Bergen is located on the west coast of Norway in the heart of the fjords. As a UNESCO World Heritage City and a European City of Culture, Bergen combines nature, culture and urban life all year around. With its 288.000 inhabitants, Bergen is the second largest city in Norway.
Bergen hosts one of Scandinavia’s oldest hospital institutions, St. Jørgen’s Hospital. The leprosy institution was established in the early 1400’s, and admitted new patients until 1896. The last patients perished shortly after the Second World War. Since 1870, St. Jørgen’s Hospital houses a Leprosy Museum, which stands as a monument to the almost 9,000 persons known to have had leprosy in the country. The Museum also pays tribute to Dr. Gerhard Armauer Hansen who, through his discovery of the leprosy bacillus in 1873, laid the foundation for the discovery of a cure for leprosy, which would ultimately result in the end of inpatient treatment. Bergen also hosts The Leprosy Archives, a unique source of Norwegian leprosy history, and document the social, institutional and medical history. The archives are part of the UNESCO Memory of the World program.
Bergen is today Norway’s most international city, packed with history and tradition. Ever since King Olav Kyrre sailed into the charming harbor and founded the city in the year of 1070, Bergen has attracted people from all over the world. Bergen became an important European city of trade in the 13th century, as the Hansas opened one of their four offices on the wharf, making Bergen a European hub of commerce, seafaring and craftsmanship.
Today Bryggen is a reminder of the city’s importance as a part of the Hanseatic League, and has a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. A stroll through the back streets of Bryggen brings you back to the Middle Ages, as a lot of the architecture is preserved or rebuilt as it was built. Several museums, like the Hanseatic Museum, Bryggens Museum and the Theta Museum provides a deeper sense of the history of Bryggen, what is has meant for the people of Bergen and Norway as a nation.