It was King Haakon, King Harald’s grandfather, who laid the foundation stone for the University of Bergen, and it happened 75 years ago this year. He spoke at the gala dinner and called the event: “A milestone not only for the history of Bergen and Western Norway, but for the whole of Norway”. King Harald has now overseen the celebration of the University of Bergen’s 75th anniversary.
King Harald was received by Rector Margareth Hagen on his arrival at the University Hall on October 25th 2021. This was the beginning of a grand celebration for the university. Three student choirs had joined forces and performed traditional west Norwegian songs before the principal welcomed everyone. Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ola Borten Moe, spoke on behalf of the government, and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre sent a digital greeting.
There were also greetings from the University of Oslo, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the University of Tromsø, the Norwegian School of Management and the University College of Western Norway. Leif Ove Andsnes performed traditional wes -Norwegian music before Bergen’s newly elected mayor, Rune Bakervik, and the student parliament’s leader, Thomas Helland-Jensen, took the podium. Author Erlend O. Nødtvedt performed “Ode to the University of Bergen”.
The university has found three precious treasures on the occasion of the anniversary, and these are shown in a rare exhibition that the King got to take a closer look at. The first map showing Norway alone is one of the treasures. It is a section of the Dutch cartographer Johannes Blaeus’ map from the 17th century and shows southern Norway in 1662. King Harald received a copy of the map as a gift during his visit.
The Aga document from 1293 is the oldest medieval document in the University of Bergen’s collections. Here it is stated a settlement has been reached between the farmers on Indre and Ytre Bleie about common fences, harbour corridors and roads. The book “Civitates Orbis Terrarum” – The Cities of the World – was published more than 400 years ago. The book contains 546 bird’s-eye prospects of cities from around the world, including Bergen. This is the first depiction of the western Norwegian village that exists.
The University of Bergen’s history dates back to the Bergen Museum, which was established in 1825. The new university was based on three faculties, the mathematical-natural sciences, the historical-philosophical and the medical. Before the University of Bergen was established, there was only one university in Norway, the University of Oslo. Today, almost 19,500 students study at the University of Bergen and there are 4,000 employees.