Håkon´s Hall

The main building in Norway's first castle, built between 1247 and 1261 by King Håkon Håkonsson as a royal residence and banquet hall.

Bergenhus Fortress is located at the end of Bryggen wharf in the heart of the city. In the Middle Ages, the fortress was the royal estate and political centre of 13th century Norway.  Håkon’s Hall and the Rosenkrantzt Tower are at testament to the period when the royal seat was in Bergen.

Håkon´s Hall is more than seven hundred and fifty years old and was built by King Håkon Håkonsson between 1247 and 1261 as a royal residence and feasting hall. When the king’s son Magnus Håkonsson Lagabøte married the Danish princess Ingeborg in 1261, 2000 guests were hosted in three buildings. “Kings held court in the stone hall”, as the sagas say.

At that time Bergen was Norway’s largest and most important city. Håkon’s Hall was the site of major national events, including the promulgation of Norway’s first complete set of laws. Within the thick stone walls you can still hear the echoes of the medieval court’s solemn ceremonies and riotous feasts. As a site of national heritage, Håkon´s Hall is still in use for royal dinners and other official occasions.

Håkon’s Hall is a royal banquet hall dating from the Middle Ages, the first of its kind built in stone in Norway. It was named and built during the reign of King Håkon Håkonsson, and was the biggest and most monumental build at Holmen. It was first used when his son Magnus the Lawmender Håkonsson married the Danish princess Ingeborg in 1261.

It was not given that Håkon´s Hall should remain an impressive building and the largest standing building from the Middle Ages in Norway until today. The hall lost its role as the king’s seat when the royal family moved out of the country in the late Middle Ages. It served later as storeroom, and was eventually turned into an ammunition store for the Bergenhus fortress. For a time it was even without a roof.

In 1916 Håkon´s Hall was restored for the first time, and its interior was decorated. In 1944 the building was, however, dangerously close to a second collapse, when the Dutch ammunition ship the Voorbode exploded in 1944, while at anchor in the harbour directly below. Only the walls where left standing. In the 1950s the hall was again restored, resulting in what we see today both concerning interior and exterior. The hall has three floors, with the large festive room located on the top floor. Originally the middle floor was for administration and the King’s council. The first floor, or basement, was most likely used as storage room.

Håkon’s Hall is again in ceremonial use on important occations, and is also used for conserts. In modern times it’s a cultural heritage attraction and museum.

It is free to enter the Bergenhus Fortress a military and historic area. Recommended for walking and recreation. The premisses are open from 07:00 – 23:00. At the reception you can get a fortress puzzle, the answers are to be found in the outdoor area. A fortress trail at the reception, with maps and information about buildings and the area for exploring the area.