Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 773 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
BERGEN, a city and seaport of Norway, forming a separate county (amt), on the west coast, in lat. 6o° 23' N. (about that of the Shetland Islands). Pop. (1900) 72,179. It lies at the head of the broad Byfjord, and partly on a rocky promontory (Nordnaes) between the fine harbour (Vaagen) and the Puddefjord. Its situation is very beautiful, the moist climate (mean annual rainfall, 74 in.) fostering on the steep surrounding hills a vegetation unusually luxuriant for the latitude. Behind the town lie the greater and lesser Lungegaard Lakes, so that the site is in effect a peninsula. The harbour is crowded with picturesque timber-ships and fishing-smacks, and is bordered by quays. The principal street is Strandgaden, on the Nordnaes, parallel with the harbour, communicating inland with the tore or market-place, which fronts the harbour and contains the fish and fruit market. The portion of the city on the mainland rises in an amphitheatre. The houses, of wood or stucco, are painted in warm reds and yellows, On the banks of the lesser Lungegaard Lake is the small town park, and above the greater lake the pleasant Nygaards park, with an aquarium adjoining. Among the principal buildings are the cathedral (rebuilt in the 16th century), and several other churches, among which the Mariae Kirke with its Romanesque nave is the earliest; a hospital, diocesan college, naval academy, school of design and a theatre. An observatory and biological station are maintained. The museums are of great interest. The Vestlandske fishery and industrial museum also contains a picture gallery, and exhibition of the Bergen Art Union (Kunstforening). The Bergen museum contains antiquities and a natural history collection. The Hanseatic museum is housed in a carefully-preserved gaard, or store-house and offices of the Hanseatic League of German merchants, who inhabited the German quarter (Tydskenbryggen) and were established here in great strength from 1445 to 1558 (when the Norwegians began to find their presence irksome), and brought much prosperity to the city in that period. The Bergenhus and Fredriksberg forts defend the north and south entries of the harbour respectively. The first was originally built in the 13th century by King Haakon Haakonsson, and subsequently enlarged; and still bears marks of an English attack when a Dutch fleet was driven to shelter here in 1665. Near it are remains of another old fort, the Sverresborg. Electric trams ply in the principal streets. Bergen is the birthplace of the poets Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754) and Johan Welhaven (1807-1873), of Johan Dahl the painter (1788-1857), of Ole Bull (1810-1880) and Edvard Grieg the musicians. There are statues to Holberg and Bull, and also to Christie, president of the Storthing (parliament) in 1815 and 1818. Bergen ranks first of the Norwegian ship-owning centres, having risen to this position from fifth in 1879. The trade, however, is exceeded by that of Christiania. The staple export trade is in fish and their products; other exports are butter, copper ore and hides. The principal imports are coal, machinery, salt, grain and provisions. The manufactures are not extensive, but the preparation of fish products, shipbuilding, weaving and distillery, with manufactures of paper, pottery, tobacco and ropes are carried on. Bergen is an important centre of the extensive tourist traffic of Norway. Regular steamers serve the port from Hull and Newcastle (about 40 hours), from Hamburg, and from all the Norwegian coast towns. Many local steamers penetrate the fjords, touching at every village and guard. Bergen is the nearest port to the famous Hardanger Fjord, and is the starting-point of a remarkable railway which runs through many tunnels and fine scenery towards Vossevangen or Voss. In 1896 a beginning was made with the continuation of this line through the mountains to connect with Christiania. In the first 50 M. from Voss the line ascends 4080 ft., passing through a tunnel 5796 yds. long. Bergen (formerly Bjorgvin) was founded by King Olaf Kyrre in 1070-10i5, and rapidly grew to importance, the Byfjord becoming the scene of several important engagements in the civil wars of subsequent centuries. The famous Hansa merchants maintained a failing position here till 1764. The town suffered frequently from fire, as in 1702 and 1855, and the broad open spaces (Almenninge) which interrupt the streets are intended as a safeguard against the spread of flames. See Y. Nielsen, Bergen fra die aldste tider indtil nutiden (Christiania, 1877) ; H. Jager, Bergen og Bergenserne (Bergen, 1889). BERGEN-OP-ZOOM, a town in the province of North Brabant, Holland, situated on both sides of the small river Zoom, near its confluence with the East Scheldt, 382 m. by rail E. by N. of Flushing. It is connected by steam tramway with Antwerp (20 M. S.). and with the islands of Tholen and Duiveland to the north-west. Pop. (1900) 13,663. The houses are well built, the market-places and squares handsome and spacious. It possesses a port and an arsenal, and contains a fine town hall, with portraits of the ancient margraves of Bergen-op-Zoom, a Latin school, and an academy. of design and architecture. The remains of the old castle of the margraves have been converted into barracks. The tower is still standing and is remarkable for its increase in size as it rises, which causes it to rock in a strong wind. The church contains a monument to Lord Edward Bruce, killed in a duel with Sir Edward Sackville, afterwards earl of Dorset, in 1613. There are numerous tile-works and potteries of fine ware; and a considerable trade is carried on in anchovies and oysters caught in the Scheldt. A large sugar-beet industry has also sprung up here in modern times. Bergen-op-Zoom is a very old town, but little is known of its early history beyond the fact that it was taken by the Normans in 880. In the 13th century it became the seat of Count Gerhard of Wesemael, who surrounded it with walls and built a castle. By the end of the 15th century it had become one of the most prosperous towns of Holland, on account of its fisheries and its cloth-trade. In 1576 the town joined the United Netherlands, and was shortly afterwards fortified. In 1588 it was successfully. defended against the duke of Parma by an English and Dutch garrison commanded by Colonel Morgan, and in 16o5 it was suddenly attacked by Du Terail. In 1622 the Spaniards, under Spinola, made another attempt to take the town, but were forced to abandon the enterprise after a siege of ten weeks and the loss of 1200 men. Towards the end of the 17th century the fortifications were greatly strengthened by Coehoorn, and in 1725 they were further extended. In 1747, however, the town was taken by the French, under Marshal Lowendahl, who surprised it by means of a subterranean passage. Restored at the end of the war, it was again taken by the French under Pichegru in 1795. The English, under Sir Thomas Graham, afterwards Lord Lynedoch, in March 1814 made an attempt to take it by a coup de main, but were driven back with great lossby the French, who surrendered the place, however, by the treaty of peace in the following May. The lordship of Bergen-op-Zoom appears, after the definite union of the Low Countries with the Empire in 924, as an hereditary fief of the Empire, and the succession of its lords may be traced from Henry (1098—1125), who also held Breda. In 1533 it was raised to a margraviate by the emperor Charles V., and was held by various families until in 1799 it passed, through the Sultzbach branch of the Wittelsbachs, to the royal house of Bavaria, by whom it was renounced in favour of the Batavian republic in 18o1.
End of Article: BERGEN

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.