
1930 129,118 +9.0%
1950 162,381
1960 185,822 +14.4%
1970 209,066 +12.5%
1980 207,674 −0.7%
1990 212,944 +2.5%
2000 229,496 +7.8%
2010 256,580 +11.8%
2014 271,949 +6.0%
Source: Statistics Norway.[38][39] Note: The municipalities of Arna, Fana, Laksevåg and Åsane were merged with Bergen 1 January 1972.
Number of minorities (1st and 2nd generation) in Bergen by country of origin per 1. January 2013[40]
Ancestry Number
Total 38,790
 Poland 4,990
 Iraq 1,840
 Lithuania 1,600
 Somalia 1,360
 Vietnam 1,340
 Germany 1,330
 Chile 1,230
 Sri Lanka 1,200
 Sweden 1,160
 United Kingdom 1,110

St Mary's Church

Ethnic Norwegians make up 84.5% of Bergen's residents. In addition, 8.1% were first or second generation immigrants of Western background and 7.4% were first or second generation immigrants of non-Western background.[41] The population grew by 4,549 people in 2009, a growth rate of 1,8%. Ninety-six percent of the population live in urban areas. As of 2002, the average gross income for men above the age of 17 is 426,000 Norwegian krone (NOK), the average gross income for women above the age of 17 is NOK 238,000, with the total average gross income being NOK 330,000.[41] In 2007, there were 104.6 men for every 100 women in the age group of 20–39.[41] 22.8% of the population were under 17 years of age, while 4.5% were 80 and above.

The immigrant population (those with two foreign-born parents) in Bergen, includes 42,169 individuals with backgrounds from 180 countries representing 15.5% of the city's population (2014). Of these, 50.2% have background from Europe, 28.9% from Asia, 13.1% from Africa, 5.5% from Latin America, 1.9% from North America and 0.4% from Oceania. The immigrant population in Bergen in the period 1993–2008 increased by 119.7%, while the ethnic Norwegian population has grown by 8.1% during the same period. The national average is 138.0% and 4.2%. The immigrant population has thus accounted for 43.6% of Bergen's population growth and 60.8% of Norway's population growth during the period 1993–2008, compared with 84.5% in Oslo.[42]

The immigrant population in Bergen has changed a lot since 1970. As of 1 January 1986, there were 2,870 persons with non-Western immigrant background in Bergen. In 2006, this figure had increased to 14,630, so the non-Western immigrant population in Bergen was five times higher than in 1986. This is a slightly slower growth than the national average, which has sextupled during the same period. Also in relation to the total population in Bergen, the proportion of non-Western increased significantly. In 1986, the proportion of the total population in the municipality of non-Western background was 3.6%. In January 2006, persons with non-Western immigrant background accounted for 6 percent of the population in Bergen. The share of Western immigrants has remained stable at around 2% in the period. The number of Poles in Bergen rose from 697 in 2006 to 3,128 in 2010.[43]

The Church of Norway is the largest denomination in Bergen, with 201,006 (79.74%) adherents in 2012. Bergen is the seat of the Diocese of Bjørgvin with Bergen Cathedral as its centrepiece, which St John's Church is the city's most prominent. The state church is followed by 52,059 (13.55%) irreligious [44] 12,000 Catholics belonging to Saint Paul Catholic Church[45][46] 4,947 members of various Protestant free churches, 2,707 Muslims, 816 Hindus, 255 Russian Orthodox and 147 Oriental Orthodox.


Night view of Bergen from Mount Ulriken

The city centre of Bergen is located west in the municipality, facing the fjord of Byfjorden. It is situated among a group of mountains known as the Seven Mountains, although the number is a matter of definition. From here, the urban area of Bergen extends to the north, west and south, and to its east is a large mountain massif. Outside of the city centre and the surrounding neighbourhoods (i.e. Årstad, inner Laksevåg and Sandviken), the majority of the population lives in relatively sparsely populated residential areas that have been built since the 1950s. While some are dominated by apartment buildings and modern terraced houses (e.g. Fyllingsdalen), others are dominated by single-family homes.[47]

View of the city centre with Torgallmenningen

The oldest part of Bergen is the area around the bay of Vågen in the city centre. Originally centred on the eastern side of the bay, Bergen eventually expanded west and southwards. Few buildings from the oldest period remain, the most significant being St Mary's Church from the 12th century. For several hundred years, the extent of the city remained almost constant. The population was stagnant, and the city limits were narrow.[48] In 1702, 7/8 of the city burned. Most of the old buildings of Bergen, including Bryggen (which was rebuilt in a medieval style), were built after the fire. The fire marked a transition from tar covered houses, as well as the remaining log houses, to painted and some brick-covered wooden buildings.[49]

