Everything you need to know about Bodø, European Capital of Culture 2024
Bodø is the first European Capital of Culture north of the Arctic Circle, and only the third in Norway. Bold, unexpected, and modern, this Arctic city’s time to shine has come.
The new Bodø is certainly innovative and cultured. Surrounded by fjord, sea, and granite peaks, the city is adorned with street art murals and fuelled by a thriving café culture, a boutique brewery, and the freshest seafood. This is a place that begs to be explored.
Being European Capital of Culture 2024 feels like the natural next step, and Bodø is ready. “The city is very proud,” says Craig. “Suddenly people are starting to talk positively about our city. And now the cherry on the cake of our transformation is being European Capital of Culture. For a small place like Bodø, it means a lot. It’s very cool to get this kind of recognition.”
What to expect from the European Capital of Culture in 2024
Bodø’s European Capital of Culture programme for 2024 is inspired by the changing light of the Arctic seasons, the indigenous Sámi culture of the surrounding Sápmi region, and environmental consciousness.
The opening ceremony took place outdoors on 3 February. That ‘outdoors whatever the weather’ type of plan is almost unheard of in this part of the Arctic and another bold move by the people behind Bodø 2024. The ceremony unfolded on a spectacular floating stage, shaped like an otolith (the cod fish’s ear stone), and was attended by Queen Sonja of Norway herself.
Images from left to right: The opening ceremony of Bodø2024 (Marie Nystad/Bodø2024); The giant lávvu at ÁRRAN 360° (Kasper Holgersen/Bodø2024); A performer during the opening ceremony (Marie Nystad/Bodø2024); The exhibition opening of Håkon Bleken (David Engmo/Bodø2024).
As part of its successful bid, Bodø promised to increase representation of Sámi culture and heritage. That’s reflected in the scheduled performances, concerts, and exhibitions. Highlights include the new Sápmi Triennial Sámi contemporary art exhibition, the light installations of Nordland by Light, and ÁRRAN 360°, where original 360-degree films from leading Sámi filmmakers are projected in a giant lávvu.
Among the 1,000+ lectures, concerts, exhibitions, live music, poetry, championships, and family friendly performances that pack the programme, you’ll find a couple of world-firsts, including an opera about fish, and a concert in a submerged cave.
There are also installations and newly composed music that explore our relationship with the sea. A children’s LEGO championship. A symposium exploring the lives and challenges of seabirds. And the Norwegian Sprint Orienteering Championships.
It promises to be a diverse and thoughtful programme that will stay with you throughout 2024 and beyond.
2024 is Bodø’s time to shine, and its future looks bright.