The Hanseatic Museum & Schøtstuene
Visit one of Norway’s oldest museums (established in 1872) and experience an authentic, fascinating Hanseatic history! A time travel through the history of Bryggen!
The Hanseatic League (‘Hanse’) was a German trading company that operated in the North and Baltic Sea regions for several centuries. Between approximately 1360 and 1761, Hanseatic merchants from Northern Germany were running an office in Bergen’s Bryggen district. Their trading business was mainly based on exporting stockfish from Northern Norway and importing grain from the Baltic countries.
A unique museum – UNESCO World Heritage
The Hanseatic Museum and the Schøtstuene assembly rooms were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 as parts of Bryggen, the oldest part of the city. Bryggen is also home to the last authentically preserved wooden buildings of the Hanseatic League. The Hanseatic Museum is one of the oldest and best-maintained trading houses at Bryggen. The typical “gård” construction style with its characteristic long rows of houses has remained until today.
The Hanseatic Museum belongs to the Finnegård tenement, which was constructed in the style of the previous tenements in 1704, after the great city fire of 1702. Each tenement consisted of several trading houses. The museum consists of two such houses with their storage and processing rooms for stockfish and cod liver oil, as well as offices and dormitories for the employed. Most of the original furnishings have been preserved. Each house used to be inhabited by a merchant, one journeyman and up to eight apprentices. Due to the considerable fire hazard, the houses contained neither lights nor a heating system or kitchen; the museum has preserved this authentic atmosphere in many of its rooms.
The Schøtstuene, next to the Saint Mary’s church, are also part of the museum. They consist of four assembly rooms and two kitchens: the only buildings at Bryggen where open fire was permitted. This is where everybody had hot meals and they could warm themselves up in winter. In addition, the assembly rooms were used for lessons, court sessions and festivities.
Good to know
The museum is located at the very beginning of Bryggen, just by the fish market. Entrance is free for children and there is a family quiz. Nice museum shop and little coffee corner. Some may find the stairs steep and there is no elevator.