Apartment buildings in Fyllingsdalen

The last half of the 19th century was a period of rapid expansion and modernisation of the city. The fire of 1855 west of Torgallmenningen led to the development of regularly sized city blocks in this area of the city centre. The city limits were expanded in 1876, and Nygård, Møhlenpris and Sandviken were urbanised with large-scale construction of city blocks housing both the poor and the wealthy.[50] Their architecture is influenced by a variety of styles; historicism, classicism and Art Nouveau.[51] The wealthy built villas between Møhlenpris and Nygård, and on the side of Mount Fløyen; these areas were also added to Bergen in 1876. Simultaneously, an urbanisation process was taking place in Solheimsviken in Årstad, at the time outside of Bergen municipality, centred on the large industrial activity in the area.[52] The workers' homes in this area were poorly built, and little remains after large-scale redevelopment in the 1960s–1980s.

After Årstad became a part of Bergen in 1916, a development plan was applied to the new area. Few city blocks akin to those in Nygård and Møhlenpris were planned. Many of the worker class built their own homes, and many small, detached apartment buildings were built. After World War II, Bergen had again run short on land to build on, and, contrary to the original plans, many large apartment buildings were built in Landås in the 1950s and 1960s. Bergen acquired Fyllingsdalen from Fana municipality in 1955. Like similar areas in Oslo (e.g. Lambertseter), Fyllingsdalen was developed into a modern suburb with large apartment buildings, mid-rises, and some single-family homes, in the 1960s and 1970s. Similar developments took place outside of Bergen's city limits, for example in Loddefjord.[53]

View from the Nordnes part of Bergen.

At the same time as planned city expansion took place inside Bergen, its extra-municipal suburbs too grew rapidly. Wealthy citizens of Bergen had been living in Fana since the 19th century, but as the city expanded it became more convenient to settle in the municipality. Similar processes took place in Åsane and Laksevåg. Most of the homes in these areas are detached row houses, single family homes or small apartment buildings.[53] After the surrounding municipalities were merged with Bergen in 1972, expansion has continued in largely the same manner, although the municipality encourages condensing near commercial centres, future Bergen Light Rail stations, and elsewhere.[54][55]

Narrow streets are a common sight in older parts of Bergen.

As part of the modernisation wave of the 1950s and 1960s, and due to damage caused by World War II, the city government ambitiously developed redevelopment plans for many areas in central Bergen. The plans involved demolition of several neighbourhoods of wooden houses, namely Nordnes, Marken, and Stølen. None of the plans were carried out in their original form, the Marken and Stølen redevelopment plans discarded entirely and that of Nordnes only carried out in the area that had been most damaged by war. The city council of Bergen had in 1964 voted to demolish the enterity of Marken, however, the decision proved to be strongly controversial and the decision was reversed in 1974. Bryggen was under threat of being wholly or partly demolished after the fire of 1955, when a large number of the buildings burned to the ground. Instead of being demolished, the remaining buildings were eventually restored and accompanied by reconstructions of some of the burned buildings.[53] Demolition of old buildings and occasionally whole city blocks is still taking place, the most recent major example being the razing of Jonsvollskvartalet at Nøstet.[56]

Panorama of the Hanseatic buildings of Bryggen, a World Heritage Site
Panorama of the Hanseatic buildings of Bryggen, a World Heritage Site


Since 2000, the city of Bergen has been governed by a city government (byråd) based on the principle of parliamentarism.[57] The government consists of 7 government members called commissioners, and is appointed by the city council, the supreme authority of the city. Since the local elections of 2007, the city has been ruled by a right-wing coalition of the Progress Party, the Christian Democratic Party and the Conservative Party, each with two commissioners.[58] The Conservative Party member Trude Drevland is mayor,[59] while conservative Ragnhild Stolt-Nielsen is the leader of the city government,[60] the most powerful political position in Bergen.

