Norway is opening up! Get the latest travel information
close
Dynamic Variation:
Offers
x

There was not an exact match for the language you toggled to. You have been redirected to the nearest matching page within this section.

Choose Language
Toggling to another language will take you to the matching page or nearest matching page within that selection.
Search & Book Sponsored Links
Search
or search all of Norway

“I find dead bodies and traces of murder everywhere.”

Gunnar Staalesen

Gunnar Staalesen, the author behind "Varg Veum" .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway
Author Gunnar Staalesen behind "Varg Veum" .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway

You never know what dark secrets and delightful surprises lie around the next corner when strolling through Bergen with key Nordic noir writer Gunnar Staalesen.

Gunnar Staalesen at Villa Terminus in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway
Gunnar Staalesen entering Villa Terminus in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway

Come along and check out one of the world's most beautiful fictional crime scenes.

Bergen by the harbour .
Photo: Visit Bergen / Endre Knudsen
Bergen by the harbour .
Photo: Visit Bergen / Endre Knudsen

Gunnar Staalesen's

Cultural Triangle in Bergen

Bergen by the harbour .
Photo: Visit Bergen / Endre Knudsen
Bergen by the harbour .
Photo: Visit Bergen / Endre Knudsen
Few locals are as well versed in Bergen's streets and narrow alleyways as Gunnar Staalesen. His books about tough, hard-nosed private detective Varg Veum have been translated into 20 languages and made into 12 films.

"I have written 19 novels and a handful of short stories about Varg Veum and have covered every nook and cranny of Bergen in the series. For example, in Wolves in the Dark, a man dies in the house behind us," he says.

Staalesen's cultural triangle

Staalesen has taken us to Nordnes, the first of his three cultural highlights. This is the neighbourhood where he was born in the 1940s, just a few years after his fictional hero Varg Veum.

"Varg actually grew up in the same street as myself, but he is five years older. I thought of him as one of the older boys in the street," he tells us.

A lot has changed since then. Back then, multiple families often shared space in these small wooden houses, and the streets were full of children playing.

“We are now entering Trangesmauet (Narrow Alley). Its name is self-explanatory. Maren Kristine Pedersen, the femme fatale in my series about Bergen, lives in one of these houses," says Staalesen, gesturing with his hand.

“One dark New Year's night, Maren Kristine is visited in her attic by Consul Frimann. On the way home from the visit, the Consul is brutally murdered by a person, whose identity remains unknown until the last pages of the third volume. So, lots of things have happened here in Trangesmauet," says the author.

The narrow alley "Trangesmauet" in Bergen
"Trangesmauet" street in Bergen.
Photo: Visit Norway

Bergen is inextricably linked to Gunnar Staalesen and his long running series of books that have a devoted following. Staalesen is also an excellent and engaging guide who talks with warmth, pride, and passion as he shows us through the old alleyways and wooden treehouses that characterize the Nordnes neighbourhood in the old Hansa city of Bergen, that used to be one of the most important trading cities in Europe.

He takes us around the corner to Skottegaten, where several unsolved crimes are committed in the Varg Veum series.

“I have found a lot of inspiration for my writing in these alleyways.

Gunnar Staalesen in Nordnes in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway
Gunnar Staalesen in Nordnes in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway

“This street is called Skottegaten, simply because this was where the city's Scottish community once lived.

Skottegaten in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway
Skottegaten in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway

Bergen has become home to many immigrants from Germany, the Netherlands, and the British Isles. This has given the city a continental feel that it still retains today.

Houses in Bergen .
Photo: Robin Strand / Norphoto AS
Houses in Bergen .
Photo: Robin Strand / Norphoto AS

“Some people believe — including some people from Oslo — that Bergen is the only continental city in Norway.

Houses in Bergen .
Photo: Robin Strand / Norphoto AS
Houses in Bergen .
Photo: Robin Strand / Norphoto AS

We leave these old wooden houses behind and stroll over to Fisketorget, the fish market by the harbour.

Nordnes in Bergen .
Photo: Visit Norway
Nordnes in Bergen .
Photo: Visit Norway

“Varg Veum's office is here in this building. It's on the fourth floor, the fourth window from the left.

Gunnar Staalesen in front of Torgegaarden in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway
Gunnar Staalesen in front of Torgegaarden in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway

But even crime heroes and writers get hungry. And that brings us to Staalesen's second cultural highlight, restaurant Bien Basar.

It's located in the heart of Kjøttbasaren, an old meat market that's been converted to house modern restaurants and cafes. The stately building was erected after the cholera epidemic, which ravaged Bergen and Europe in the 1840s.

“There were once 40-45 market stalls crammed together in here. As befits the premises, Bien Basar serves classic and traditional Norwegian food,” says Staalesen.

Even here, you can find traces of the author's private detective character.

“Varg Veum passes by here every day on his way to his office. In one book, he was hit by a car and almost killed here.

Gunnar Staalesen sitting down at Bien Basar in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway
Gunnar Staalesen at Bien Basar in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway

Little do we suspect that Staalesen is about to be served a dish to die for ...

Gunnar Staalesen sitting down at Bien Basar in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway
Gunnar Staalesen at Bien Basar in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway

“This is one of my absolute favorite dishes: persetorsk (pressed cod).”

Gunnar Staalesen enjoying a fish meal at Bien Basar in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway
Gunnar Staalesen enjoying a fish meal at Bien Basar in bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway

For this unique Bergen dish, the cod is first marinated in a mixture that's both sweet and salty, before being pressed together to release some of the liquid. This makes the filet a little firmer than fresh cod. It's precisely this firmness that is so characteristic of persetorsk.

