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Bob André Engelsen

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4 mins read

Famous statues in Bergen

You can find historic statues decoarting many different parts of Bergen. They are placed in front of grand buildings, in city squares and in lush parks. Some are even placed on tall pedestals. 

The stiff characters in question are immortalized to remind us how they have shaped Norway, some culturally and some politically. 

Join us on a historical journey to explore some of the most famous statues in Bergen including where they stand, who they represent and why. Maybe you will recognize a couple?

Christiestøtten - The Natural History Museum

Looking like an emperor of Roman times, the statue of Wilhelm Frimann Koren Christie (1778-1849) emphasizes the significance of his efforts for Norway. 

He was involved in drafting Norway's Constitution and was later President of the Norwegian Parliament. The life-size lion at the base of the statue was added when the statue was moved to the Museum Square in 1925. The lion is similar to those outside the Norwegian Parliament in Oslo.

Ole Bull - Nedre Ole Bulls Plass

Making great success in Europe and the United States, Ole Bull (1810-1880) was the first Norwegian artist to achieve international fame. Bull played an important role in shaping the Norwegian musical language that developed in the wake of the National Romanticism in Norway. 

The violin virtuoso is praised with a statue on Ole Bulls square, down the street of the theater (DNS) he worked so hard to establish. The statue of Bull portraits him playing violin, and is placed on top of a fountain with an eternal waterfall.

Edvard Grieg - Byparken

Referred to as the greatest Norwegian composer of all time, Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) continued the legacy after Bull. Grieg’s music is often referred to as ‘typically Norwegian’. Grieg was one of the biggest national romantics, and incorporated Norwegian folk music tones into all of his compositions. 

The city of Bergen has bestowed several statues of Grieg, and has even named the grand concert hall in Bergen after him (the Grieg Hall / Grieghallen). One of the statues is placed on a prime spot in Byparken, facing the Music Pavilion.

Henrik Ibsen - Engen

The somewhat spooky looking figure in front of the theater in Bergen is known for his strong and challenging characters. Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is considered to be the founder of the modern, realistic drama. He has amongst others written Peer Gynt and A Doll's house (Et dukkehjem). 

Ibsen was well ahead of his time with the issues he addressed in his plays. Many of the themes are still relevant, and his works are performed around the world to this day.

Amalie Skram - Klosterhagen

Standing up for women's rights and giving married women a voice, Amalie Skram (1846-1905) is an important figure in Norwegian literature. Her best work is the tetralogy Hellemyrsfolket (The People of Hellemyr), published over a period of 11 years. 

Skram's merciless revelations of repression in women within marriage and family made her a highly controversial writer, but the very same qualities would later make her a favorite author of modern feminist readers. 

The bronze statue of Skram was made in 1949, and is prominently displayed in Klosterhagen.

The virgin and the Unicorn - Nygårdsparken

This beautiful fountain is located between the upper and lower parts of Nygårdsparken. Looking at the cute and humble fountain, it can be surprising to know it has a link to the grandiose Vigeland Park in Oslo

Emanuel Vigeland who is the creator of the fountain, is the younger brother of Gustav Vigeland, who created the grand sculpture park in Oslo.

The Crying Boy - Byparken

This crying baby is one of the most famous statues in downtown Bergen, although he doesn't seem so happy about it. 

The statue of the crying boy was made in 1930 by Sofus Madsen, a Norwegian sculptor who has left his mark on the cityscape in Bergen with a total of 28 works. The crying boy is one of three similar statues used in fountains around Lille Lungegårdsvann.

Ludvig Holberg - Vågsallmenningen

Norwegian-Danish Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754) is considered to be one of the most significant authors and playwrights in Norwegian and Danish history. 

Since 2003, the University of Bergen has awarded the Holberg prize for outstanding research in the fields of humanities, social sciences, law and theology. The bronze statue of Holberg is placed at Vågsalmenningen, with a direct view of the famous fish market.

Christian Michelsen - Byparken

He may be the tallest guy in town, but it's not because of his height! Michelsen was the first prime minister in Norway after the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden. 

He was highly regarded by the Norwegian people, a position fully emphasized by the pedestal ranging 21 m (69 ft) high. The statue was finished in 1938 by Gustav Vigeland, the same artist who made The Vigeland Park in Oslo.

Kong Haakon VII - Bergenhus Festning

Watching over the port of Bergen the statue of Kong Haakon VII is standing proud on the walls of Bergenhus Fortress. Kong Haakon was Norway's first constitutional king, and ruled the Norwegian kingdom from 1906 to 1957. 

He led Norway through World War II, and played a key role in rebuilding the country. The royal statue was raised in 1972.

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