2007 elections[]

Bergen city council 2007–2011[61]
Conservative Party 18 0(0)
Labour Party 16 (+1)
Progress Party 14 (+2)
Socialist Left Party 05 (−3)
Christian Democratic Party 04 0(0)
Liberal Party 04 (+2)
Red Electoral Alliance 03 (−1)
Centre Party 02 (+1)
Pensioners' Party 01 (−2)
Total 67

The 2007 city council elections were held on 10 September. The Socialist Left Party (SV) and the Pensioners Party (PP) ended up as the losers of the election, SV going from 11.6% of the votes in the 2003 elections to 7.1%, and PP losing 2.9% ending up at 1.2%. The Liberal Party more than doubled, going from 2.7% to 5.8%. The Conservative Party lost 1.1% of the votes, ending up at 26.3%, while the Progress Party got 20.2% of the votes, a gain of 3% since the 2003 elections. The Christian Democratic Party gained 0.2%, ending up at 6.3%. The Red Electoral Alliance lost 1.4%, ending up at 4.5%, while the Centre Party gained 1.2%, ending up at 2.8%. Finally, the Labour Party continued being the second largest party in the city, gaining 1% and ending up at 23.9%.[62]


Boroughs of Bergen

Bergen is divided into 8 boroughs,[63] as seen on the map to the left. Going clockwise, starting north, the boroughs are Åsane, Arna, Fana, Ytrebygda, Fyllingsdalen, Laksevåg, Årstad and Bergenhus. The city centre is located in Bergenhus. Parts of Fana (= the fens), Ytrebygda, Åsane (= the hills) and Arna are not part of the Bergen urban area, explaining why the municipality has approximately 20,000 more inhabitants than the urban area. The separate borough administrations were closed 30 June 2004,[64] but were re-established 1 January 2008.[65]

Borough Population[66] % Area (km2) % Density
Arna 12,680 4.9 102.44 22.0 123
Bergenhus1 38,544 14.8 26.58 5.7 4.415
Fana 38,317 14.8 159.70 34.3 239
Fyllingsdalen 28,844 11.1 18.84 4.0 1.530
Laksevåg 38,391 14.8 32.72 7.0 1.173
Ytrebygda 25,710 9.9 39.61 8.5 649
Årstad2 37,614 14.5 14.78 3.2 4.440
Åsane 39,534 15.2 71.01 15.2 556
Not stated 758
Total 260,392 100 465.68 100 559

The following acreage figures in the table include fresh water and uninhabited mountain areas.
1 1 The borough Bergenhus is 8.73 km (5.42 mi) ², the rest is water and uninhabited mountain areas.
2 2 The borough Årstad is 8.47 km (5.26 mi) ², the rest is water and uninhabited mountain areas.


The male choir of the University of Bergen

There are 64 elementary schools,[67] 18 lower secondary schools[68] and 20 upper secondary schools[69] in Bergen, as well as 11 combined elementary and lower secondary schools.[70] Bergen Cathedral School is the oldest school in Bergen and was founded by Pope Adrian IV in 1153.[71]

The University of Bergen has 16,000 students and 3,000 staff, making it the third-largest educational institution in Norway.[72] Research in Bergen dates back to activity at Bergen Museum in 1825, although the university was not founded until 1946. The university has a broad range of courses and research in academic fields and three national centres of excellence, in climate research, petroleum research and medieval studies.[73] The main campus is located in the city centre. The university cooperates with Haukeland University Hospital within medical research. The Chr. Michelsen Institute is an independent research foundation established in 1930 focusing on human rights and development issues.[74]

Bergen University College has 6,000 students and 600 staff.[75] It focuses on professional education, such as teaching, healthcare and engineering. The college was created through amalgamation in 1994; campuses are spread around town but will be co-located at Kronstad. The Norwegian School of Economics is located in outer Sandviken and is the leading business school in Norway,[76] having produced three Economy Nobel Prize laureates.[77] The school has more than 3000 students and approximately 400 staff.[78] Other tertiary education institutions include the Bergen School of Architecture, the Bergen National Academy of the Arts, located in the city centre with 300 students,[79] and the Norwegian Naval Academy located in Laksevåg. The Norwegian Institute of Marine Research has been located in Bergen since 1900. It provides research and advice relating to ecosystems and aquaculture. It has a staff of 700 people.[80]


Strandgaten is a shopping street in Bergen.

In August 2004, Time magazine named the city one of Europe's 14 "secret capitals"[81] where Bergen's capital reign is acknowledged within maritime businesses and activities such as aquaculture and marine research, with the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) (the second-largest in Europe) as the leading institution. Bergen is the main base for the Royal Norwegian Navy (at Haakonsvern) and its international airport Flesland is the main heliport for the huge Norwegian North Sea oil and gas industry, from where thousands of offshore workers commute to their work places onboard oil and gas rigs and platforms.[82]

One of Norway's largest shopping malls, Lagunen Storsenter, is located in Fana in Bergen, with a turnover of 2 540 million Norwegian kroner, and 5.2 million visitors every year.

