Finnegården - Hanseatisk museum (Bryggen)

This wonderful old photo depicts a location that may be familiar to some veteran readers on this site. It’s the Hanseatic Museum, located at Bryggen, the historic waterfront area (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) on the wharves of Bergen, Norway. Last fall I traveled to Norway and after visiting this museum I wrote a two-part series on the history of the Hanseatic League in Bergen (Part I, Part II) and have since featured Bergen’s waterfront again in my “Historic Photos” series.

This picture doesn’t have a precise date, but judging from the dresses on the women and the hats on the men I would say it’s about 1910. I was surprised to discover that the Hanseatic Museum, which very much still exists today, was established in 1872 and has been on this site continuously since then. This building is called the Finnegården and was built in 1702 following a fire that destroyed much of Bryggen and the old city. The Hanseatic League had gone by then, but this building was still part of the kontor, or merchant office dealing primarily in stockfish in much the same way the Hansa had done here for 400 years. Commerce, especially in fish, has been going on at this site continuously since at least the 12th century.

You can compare the above photo to a picture of the same building, taken by me in November 2014, from right across the street. Not much has changed in 100 years.

bryggen 2014

The historic photo of the Finnegården may be owned by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage and is used under Creative Commons 2.o (Attribution) license. The modern photo is copyright (C) 2014 by Sean Munger, all rights reserved.