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Bodø 2024: Arctic Norway's European Capital of Culture

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Bodø 2024: Arctic Norway's European Capital of Culture
Bodø is the European Capital of Culture for 2024. Pictured is the seafront of Bodø. Photo by Bodø2024/ Ernst Furuhatt

Bodø, above the Arctic Circle in northern Norway, has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2024. More than 1,000 events will be held to celebrate the title in 2024, paying tribute to the unique culture and history of the region.


Home to just 53,500 people, Bodø is the first city within the Arctic Circle to receive the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture. 

The city became just the third in Norway to hold the title after Bergen in 2000 and Stavanger in 2008. Bodø joins Bad Ischl (Austria) and Tartu (Estonia) in being named a cultural capital for 2024. 

Some 1,000 different events will be held across Bodø and Nordland county in what will be the largest-ever cultural project in northern Norway. 

The complete program of events is available in its entirety online (in Norwegian and English). 

Arctic culture is at the forefront of the program, including a focus on the Sámi way of life and the vital relationship between the land and the sea in northern Norway. 

The opening ceremony will be held on February 3rd 2024, on a floating stage in Bodø's harbour. Up to 20,000 spectators are expected to attend, and public broadcaster NRK will broadcast the event live. 

Also featured is a Sámi theatre trilogy developed by Southern Sámi Theatre. The trilogy will explore climate change and humanity's relationship with the natural world. 

Frode Fjellheim, who composed the opening song of Frozen, has put together a composition for the first act. Two of Norway's most celebrated Sámi musicians will take the reigns for parts 2 and 3. 


The city museum in Bodø will also be transformed into a Sámi Museum. The year-long takeover will commence on April 26th. 

Meanwhile, the Árran 360 will combine the latest technology with indigenous storytelling. Six films will be shown in addition to six projects from Sámi visual artists in the world's largest lavvo (the traditional Sámi dwelling). 

Also on the cutting edge is the world's first concert in a submerged cave, where all performers and audience members must be accredited cave divers. The performance will also be streamed via a multi-camera production.

Bodø aims to become the most sustainable European Capital of Culture to date, so will present "Pure Music", which has set the lofty goal of being the world's most sustainable concert. Details and artists will be confirmed at a later date. 

Art enthusiasts can look forward to the Kjerringøy Land Art Biennale. The picturesque village will host land art from leading Nordic and international artists. 

The region above the Arctic Circle is known for having periods where the sun doesn't set or rise in the winter and summer. Light and dark will feature heavily in the year-long events program. In the summer, a significant outdoor event will be held to celebrate Midsummer Night's Eve, and audience participation will be a crucial part of the event. 


Later in the year, Nordland's first-ever light festival will be held. Light installations, light shows, light walks and more will be featured between November and December 2024. 

Feeding Europe will bring Arctic food to the forefront. The project will include the The Arktisk Mat symposium in Mosjøen in September and a number of Arctic food roadshows. 

Culture and history will be intertwined across several events. The Controversial Hamsun is an exhibition which will tackle the problematic legacy of Knut Hamsun, the Nobel Prize in Literature winner who was an ardent supporter of Nazi Germany. 

The Via Querinissima project will explore the history and shared cultural links between Veneto and Lofoten. The project delves into the history of Pietro Querini, an Italian merchant from Venice who became shipwrecked in Norway in the 15th century. 

After the wreck, he was treated warmly by the locals on an island near Røst before returning to Venice with stockfish, which remains an important part of Venetian cuisine today. 


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