Tourism is an important income source for the city. The hotels in the city may be full at times,[83][84] due to the increasing number of tourists and conferences. Prior to the Rolling Stones concert in September 2006, many hotels were already fully booked several months in advance.[85] Bergen is recognised as the unofficial capital of the region known as Western Norway, and recognised and marketed as the gateway city to the world famous fjords of Norway and for that reason it has become Norway's largest – and one of Europe's largest – cruise ship ports of call.[86]

Office buildings in Bergen.
Office buildings in Bergen.


Bergen Railway Station

Bergen Airport, Flesland



Fløybanen is a funicular which runs up Mount Fløyen

Bergen Airport, Flesland, is located 18 kilometres (11 mi) from the city centre, at Flesland.[87] In 2013 the Avinor-operated airport served 6 million passengers. The airport serves as a hub for Scandinavian Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Widerøe; there are direct flights to 20 domestic and 53 international destinations.[88] Bergen Port, operated by Bergen Port Authority, is the largest seaport in Norway.[89] In 2011, the port saw 264 cruise calls with 350,248 visitors,[90] In 2009, the port handled 56 million tonnes of cargo, making it the ninth-busiest cargo port in Europe.[91] There are plans to relocate the port out of the city centre, but no location has been chosen.[92] Fjord Line operates a cruiseferry service to Hirtshals, Denmark. Bergen is the southern terminus of Hurtigruten, the Coastal Express, which operates with daily services along the coast to Kirkenes.[87] Passenger catamarans run from Bergen south to Haugesund and Stavanger,[93] and north to Sognefjord and Nordfjord.[94]

The city centre is surrounded by an electronic toll collection ring using the Autopass system.[95] The main motorways consist of E39, which runs north–south through the municipality, E16, which runs eastwards, and National Road 555, which runs westwards. There are four major bridges connecting Bergen to neighboring municipalities: the Nordhordland Bridge,[96] the Askøy Bridge,[97] the Sotra Bridge[98] and the Osterøy Bridge. Bergen connects to the island of Bjorøy via the subsea Bjorøy Tunnel.[99]

Bergen Station is the terminus of the Bergen Line, which runs 496 kilometres (308 mi) to Oslo.[100] The Norwegian State Railways operates express trains to Oslo and the Bergen Commuter Rail to Voss. Between Bergen and Arna Station, the train runs every 30 minutes through the Ulriken Tunnel; there is no corresponding road tunnel, forcing road vehicles to travel via Åsane.[101]

Bergen is one of the smallest cities in Europe to have both tram and trolleybus electric urban transport systems simultaneously. Public transport in Hordaland is managed by Skyss, which operates an extensive city bus network in Bergen and to many neighboring municipalities,[102] including one route which operates as a trolleybus. The trolleybus system in Bergen is the only one still in operation in Norway and one of two trolleybus systems in Scandinavia.[103]

Bergen Light Rail in Inndalsveien

The modern tram Bergen Light Rail (Bybanen) opened between the city centre and Nesttun in 2010,[104] extended to Rådal (Lagunen Storsenter) in 2013 and is scheduled to reach the airport in 2015.[105] Extensions to other boroughs may occur later.[106] Fløibanen is a funicular which runs from the city centre to Mount Fløyen and Ulriksbanen is an aerial tramway which runs to Mount Ulriken.

Culture and sports[]

Bergens Tidende (BT) and Bergensavisen (BA) are the largest newspapers, with circulations of 87,076 and 30,719 in 2006,[107] BT is a regional newspaper covering all of Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane, while BA focuses on metropolitan Bergen. Other newspaper published in Bergen includes the Christian national Dagen, with a circulation of 8.936,[107] and TradeWinds, an international shipping newspaper. Local newspapers are Fanaposten for Fana, "Sydvesten" for Laksevåg and Fyllingsdalen and Bygdanytt for Arna and the neighboring municipality Osterøy.[107] TV 2, Norway's largest private television company, is based in Bergen.

The 1,500-seat Grieg Hall is the city's main cultural venue,[108] and home of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1765,[109] and the Bergen Woodwind Quintet. The city also features Carte Blanche, the Norwegian national company of contemporary dance. The annual Bergen International Festival is the main cultural festival, which is supplemented by the Bergen International Film Festival. Two internationally renowned composers from Bergen are Edvard Grieg and Ole Bull. Grieg's home, Troldhaugen, has been converted to a museum. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Bergen produced a series of successful pop, rock and black metal artists,[110] collectively known as the Bergen Wave.[111][112]

