2024 European Capitals of Culture: Bodo, Norway

22 Mar 2024
When we were little whippersnappers causing havoc in Mid Wales, we went through the trouble of choosing a football team to support from every European nation. Norway? Well, we could have selected the all-conquering Rosenborg, but the Troillongan had not long defeated our beloved Blackburn Rovers, so that wasn’t an option. Instead, we went with the mighty Bodø Glimt, as much for the team’s striking yellow jerseys as anything else.
Ladies and gentlemen: Beautiful Bodø, Norway © Joshua Kettle / Unsplash
Little did we know that decades later, we would find ourselves singing the praises of equally mighty Bodø, one of the northernmost cities on the planet and a charming centre of history, culture, and nature. Everything that makes Norway great, in a nutshell.

Bodø is the administrative centre of Nordland (“northland,” if you were curious), and the keyword there is “centre.” One of the fastest-growing cities in Scandinavia, Bodø has come a long way since it was awarded town status in 1816. Heck, it has come a long way from the illegal English trading scandal that sullied its name soon after, blossoming into a town that leans into its geography without depending on it.
If you stare at this photo long enough, you can almost hear the cool hipster music  © Thomas Litangen / Unsplash
Bodø has a long military history, sure, but it is a place that celebrates its nature as much as its nurture. This is the only city inside the Arctic Circle that experiences four seasons, for one, making it a surprisingly un-Arctic Arctic adventure. You’ll get plenty of that with the northern lights, glaciers, and immense currents, the latter including Saltstraumen, considered the strongest tidal current in the world.

In 2024, Bodø takes the stage as a European Capital of Culture (along with Bad Ischl, Austria and Tartu, Estonia, if you were curious). The calendar is packed with events (more than 1,000, at last count) to go with the usual run of festivals and extravaganzas that light up this most northern of northern places. Oh, and Bodø Glimt? The current and defending Eliteserien champions, if you must ask.


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