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Bergenhus Fortress, Bergen, Norway - Photo: Nasjonale festningsverk
Bergenhus Fortress, Bergen, Norway Photo: Nasjonale festningsverk

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus Fortress was built to protect the entrance to the port of Bergen. Learn about the resistance during World War II in the museum.

Bergenhus Fortress Museum

The Fortress Museum displays three exhibitions: 1. Women's contribution to the defence, 2. The resistance in the Bergen area during World War II, and 3. The Bergen press in a time of crisis.

Bergenhus Fortress Museum is located in the storehouse building, and was opened on 9 April 2006 by resistance hero Gunnar Sønsteby. It holds three separate exhibitions: 

  • Women's contribution to the defence
    The exhibition shows the roles played by women in the defence of Norway, from ancient times up until today, as individuals and as a group. It outlines the opportunities women have had, and some of the restrictions they have been met with in the Armed Forces. Key people in the history of women in the defence are presented.  
  • The Resistance in the Bergen area in during Worl War II
    This exhibition deals with both the civilian and military resistance efforts. It shows how a civilian attitude campaign was organised against the pro-German National Union Party and its attempt to Nazify Norwegian society, and how the armed resistance developed from small, isolated groups into an far-reaching organisation with links to London.   
  • The Bergen press in a time of crisis
    Contains newspaper cuttings and copies showing how the events of World War II at home and abroad were reflected in the Bergen press.  

Guided tours
Guided tours, films and lectures can be booked for groups and school classes. There is also a library at your disposal. 

Please telephone +47 55 54 63 87 during opening hours to make a booking. 

Opening times
All days except monday:  11:00 – 17:00

Admission: Free
Public lavatories

You will find the entrance to the museum behind Thon Hotell Bergen Brygge.

Opening hours:
Inner fortifications: 06:30-23:00

Guided tours of Bergenhus

Bryggens Museum conducts guided tours of Bergenhus Fortress. The museum is a cultural history museum and contains objects and artefacts from the extensive excavations of Bryggen from 1955 to 1972.  Contact Bryggens Museum, phone: +47 55 58 80 10   

How to get there

Bergenhus Fortress is located next to Bryggen in Bergen, and is a distinguished landmark for those who arrive in Bergen by sea.

Access by car from north or south on main road 585 with parking in Sandbrogaten.


In the Middle Ages what constitutes the core area of Bergenhus Fortress today was simply known as Holmen. King Øystein Magnusson moved the Royal Seat from Alrekstad to Holmen in the 1100s and built a new royal palace here. When the civil war period abated in the first half of the long reign of King Håkon Håkonsson (1217-63) and Norway became a more permanently unified nation, a ring wall of stone was erected on Holmen, in order to protect the wooden houses against fires and enemy attacks. Bergen now became the capital of Norway, and Holmen its political centre.

The royal seat moved out of the country during the Union with Denmark in the late Middle Ages, and Bergen ceased to be a city of royal residence. However, the royal palace continued to be the political and administrative centre for Western and Northern Norway. Only with the introduction of the absolute monarchy in 1660 did Bergenhus become merely a fortress. During the 1600s the fortress was expanded and fortified further and was at its most complete in the 1700s, with Bergenhus and Sverresborg functioning as one combined fortress.

During World War II, Bergenhus was brought back into military service as the local headquarters of the German occupational forces. There was an explosion in the port of Bergen on 20 April 1944 when the Dutch vessel Voorbode, which was loaded with dynamite and ammunition, blew up and inflicted severe damage on the buildings and structures of Bergenhus. 

Last updated:  2013-07-24
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Bergenhus Fortress, Bergen, Norway - Photo: Nasjonale festningsverk

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus Fortress was built to protect the entrance to the port of Bergen. Learn about the resistance during World War II in the museum.

Bergenhus Fortress

Source: Visitnorway


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