The Hanseatic Museum Bergen is situated in one of the old trade houses at Bryggen in Bergen. The museum has old interiors from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Hanseatic League had one of their foreign Offices at Bryggen in Bergen from approx. 1360 until 1754. The Hanseatic merchants traded mainly with stockfish from Northern Norway and grain from the Baltic countries. Only German merchants were allowed to live at Bryggen during the period of the Hanseatic Office. The Hanseatics were unmarried and had to live in celibacy as long as they lived in the area. The tenements in the Bryggen area each consists of several smaller trade houses, each run by a merchant with a journeyman and apprentices. All of them lived in the house. The Hanseatic Museum shows us what one of these trade houses would be like in the last years of the German Office at Bryggen.
Neither light nor heating was allowed in the tenements at Bryggen because of the danger for fire. Behind each tenement there was an assembly hall, called “schotstue”, belonging to all the merchants of one or more tenements. The assembly halls could be heated, and in connection with these halls there were also a kitchen as well as storage room for food. Today the museum Schotstuene (belonging to the Hanseatic Museum) shows three assembly halls and one kitchen from the Bryggen area.
The building which houses the Hanseatic Museum was built after a large fire in 1702 which destroyed almost the entire town. The building is the only one in the area in which the old interiors have been preserved. The Hanseatic merchants had both their living rooms and their storage rooms in the same house. The storage rooms now have exhibitions on various subjects related to the history and architecture of Bryggen.
The “outer room” on the first floor was the dining room for the journeyman and the apprentices during the summer months. Next to the “outer room” is the office of the merchant, where he would receive his visitors. In his office we find the chancellery where he kept the main ledger of the house. In one of the cabinets there is also a secret staircase leading to his summer bedroom upstairs. All the cabinets in the office have landscape paintings an floral artwork from the beginning of the 18th century, and this is one of the few rooms in Bergen in which the original 18th century decoration is still intact.
Next to the office we find the winter bed of the merchant as well as his private dining room. The bed has doors which can be closed to keep warm, and this is the typical type of bed to be found in this area. The sample room is a small storage room where goods which were imported in smaller quantities were stored, like cloth, spices, tobacco, wine and liquors. This room is a reconstruction from 1917, and it is not historically correct.
On the second floor we find the bedrooms of the house. The room of the journeyman was both his office and his bedroom. Between the room of the journeyman and the summer bedroom of the merchant we find the apprentices´ room. They all slept in the same room, and they slept two boys in each bed. On the second floor we also find a reconstruction of some rooms of a smaller trade house.
Said about Hanseatic Museum:
The Hanseatic Museum is the most interesting museum I have visited
Situated in the center of Bergen, walking distance from the Fish Market.
|Norwegian name:||Hanseatisk Museum.|
|Location:||Center of Bergen.|
|Distance to Fish Market:||25 meters.|
|Street Address:||Bryggen / Finnegaardsgaten 1a|