Bergen is a vibrant port city at the gateway of the fjords. The second largest city of the country with 275, 000 inhabitants, it has a long history in international trade in seafood, reflected in its traditional and coastal gastronomy. The city’s food culture originating from sea biodiversity is considered the most sustainable in Europe. Deeply linked to healthy nutrition, gastronomy in Bergen thrives on organic food, the production of which is supported by more than 3,000 farmers and 200 artisan food entrepreneurs. In addition to this, another 6,500 people are employed by the aquaculture industry and fisheries.
Bergen hosts the world’s largest conference on seafood, the North Atlantic Seafood Forum Conference (NASF), with the participation of over 40 countries, providing a platform for discussing innovative perspectives on sustainable global harvesting of resources from oceans and seas. Bergen is also home to a unique Centre of Expertise for Sustainable Seafood, as well as to the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES).
Organic food and sustainable seafood are at the core of the city’s cultural identity and development. There are many local and national initiatives supporting the sector, including Fiskesprell with its training courses for kindergartens on the creative dimensions of seafood, as well as programmes established by the Organic Agricultural College. To further nurture the value of these assets, the city has implemented the Community Development Plan Bergen 2030 aimed at enhancing sustainable development, reducing its carbon footprint and protecting biodiversity.
As a Creative City of Gastronomy, Bergen envisages:
- increasing the impact of cross-sectoral and public-private initiatives related to gastronomy, notably by partnering with Food Arena – a training centre established in 2014 to promote local food and products – and with the NGO Sustainable Living, to initiate projects for the promotion of sustainable food systems, raising awareness on nutrition habits and global food production;
- enhancing collaboration and sharing good practices with other Creative Cities of Gastronomy by taking advantage of existing programmes, including the Erasmus Mobility and the Economic Area Agreement, to develop initiatives such as an Asian-Nordic gastronomy project and a crossover Nordic cluster of Creatives Cities; and
- pursuing the well-established cooperation with cities from the region of Africa, especially in the area of research on the management of fisheries, with the aim of fostering North-South partnerships in the field of gastronomy.