Bryggen - Bergen kommune

International Unesco Conference, Bergen 24-26 March 2014
Changing World Heritage Narratives –
Bryggen in Bergen.
Cultural heritage narratives develop and change due to synergies and
conflicts in the cultural heritage management and how the cultural heritage
is valued. Bryggen in Bergen, enlisted as a World Heritage site in 1979, is
here used as an example of changing world heritage narratives.
Hege Agathe Bakke-Alisøy
Agency for Cultural Heritage Management,
City of Bergen
[email protected]
Major transformations by the end of the 19th century (UBB-BS-PKB-00059)
Bryggen 1865 (UBB-KK-NBX-0041)
Becoming cultural heritage
From the foundation of Bergen
(1070 AD) the city developed into
an international seaport with
considerable import and export,
and with stockfish as the main
commodity. The Hanseatic
League established a trading
office at Bryggen (about 13601754). The building complex
remaining at Bryggen today was
rebuild by Hanseatic merchants
after a great fire in 1712.
By the mid 19th century the trade
with stockfish had lost its
importance and the activity and
position of Bryggen slowly
changed. By the end of the 19th
century half the building complex
at Bryggen was demolished and
the quayside was extended. There
was also a growing awareness of
the importance of Bryggen, then
related the Hanseatic Office, and
the Hanseatic Museum was
established in 1872.
Bryggen was, however, still
threatened, first by an explosion
during the 2nd World War and later
by fire in 1955 and in 1958. After the
fire in 1955 a large archaeological
excavation was undertaken at
Bryggen. The results of this work
has clearly defined Bryggen a
cultural heritage site with a
continuous tradition from the late
medieval to the modern period.
Bryggen as World Heritage
The archaeologist Asbjørn Herteig who
conducted the excavation at Bryggen
had a major role in rescuing the standing
remains of Bryggen and the
establishment of Bryggen Museum.
Bryggen was inscribed on the WH-list in
1979 on the 3rd session of the World
Heritage Committee in Egypt solely
under criteria iii:
be unique, extremely rare, or of great
Explosion 20th of April 1944
Fire in 1955 and 1958
Defining Bryggen –
alternative narratives
The work leading to the inclusion of
Bryggen on the World Heritage List
also generated a narrative to define
Bryggen as a meeting place
between the past and the present.
The Hanseatic League was central
in the enlisting and thus vital for
how to define Bryggen. In order to
prevent future fires parts of the
building complex in the rear was
demolished. This was also seen as
means to remove those parts not
related to the Hanseatic Office. The
existing use of this area was also
questioned, and the idea of a
center for exhibiting local craft
production and creating an
traditional trading center (Herteig
1961, 61ff, 2005, 81). Thus, the
visualization of the story of Bryggen
was made more effective, and the
connection between the past and
the present became clearer to the
visitor. In this narrative preservation
and creating a tourist attraction
became the two main criteria for
defining Bryggen.
That Bryggen is an urban building
complex is emphasized in the
motivation for the World Heritage
status. Hence, Bryggen should be
defined as a part of a larger urban
structure with various expressions
and preserved traces in the present
city of Bergen.
On 10 November 2011 UNESCO’s
General Conference adopted the
new Recommendation on the
Historic Urban Landscape
(Resolutions 36th session). This is
regarded as an alternative to a form
of heritage management
emphasizing architectural
monuments and creating historical
preservation ghettos (Unesco 1, 2, 3
and 4). Unesco here presents an
approach for integrating a
sustainable conservation with a
sustainable urban development.
My question here is if this
approach could offer a new World
Heritage Narrative for Bryggen.
Scholeus 1580
Rope production -Fagerheims
Fabrikker A/S
Various offices – C.A. Gundersen
Bryggen as branding for tourism
(Bergen Reiselivslag/VIsitBergen)
Department for Special Collections, UiB.
Herteig, Asbjørn 1961 Bryggen i Bergen, Beyer Papirvarefabrikk A/S, Bergen.
Herteig, Asbjørn 2005 Bryggen: fra saneringsobjekt til internasjonalt kulturminne, Vigmostad & Bjørke, Bergen
Resolutions 36th session, Records of the General Conference, Paris 2011.
Unesco 1: Vienna Memorandum Doc WHC-05/15.GA/INF.7, Paris 2005.
Unesco 2: New Life for Historic Cities. The historic urban landscape approach explained. Paris 2013.
Unesco 3: Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Paris 2003.
Unesco 4: Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Paris 2005.
A reconstruction of Bergen at 1350 AD
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