Norwegian city named cultural capital of Europe for 2024

Bodø, Norway, has been designated the Cultural Capital of Europe for the year 2024, becoming the first city above the Arctic Circle to receive this distinction. This will be the third time that a Norwegian city has won the title, after Bergen (2000) and Stavanger (2008).

Credit: Visit Norway

The election of the Cultural Capital of Europe was established in 1985, with the aim of promoting cultural diversity in Europe, highlighting the characteristics shared by countries and using culture as an instrument of long-term development for cities. Over these three decades, the choice of the European Capital of Culture has become one of the most ambitious cultural projects on the continent, being one of the best-known and most popular activities in the European Union.

Plans for the largest cultural project ever undertaken in northern Norway are at an advanced stage, with more than 1.000 scheduled attractions, including concerts, art exhibitions and events throughout the year, taking place in all five regions of Nordland County: Salten , Lofoten, Vesterålen, Ofoten and Helgeland, all easily accessible from Bodø, the county's largest town.

The entire project will kick off with an opening ceremony at the marina in central Bodø on February 3, on a floating stage inspired by a cod ear bone. The event will feature the confirmed presence of Queen Sonja, High Patron of Bodø 2024, who accepted the invitation to officially inaugurate Bodø 2024.

The city has less than 50.000 inhabitants and stands out as an important transit hub for the north of the country. The award-winning Stormen cultural center, which includes a modern concert hall and incredible library, Arctic urban art, the annual Parken music festival and rich culinary traditions have all contributed to creating a vibrant cultural scene in the city.

Credit: Visit Norway

Sámi Culture will gain prominence in the year's activities, recognizing the importance of this community not only for Nordland, but for the entire country. Norway is home to the majority of the world's Sami, with most of the settlements located in the north of the country. In Nordland County alone, up to five Sami languages ​​are used. As such, Sami culture is crucial to the northern region and plays a key role in the 2024 celebrations, with a variety of events planned.

The 6th of February is National Sámi Day in Norway and will be marked by a week of events, including a Sámi Theater Trilogy, an ambitious project that aims to bring Sámi drama to a wider audience in Theatre. Additionally, Árran 360°, a fusion of indigenous storytelling and innovative technology, will be presented in the world's largest lavvo (Sami tent) with films in partnership with the International Sámi Film Institute. And also the Sámi Museum will play a crucial role, transforming the city museum of Bodø into a temporary institution dedicated to Sámi culture for a year, displaying 200 artifacts from across the region. The exhibition is scheduled to open in February 2024.

Arctic gastronomy

The “Feeding Europe” project aims to put Arctic cuisine on the gastronomic map. The Arctic food festival in Mosjøen is part of the program, and there will also be traveling Arctic food shows throughout Nordland, with local and visiting chefs offering high-quality delicacies.

Since 2012, ArktiskMat ​​has been an annual food symposium held in Mosjøen in Helgeland, providing food lovers with encounters with renowned international chefs, exciting talks and much more. In 2024, the Arctic Food Symposium is scheduled for September 13th and 14th, in addition to participation in various events throughout the cultural year.

Credit: Visit Norway

Nordland's first light festival will begin in November 2024, marking one of the last significant events of the Bodø year. The festival will begin by turning off the lights across Nordland, inspired by the growing trend of night tourism and Northern Lights viewing. While the majority of the program will consist of temporary installations and performances, permanent light installations are also being planned as part of the legacy Bodø 2024 project. For more information about confirmed attractions and experiences throughout 2024, visit the Visit Norway official website.


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