Gunnar Staalesen enjoying a fish meal at Bien Basar in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway
Gunnar Staalesen enjoying a fish meal at Bien Basar in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway

“This dish is specially made by Gard Haugland, who is truly one of the best chefs in Bergen."

Gunnar Staalesen at Bien Basar in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway
Gunnar Staalesen at Bien Basar in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway

After praising both chef and dish, it's time for some literary refreshment. 

The third and final stop on Staalesen's cultural triangle in Bergen is the historic wooden hotel Villa Terminus, just a few steps from the train station in Bergen. The building dates back to the 1770s, and is dedicated to Fjord Norway's many writers. 
Eighteen of its rooms are named after authors, and the rooms contain books by local writers you can borrow. The hotel also has a cosy library with deep chairs where you can curl up and read.

Gunnar Staalesen has of course been honoured with his own room. Amalie Skram, Jon Fosse, Ludvig Holberg, Frode Grytten and Olav H. Hauge, are also among the authors who have had rooms dedicated to them.

There is a small library on the second floor of this unique hotel. 

Villa Terminus in Bergen .
Photo: Claesson Koivisto Rune / dehistoriske.com
Villa Terminus in Bergen .
Photo: Claesson Koivisto Rune / dehistoriske.com

“When your legs are tired from walking around in the city, you can find a book on the shelves here. For example, a book
by Gunnar Staalesen.”

Gunnar Staalesen in the library at Villa terminus in Bergen .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway
Gunnar Staalesen in the library of Villa Terminus .
Photo: Thomas Dalen / Visit Norway

“The man who was found drowned on Wednesday 19 October 1932 in the sea by the pier at Nøstet was quickly identified by the soaking wet papers in his inside pocket ...”

Gunnar Staalesen at Villa Terminus in Bergen .
Photo:
Gunnar Staalesen at Villa Terminus in Bergen .
Photo:

If you want to read the rest of 1950. High Noon, you now know where to find the book.

Gunnar Staalesen at Villa Terminus in Bergen .
Photo:
Gunnar Staalesen at Villa Terminus in Bergen .
Photo:

Staalesen's cultural favourites

Check out the author's recommended attractions, restaurants, and hotels for culture enthusiasts.

Plan your trip

Hungry for more cultural experiences in Bergen? Get more cultural insider tips from the locals and plan your trip to Bergen now!

Cultural itinerary

Explore Staalesen's culture spots

Staalesen's hot spots in Bergen
Join us for a guided walk through one of Bergen's most charming neighborhoods. Read more
The charm of Nordnes
Bergen Kunsthall is one of Norway's premier arenas for contemporary art. Variety of exhibitions from international and Norwegian artists. Read more
Bergen Kunsthall
Bryggen is one of Bergen's and Norway's main attractions. Bryggen was built after the great fire in 1702 and is included on UNESCO's World Heritage… Read more
Bryggen in Bergen
The open-air Old Bergen Museum is a reconstructed small town consisting of around 50 wooden houses dating from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Read more
Old Bergen Museum - Bergen City Museum
Join us on a tour that shows you the real and authentic Bergen. The tour combines short walks with travel on a mini electric bus. Read more
Secrets of Bergen - explore the authentic Bergen
KODE – the Art Museums of Bergen has one of the most unique venues for small or lagre events, meetings and receptions. Read more
KODE Art Museums and Composer Homes
Bergenhus Fortress is one of Norway's oldest and best preserved fortifications. The Fortress has a long history as a royal seat, episcopal see and… Read more
Bergenhus Fortress
BARE Restaurant is Bergen's only Michelin-starred restaurant, as a result of our philosophy and love for the raw materials our surrounding nature… Read more
BARE Restaurant
Bien basar is a classic Norwegian and continental restaurant located in one of the city's most iconic buildings, Kjøttbasaren. Read more
Bien Basar
Lysverket presents some of the best Bergen has to offers of food, drink and music. Seafood from the west coast, self-made juices and local beer. Read more
Lysverket
A café and bakery in a delicatessen that is brimming with delicacies from the Nordic countries and the Continent. Read more
Colonialen Fetevare
Bergen's oldest known tavern, the Altona, dates back to approx. the 17th century. Read more
Altona Vinbar
Traditional Bergen restaurant with a view of the harbour, located on the old wharf, Bryggen. Distinctive interior with roots back to 1910. Read more
Bryggeloftet & Stuene
Italian restaurant. Experience real Neapolitan pizza and homemade pasta on the basement floor of Bergen's art museum Kode 1, in the center of Bergen. Read more
Bien centro
Grand Terminus is centrally located in the city center opposite the railway station and bus station. Charming hotel with an elegant, classic style. Read more
Grand Terminus
Beautiful small hotel close to the University, railway station and walking distance to city center. Read more
Hotel Park
Scandic Torget has the best location in Bergen and the most magnificent view of the Fish Market. Scandic Torget offers comfort at a reasonable price. Read more
Scandic Torget Bergen
The place for good food, wine and art! Centrally located in the city centre. Full-service hotel with 124 rooms. Gourmet restaurant Lucullus. Read more
Scandic Neptun
Bergen's oldest family-run hotel with a fine combination of modern, prize-winning interiors and traditional style. Centrally located in Bergen city… Read more
Augustin Hotel
Select
    Show Details
    Statens Kartverk, Geovekst og kommuner - Geodata AS

    Other cultural triangles

    Dynamic Variation:
    Your Recently Viewed Pages

    Back to top