Established around 1650, the Sandviken Bay settlement served as the original site of fishing-industry warehouses and roperies in the southwestern city of Bergen. From the eighteenth through the twentieth century, the harbor grew to include clusters of fishing-industry buildings and a variety of residences ranging from humble fishmongers’ dwellings to the manor houses of prosperous merchants. Today, the area contains one of the highest concentrations of historic wooden buildings in Norway, although the number of such buildings in the area has been significantly reduced over time (from 297 in the nineteenth century to 45 preserved today). From its roots as a small fishing center, Bergen is now the second-largest city in Norway, and centuries-old wooden buildings mix with twentieth-century industrial structures, offices, and apartment buildings.
The Society for the Protection of Historical Sandviken, a volunteer advocacy group, has fought for years to save the remaining historic buildings in the harbor area with only modest success as the government continues to grant building permits for large-scale new construction in the area. Additionally, those historic wooden structures that do survive are deteriorating.
Last update: December 2010