The Rosenkrantz Tower

The most important Renaissance monument in Norway

Regarded as the most important Renaissance monument in Norway. The Rosenkrantz Tower was the residence of one of Norway’s most significant kings, Magnus the Lawmender, in the 13th century. Parts of the tower are from the 1270s and were built by Mangus the Lawmender Håkonsson, but it has been extended several times for pursposes of fortification and offices for the govenors of Bergen. In the 16th century it became the governor´s castle.

To visit the Rosenkrantz Tower is to get close to history. You will see the authentic stone walls in King Magnus Lagabøte’s bedroom, the chapel with the original altar where the King spent a lot of his time, and the room on the ground floor where his guards lived. Climb the winding, dim, narrow flight of stairs from the 16th-century dungeons,  guardsrooms, a chapel, royal bedrom all the way up to the cannon attic. The cannons up here were used only once in a war, during the battle of Vågen, on 2 August, 1665.

At the top you can enter the top roof where the tower guards an excellent view of the city. Still perhaps the city’s best view!

The Middle Ages

The inner core of the tower is Magnus Lagabøte’s tower or castle from the 13th century. This is one of the monuments from the time when Norway was a political force in Northern Europe. The tower was the residence of the last two kings who ruled Norway from Bergen, King Magnus Lagabøte and his eldest son, King Eirik Magnusson. Through state administration and legislation, we can state that the kings in the High Middle Ages formed a Norwegian state.

The Danish era

The tower also represents Norway’s demise. The Danish captain Jørgens Hansønn rebuilt the tower in the early 16th century. The newest part, added to sheriff Erik Rosenkrantz from the 1560s, represents Denmark’s power. It was now Danish officials who made up the power apparatus in the country. The governors represented the Danish king’s power locally. The tower is thus a symbol of the time of the union, where Denmark was the strong party at the expense of Norway.


In 1944, the Rosenkrantz Tower was badly damaged when a cargo ship loaded with explosives exploded just outside. The upper floors collapsed. The reconstruction was completed in the 1960s. The investigations that were made led to an increase in knowledge about the tower. The restoration made it possitble to see the building’s different building stages, and history can be clearly read in the walls.

The Rosenkrantz Tower was King Eirik Magnusson’s residence until his death in 1299. He was the last king to reside in Bergen. Later, the tower was used to house residents in far less comfortable circumstances – the notorious dungeon is in the basement and was probably in use until the first half of the 19th century.

You will find several exhibitions in the Rosenkrantz Tower: The battle at Vågen, Anne Pedersdatter – a witch story and more.

The Rosenkrantz Tower is primarily used as a museum, but also concerts and events have is taken place here.

Search, find and learn!

Free booklet with questions for children. (Please bring your own pencil.)