Brygge, Bergen Photo by Gerd A.T. Mueller

Brygge, Bergen
Photo by Gerd A.T. Mueller

Bergen (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈbærɡən]  is a city and municipality in Hordaland on the west coast of Norway, on the peninsula of Bergenshalvøyen. The city was established before 1070 AD. Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland.

As of 2014 the municipal population was 275,600 making it the second-most populous city in Norway. (The Greater Bergen Region population is 408,600.)

The area covered by the municipality is 465 square kilometres (180 sq mi), and it consists of eight boroughs.

The remains of the quays, Bryggen, is a World Heritage Site.

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. 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.

The city centre and northern neighbourhoods are located on the shoreline of Byfjorden. Bergen is known as the city of The Seven Mountains.

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’.

“Bergen received status as a city during king Olav Kyrre’s rule, according to later sources, in 1070 AD”, says the encyclopediaStore norske leksikon.

Gitte Hansen’s 2004 Ph.D. dissertation proposes that “Bergen was founded as a handelsknutepunkt [a crossroads for trading] sometime during the 1020s or 1030s”. Later, in a 2004 NRK article, she said that “A king decided at the start of the 11th century, that here a city ought to be.” Furthermore she said that king Olav Kyrre “was not the first [king] to start building a city [in Bergen].

The city was built on part of a royal estate, Alrekstad.

“The sagas tell that Olav Kyrre built a Christ Church at Holmen (later Bergenshus)”—made of wood—according to the encyclopedia Store Norske Leksikon.

In 1068 the Diocese of Bergen was established.

Around 1100 the export (through Bergen) of dried cod from the northern Norwegian coast started, eventually becoming the principal export traded from Bergen.

Before the year 1110, Munkeliv Abbey was built.

The monarchy moved its quarters from the foot of Mount Ulriken, and at the new location wooden structures eventually were replaced by masonry, i.e. Haakon’s Hall.

In 1163 the city’s cathedral, the Christ Church, was the site of the first royal coronation in Norway.

The bishopric of Selja was moved to Bergen either in 1163 or, together with the relics of Sunniva, in 1170.

In 1181 the Birkebeiner defeated their opponents in the Battle of Bergen. “[The present-day neighbourhood] Engen was the battlefield in 1181 during the battle between king Sverre’s men and bondehæren [the farmers’ army]”, according to the encyclopedia Bergen byleksikon.)

The city was granted monopoly in regards to trade from the North of Norway, by king Haakon Haakonsson (1217-1263). Stockfish was the main reason that the city became one of North Europe’s largest centers for trade at the time.

In 1281, a sixth coronation was held at Christ Church—the last one held there.

Some functions of the city were lost to Oslo during the reign of King Haakon V (1299–1319).

Bergen was Norway’s most important city in the 13th century.

In 1343 (or in the 1350s) “the first Hanseatic commercial settlement was established in Bergen”, according to Natascha Mehler. German merchants formed a colony—protected by the Hanseatic League. Sources vary about whether it “was not an isolated German ghetto, but operated in vibrant interaction with its surroundings”, or it was “separated from the Norwegian bysamfunn [city community]”.[16] This Kontor was located at Bryggen in Bergen. (These Hanseatic merchants lived in their own (…) quarter of town, where Middle Low German was spoken, enjoying exclusive rights to trade with the northern fishermen that each summer sailed to Bergen.) During this century the Hanseatic merchants acquired monopolistic control over the trade in Bergen.

In 1349, the Black Death was inadvertently brought to Norway by the crew of an English ship arriving in Bergen.


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, innerLaksevåg 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 bysingle-family homes.


Next stop: Røros


ENSLAVED: “Diary Of Mad Men” Episode 3 Unveiled

Metal Shock Finland (World Assault )


Checking in from Duper Studios in Bergen, Ivar Bjørnson, guitarist, composer, and founding member of Norwegian progressive extreme metallers ENSLAVED offers the third installment in the seven-part “Diary of Mad Men” series shedding insight into the band’s upcoming as-yet-untitled thirteenth studio album, set for an early 2015 release, via Nuclear Blast Records.

“This will be a killer album. I am already willing to stake a lot on that. As the last time with RIITIIR, the first line of defense / attack is made through me, Grutle [Kjellson, vocalist & bassist] and Cato [Bekkevold, drummer] recording our guitar, bass, and drums live in the big Duper room, complete with the ceiling covered in old wooden doors for max room effect. I have to admit I’m starting to feel the effect of working around the clock (there are also things to be done at the home studio, office, and around…

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