UNESCO Chair: Sustainable heritage and environmental management
UNESCO in the region

UNESCO Initiatives in Vestland County

Several ministries are involved in the UNESCO work in Norway. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the overall responsibility for Norwegian policy at the UN, including UNESCO. The Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for coordinating Norwegian UNESCO work, and is also responsible for the fields of education and science. The Ministry of Climate and the Environment is responsible for the World Heritage follow-up, while the Ministry of Culture has the responsibility for UNESCO's culture and communication program. While the ministries are responsible for Norway's official UNESCO policy, the Norwegian UNESCO Commission acts as a liaison between civil society and the Norwegian authorities. The Ministry of Education and Research has secretarial responsibility for the Norwegian UNESCO Commission. There are several UNESCO-initiatives in Vestland County. Here is an overview.

Map showing UNESCO initiatives in Norway and their locations.
Map showing locations for UNESCO initiatives in Norway.
UNESCO Norge (https://unesco.no/kart-over-unesco-i-norge/)

Main content

Bergen Creative City of Gastronomy

UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Part of UNESCO's network of creative cities since 2015. Go to bergengastronomy.com for more information.

Bryggen in Bergen

UNESCO World Heritage

Bryggen ('The pier') was built around 1070, and was from 1360 to 1754 the seat of the German office in the city and the central hub for the Hanseatic trade in Norway. The area is today a vibrant historic district. See stiftelsenbryggen.no for more information.

Geopark, Sunnhordland 

UNESCO Global Geopark

Sunnhordland will apply in 2021 to achieve the UNESCO Geopark status. Get more information on www.geoparksunnhordland.no.


International Council on Monuments and Sites

ICOMOS is a non-governmental international organisation working to preserve the world heritage and advise the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. ICOMOS Norge is the advisor for Norwegian authorities in matters regarding world heritage. For more information, go to www.icomos.no.

The Leprosy Archives of Bergen (Lepraarkivene i Bergen)

UNESCO Memory of the World register

The Leprosy Archives of Bergen document the breakthrough of the scientific understanding and description of leprosy on a world basis. Visit the UNESCO webpage about The Leprosy Archives of Bergen for more information.

Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere

UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme

Internationally recognized status as a model area for sustainable development awarded the status as a Biosphere Reserves are designated under the intergovernmental MAB Programme. The webpages en.unesco.org/biosphere and www.nordhordlandbiosphere.no/?cat=368814 provide more information.

Nærøyfjorden World Heritage Park

UNESCO World Heritage

The World Heritage area of the West Norwegian Fjords (the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord) has been inscribed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage list since 2005. Get more information on www.vestnorskfjordlandskap.com.

Oselvarverkstaden (The Oselver workshop)

UNESCO Intangible cultural heritage

Oselvaren is a traditional wooden boat from Hordaland that has been used as a utility boat and for modern row- and sail racing since the 19th century. The foundation "Oselvarverkstaden" in Os in Hordaland is the only place where this boat type is built today. The knowledge of building and using this type of boat is listed as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. For more information, go to www.oselvarverkstaden.no/unesco.

UNESCO Chair for sustainable heritage and environmental management

UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme

The University of Bergen was awarded a UNESCO Chair entitled Sustainable Heritage and Environmental Management - Nature and Culture, in 2015. Associate Professor Inger Måren holds the chair. See www.uib.no/en/unesco-chair for more information.

Urnes stave church

UNESCO World Heritage

Urnes Stave Church, Norway’s oldest and most highly decorated stave church, was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979. Read more about Urnes stave church on www.stavechurch.com/urnes-stave-church/?lang=en.

Sophus Tromholts photo archive

UNESCO Memory of the World register

Sophus Tromholt (1851-1896) was a teacher and northern lights researcher. He is known for the photographic work he did when he stayed in Kautokeino in Finmark, northern Norway, during the first international polar year in 1882-83. Best known are his portraits of the Sami population, which were taken with a contemporary unique respect and sensitivity for the individual. A version of Tromholt's portfolio as well as his entire negative collection is at the Picture Collection at the University of Bergen. The photo archive and more information is available on marcus.uib.no/instance/collection/6334924f-1582-4043-97dc-34d641ebe921.