The City of Bergen
Urban and scenic: a unique combination of vibrant cultural life and breathtaking experiences of nature.
Bergen, the second-largest city in Norway, has about 250,000 inhabitants. It is situated on the mountainous west coast. The city’s green areas and tree-lined streets and lakes, as well as its spectacular setting between the mountains and the sea, are striking features that impress many visitors.
As you begin to find your feet in Bergen, you will also get used to the refreshing rain that makes the natural surroundings so lush and verdant. The city centre also has the Fløibanen Funicular, which takes you in the space of just a few minutes from the heart of the city to walking trails and beautiful scenery.
There are hiking (and skiing) trails to suit everyone, whether you are an active walker or just want to enjoy being out in pristine nature. Bergen is ideally located if you would like to explore the natural surroundings in more demanding ways, for example glacier climbing, skiing, kayaking and mountain walking.
The city is also the gateway to the fjords, one of Norway’s biggest natural tourist attractions.
Bergen has a long history of shipping, fishing and trading. German Hanseatic merchants settled here in the early Middle Ages and gave the city a continental feel. This is still visible in the city’s architecture and in the names of shops, and can also be detected in certain words used in the local dialect.
The cultural scene in Bergen is very dynamic. Everything from classical music in the Grieg Hall to what is possibly Norway’s best rock venue, Hulen, has led to Bergen being considered by many as the country’s musical capital. The famous composer Edvard Grieg set the standard, and today Bergen produces both nationally and internationally-recognised musicians and composers. Sondre Lerche, Röyksopp, Annie and Datarock are prominent examples, and the city also boasts a symphony orchestra of high international calibre. Not to forget that Bergen is regarded as the birthplace of black metal music.
Bergen hosts concerts with some of the biggest music stars in the world. Rolling Stones, Rihanna, Kanye West and Bruce Springsteen have all played Bergen in recent years. Bergen is also a city that regularly host festivals and popular celebrations for people interested in all kinds of music and for those who like film, theatre, food and dance. The Bergen International Festival, held each year at the end of May, is a major cultural event.
Den Nationale Scene (DNS), the city’s main theatre, where Henrik Ibsen was once artistic director, is located right in the heart of the city. The city’s cultural traditions continue today, with modern dance and theatre ensembles spicing up city life during the year. Carte Blanche, the national contemporary dance company, is also located in Bergen, and numerous art galleries and museums offer a wide range of art experiences. Bergen Kunsthall is for example regarded as one of Europe’s premier arenas for contemporary art.
Students in Bergen
Western Norway. During the academic year, the city of Bergen is home to about 25,000 students, or about 10% of the city’s population. Around 14,500 of them are students at the University of Bergen (UiB), one of Norway’s most international institutions. As a student at UiB, you will be studying in an international environment where you will come into contact with people and knowledge from all over the world. The University of Bergen is also the most urban university in Norway, with most of its campus concentrated in the heart of the city. The strong and visible presence of students in Bergen gives the city a youthful and modern feel, and creates an atmosphere of enthusiasm and optimism.