European Capital of Culture 2024
More than 1,000 performances, concerts, art exhibitions, and other exciting events will take place throughout the year.
The region's rich Sami culture will play a significant role.
What's on the menu? Mouth-watering Arctic cuisine, of course!
It's all happening in stunning natural surroundings in Northern Norway.
The year-long celebration of the European Capital of Culture 2024 has begun in Bodø and the Nordland county! Explore world class cultural events combined with breathtaking nature experiences.
What's on in Bodø?
Bodø, Nordland county's largest city, has over the years developed from being a small coastal town to a vibrant Arctic cultural hub. The construction of the award-winning cultural centre Stormen, including a a state-of-the-art concert hall and an amazing library, the annual Parken music festival, Arctic street art, the successful football club Bodø/Glimt, and rich culinary traditions have all contributed to a glowing cultural scene in the city.
"Bodø, and the whole region, will be buzzing with cultural events throughout the year. The real superstar of the program is its broad diversity. With more than 1,000 events to choose from, there will definitely be something for every taste and many of the events will be free," says Director of Communications and Marketing in Bodø2024, Helge Grønmo.
Bodø2024 is the largest cultural project ever hosted in Northern Norway, with things happening in all five regions of Nordland county: Salten, Lofoten, Vesterålen, Ofoten, and Helgeland, all of which are within easy reach of Bodø, the biggest city in the county.
Nordland is also on National Geographic's list of the most exciting destinations to visit in 2024! So, what are you waiting for?
An epic opening
The year of culture is off to a strong start thanks to an incredible opening ceremony at the marina in the city centre of Bodø on February 3. Around 20.000 people came to enjoy the show from the floating stage – inspired by a cod's ear bone. The show was created and produced by phase7 from Berlin in collaboration with Nordland Teater. The show presented a celebration of music and stage art and ended by lighting up the sky with a spectacular firework show.
After the ceremony, the whole city came alive with a European cultural night filled with concerts and events.
All the galleries had exhibition openings, there was a Sami market at Rådhusparken and an official opening in Stormen concert hall with HM Queen Sonja in attendance.
You can check out all the upcoming events in the Bodø2024 cultural calendar.
Experience Sami culture
Norway is home to most Sami in the world, with the vast majority of settlements being located in Northern Norway. In Nordland county alone as many as five Sami languages are in use. In other words, Sami culture is important in the north, and is also a key part of the celebrations in 2024 with a range of events.
February 6 is the Sami national day in Norway, which will be marked with a week of events.
The former Nordland Museum will turn into a Sami museum, the "Bådåddjo Musea", for the whole of 2024 and there will also be several opportunities to watch Sami plays and listen to joik, one of the oldest song traditions in the world.
Embrace the seasons
In Nordland, there is a huge contrast between the seasons, each of which gives Nordland a dramatic and beautiful new backdrop. In January, the sun returns to Bodø after being hidden below the horizon for months. It's time for the northern lights to dance!
When summer finally comes, the midnight sun glows in the sky over Nordland, making it possible to have just as much fun at night as in the daytime. The seasons also give a hint of what to expect during Bodø2024. The year starts with the theme Here comes the sun, followed by Spring Optimism, Midsummer Madness, and Autumn Storms, and ends with Arctic Light.
Norwegians love to celebrate midsummer's eve, or Sankthans as Norwegians say (in some parts of Norway it's also called Jonsok), which takes place in June upon the summer solstice. To most Norwegians, the day means bonfires and barbecues. In 2024, you can expect it to be taken to the next level in Breivika in Bodø.
"Sankthans is going to be really special. English theatre company Walk the Plank has been brought in to create the opening event for the Midsummer Madness season. It will be a huge outdoor celebration with bonfires, food, theatre, dance, and music. All the senses will be activated," says Grønmo.
Keen on trying some local northern Norwegian specialties?
Bodø2024 is collaborating with the organisation ArktiskMat to document and develop Arctic cuisine and showcase sustainable food production in the county.
Since 2012, the annual food symposium ArktiskMat has been held in Mosjøen in Helgeland, where food lovers can meet star international chefs, watch exciting lectures, and more.
In 2024, Arctic Food Symposium will take place September 13-14, but ArktiskMat will also be present at several events during the year of culture.
Culture and nature
There are also several fascinating museums and galleries in Bodø and the surrounding areas that are well worth visiting, including Bymuseet i Bodø, Løp Gård Museum, the Norwegian Aviation Museum, and the Norwegian Jekt Trade Museum.
The idyllic traditional trading post at Kjerringøy contains fifteen original buildings and is situated in beautiful surroundings close to Bodø. The area has also been used as a location for film versions of Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun's novels.
Speaking of Hamsun, you can visit the Hamsun Centre Museum further north, in Hamarøy municipality. Enjoy an impressive view of Hamsun country from the centre's tower.
Do you want to combine cultural adventures with nature? A sea eagle safari combined with a trip to one of the strongest maelstrom in the world, Saltstraumen, is a must. Excursions are available that depart from Bodø city center.
It is also easy to continue your journey in Nordland from Bodø, as the city has excellent bus and express boat connections to other exciting destinations like Salten, Lofoten, and the Helgeland coast.
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