A Treasure Trove of a City
Many a visitor already knows the colourful harbour district of Bryggen that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1979. It is far from the only treasure worth discovering in the country’s second largest city, though. From ‘KODE’, one of Scandinavia’s largest art museums, to the open-air museum, Norway’s oldest theatre stage, or the Grieg museum – we will take you on a journey to discover Bergen’s cultural diversity.
‘KODE’ – an artistic quartet
The ‘KODE Art Museums and Composer Homes’ are a far cry from an ordinary museum. Rather, it is four museums that are loosely distributed around the city and whose facades not even resemble one another. The one thing they have in common: from Picasso to Pettersen, they are home to a total of around 50,000 works of art. Not being like any other museum, ‘KODE’ also maintains the homes of famous composers. So, take a detour to Troldhaugen to visit the home – including the creative summerhouse – of composer Edvard Grieg.
Delve into the Master’s Kingdom
Edvard Grieg was a typical child prodigy: he was already composing at the age of nine, later became friends with Tschaikowski, and played concerts all over the world. His peaceful creative space was not far from Bergen, on a peak at the edge of Nordåsvannet. Here, he built himself a villa that he called ‘Troldhaugen’, which translates to ‘Troll hill’. Anyone visiting this place today becomes immersed in Grieg’s world of yesteryear: chandeliers, creaking floors, and velvet armchairs – you can even still enjoy a concert played on the venerable Steinway grand piano. One of the particular highlights is the red wooden garden shed. Offering just enough space for a desk, sofa, and piano, this is the place where Grieg composed his most important works.
The House of the Stage Gods
Even if you just found yourself standing unsuspectingly outside the colossal Art Nouveau villa with its thick grey stone walls, green turrets, and cheeky grimaces chiselled into them, you would likely suspect that such a house had to be dedicated to art. In fact, Den Nationale Scene (The National Stage) is Norway’s oldest theatre and was founded as far back as 1909 by Ole Bull. Do you fancy having a sit down in one of the crumpled blue theatre seats for a couple of hours? Before you start heading home, pay homage to playwrights Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Henrik Ibsen, and Nordahl Grieg, whose statues can be found outside the museum. Norwegians are not particularly formal – the hint of a bow is enough.
Time Travel Under the Open Sky
If you happen to come across a man in a bowler hat with a walking stick, and pocket watch and a woman with a conspicuous headdress and tight-waisted dress in the middle of a cobbled street, you have probably ventured into ‘Gamle Bergen’, the open-air museum in Sandviken. From private dwellings to apothecaries, and workshops: this is where you will find 50 reconstructed brown, white, and turquoise wooden houses built according to plans from the 18th to 20th centuries. In their neat rows, they are open to any visitors who are looking to take a journey into the past.
A Fishing Life
There are two more things you should do when you visit Bergen. Firstly: enjoy a fish roll or fresh crab, ideally with a view of the surrounding mountains. Secondly: take a trip to the unique Norwegian Fisheries Museum, where you can learn everything there is to know about trade and marine animals. You will be amazed by the collections of small wooden boats, harpoons, and hooks. Founded back in the late 19th century, the museum’s straight-lined wooden buildings and fishing boats anchored off the coast are reminiscent of a special kind of home port.
- Header - Photo by Robin Strand on Visit Bergen
- Paragraph 1 - Photo by Jo-Anne Albertsen on Alamy
- Paragraph 1 - Photo by Nathaniel Noir on Alamy
- Paragraph 2 - Photo by : robertharding on Alamy
- Paragraph 2 - Photo by KODE Art Museums (Martin Håndlykken) on Visit Bergen
- Paragraph 3 - Photos by Dag Fosse on Visit Bergen
- Paragraph 4 - Photo by Lisbet Svensson on Alamy
- Paragraph 4 - Photo by Wirestock, Inc. on Alamy
- Paragraph 5 - Photo by FadiBarghouth on Adobe Stock
- Paragraph 5 - Photo by Gamle Bergen Museu (Martin Håndlykken) on Visit Bergen
- Paragraph 6 - Photos by Museum Vest (Silje Robinson) Norges Fiskerimuseum