The Markens and Mathismarkens Buekorps at Bryggen

Den Nationale Scene is Bergen's main theater. Founded in 1850, it had Henrik Ibsen as one of its first in-house play-writes and art directors. Bergen's contemporary art scene is centred on BIT Teatergarasjen, Bergen Kunsthall, United Sardines Factory (USF) and Bergen Center for Electronic Arts (BEK). Bergen was a European Capital of Culture in 2000.[113] Buekorps is a unique feature of Bergen culture, consisting of boys aged from 7 to 21 parading with imitation weapons and snare drums.[114][115] The city's Hanseatic heritage is documented in the Hanseatic Museum located at Bryggen.[116]

SK Brann is Bergen's premier football team; founded in 1908, they have played in the (men's) Norwegian Premier League all but seven years since 1963 and consecutively since 1987. The team was the football champion in 1961–62, 1963 and 2007,[117] and reached the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners' Cup in 1996–97. Brann plays their home games at the 17,824-seat Brann Stadion.[118] FK Fyllingsdalen is the city's second-best team, playing in the Second Division at Varden Amfi. Its predecessor, Fyllingen, played in the Norwegian Premier League in 1990, 1991 and 1993. Arna-Bjørnar and Sandviken play in the Women's Premier League.

Bergen IK is the premier men's ice hockey team, playing at Bergenshallen in the First Division. Tertnes plays in the Women's Premier Handball League, and Fyllingen in the Men's Premier Handball League. In athletics, the city is dominated by IL Norna-Salhus, IL Gular and FIK BFG Fana, formerly also Norrøna IL and TIF Viking.

Bergensk is the native dialect of Bergen and a variation of Vestnorsk. It was strongly influenced by Low German-speaking merchants from the mid-14th to mid-18th centuries. During the Dano-Norwegian period from 1536 to 1814, Bergen was more influenced by Danish than other areas of Norway. The Danish influence removed the female grammatical gender in the 16th century, making Bergensk one of very few Norwegian dialects with only two instead of three grammatical genders. The Rs are uvular trills, as in French, which probably spread to Bergen some time in the 18th century, overtaking the alveolar trill in the time span of two to three generations. Owing to an improved literacy rate, Bergensk was influenced by riksmål and bokmål in the 19th and 20th centuries. This led to large parts of the German-inspired vocabulary disappearing and pronunciations shifting slightly towards East Norwegian.[119]

Street art[]

«Che» by Dolk is painted on a building at Strandkaien in Bergen

Bergen is looked upon as the street art capital of Norway,[120] the famous artist Banksy visited the city in 2000[121] and inspired many to start with street art, a bit later the city brought up the most famous street artist in Norway; Dolk.[122][123] His art can still be seen several places in the city, and in 2009 the city council choose to preserve Dolk's work "Spray" with protective glass.[124] In 2011, Bergen council launched a plan of action for street art in Bergen from 2011 to 2015 to ensure that "Bergen will lead the fashion for street art as an expression both in Norway and Scandinavia.[125]

The Madam Felle (1831–1908) monument in Sandviken, is in honor of a Norwegian woman of German origin, who in the mid-19th century, managed, as a woman, against the will of the council to maintain a counter of beer. A well-known restaurant of the same name is now at another place of Bergen. The monument was erected by sculptor Kari Rolfsen in 1990, supported by an anonymous donor. Madam Felle, civil name Oline Fell, was known after her death through a popular song, possibly originally a folksong,[126] "Kjenner Dokker Madam Felle?" by Lothar Lindtner and Rolf Berntzen on an album in 1977.


Gamlehaugen castle in Bergen, the Norwegian Royal Family's residence in Bergen

The traditional neighborhoods of Bergen include Bryggen, Eidemarken, Engen, Fjellet, Kalfaret, Ladegården, Løvstakksiden[127] Marken, Minde, Møhlenpris, Nordnes, Nygård, Nøstet, Sandviken, Sentrum, Skansen, Skuteviken, Strandsiden, Stølen, Sydnes, Verftet, Vågsbunnen, Wergeland,[128] og Ytre Sandviken.

International relations[]

Each year Bergen donates the Christmas Tree seen in Newcastle's Haymarket as a sign of the ongoing friendship between the sister cities.[129] The Nordic friendship cities of Bergen, Gothenburg, Turku and Aarhus arrange inter-Nordic camps each year by inviting 10th grade school classes from each of the other cities to school camps. Bergen received a totem pole as a gift of friendship from the city of Seattle on the city's 900th anniversary in 1970. It is now placed in the Nordnes Park and gazes out over the sea towards the friendship city far to the west.

Bergen Place Monument in Seattle, United States.

Sister (town) cities[]


The various addresses in Bergen, each belong to one of the various grunnkrets.

See also[]

  • List of people from Bergen


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