The people of Bergen are some of Norway's fiercest local patriots. When combined with a true Christmas spirit, their love for the city sparks some extraordinary ideas.
In Norway, Christmas without gingerbread cookies is hard to imagine. We call them “pepperkaker” – literally pepper cookies – even though they rarely contain any pepper. Usually, they come in the form of women and men, angels and reindeer, hearts and bells – and even houses and castles. Placed, for instance, in the world’s largest gingerbread city.
Every year since 1991, kindergarteners, schoolchildren, local businesses, and thousands of other volunteers have participated in the construction of Pepperkakebyen in Bergen. Here, you’ll find everything from tiny homes to local landmarks, trains, cars, boats and international signature buildings.
The Pepperkakebyen gingerbread town is not the only one in Norway. You’ll find them all over the country, in cities like Stavanger, Hammerfest, Haugesund, Fredrikstad, and Bodø. More and more kindergartens and schools also join in on the fun with their own miniature towns.
Even Americans with Norwegian roots in Duluth, Minnesota have started their own gingerbread city tradition, inspired by Bergen.
Pepperkakebyen is open to the public from mid-November throughout December. The profit is always donated to a relief agency that works primarily with children in need.
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