Bergen, historically Bjørgvin, is a city and municipality in Hordaland on the west coast of Norway. At the end of the first quarter of 2016, the municipality's population was 278,121, and the Bergen metropolitan region has about 420,000 inhabitants. Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway. The municipality covers 465 square kilometres (180 sq mi) and is on the peninsula of Bergenshalvøyen. The city centre and northern neighbourhoods are on Byfjorden, "the city fjord", and the city is surrounded by mountains; Bergen is known as the city of seven mountains. Many of the extra-municipal suburbs are on islands. Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland and consists of eight boroughs: Arna, Bergenhus, Fana, Fyllingsdalen, Laksevåg, Ytrebygda, Årstad and Åsane.
Trading in Bergen may have started as early as the 1020s. According to tradition, the city was founded in 1070 by king Olav Kyrre; its name was Bjørgvin, "the green meadow among the mountains". It served as Norway's capital in the 13th century, and from the end of the 13th century became a bureau city of the Hanseatic League. Until 1789, Bergen enjoyed exclusive rights to mediate trade between Northern Norway and abroad and it was the largest city in Norway until the 1830s when it was surpassed by the capital, Oslo. What remains of the quays, Bryggen, is a World Heritage Site. The city was hit by numerous fires over the years. The "Bergen School of Meteorology" was developed at the Geophysical Institute beginning in 1917, the Norwegian School of Economics was founded in 1936, and the University of Bergen in 1946. From 1831 to 1972, Bergen was its own county. In 1972 the municipality absorbed four surrounding municipalities and became a part of Hordaland county.
The city is an international centre for aquaculture, shipping, offshore petroleum industry and subsea technology, and a national centre for higher education, media, tourism and finance. Bergen Port is Norway's busiest in both freight and passengers with over 300 cruise ship calls a year bringing nearly a half a million passengers to Bergen, a number that has doubled in ten years. Almost half of the passengers are German or British. The city's main football team is SK Brann and the city's unique tradition is the buekorps. Natives speak the distinct Bergensk dialect. The city features Bergen Airport, Flesland, Bergen Light Rail, and is the terminus of the Bergen Line. Four large bridges connect Bergen to its suburban municipalities.
Bergen is well known for having a mild winter climate, though with a lot of precipitation. In December - March, the temperature difference between Bergen and Oslo can be up to 30 degrees Celsius, despite the fact that both cities are at approximately 60 degrees North. The Gulf Stream keeps the sea relatively warm, considering the latitude, and the mountains protect the city from cold winds from the north, north-east and east.
Bergen occupies most of the peninsula of Bergenshalvøyen in the district of Midthordland in mid-western Hordaland. The municipality covers an area of 465 square kilometres (180 square miles). Most of the urban area is on or close to a fjord or bay, although the urban area has are several mountains. The city centre is surrounded by the Seven Mountains, although there is disagreement as to which of the nine mountains constitute these. Ulriken, Fløyen, Løvstakken and Damsgårdsfjellet are always included as well as three of Lyderhorn, Sandviksfjellet, Blåmanen, Rundemanen and Kolbeinsvarden. Gullfjellet is Bergen's highest mountain, at 987 metres (3,238 ft) above mean sea level.
Bergen is sheltered from the North Sea by the islands Askøy, Holsnøy (the municipality of Meland) and Sotra (the municipalities of Fjell and Sund). Bergen borders the municipalities Meland, Lindås and Osterøy to the north, Vaksdal and Samnanger to the east, Os and Austevoll to the south, and Sund, Fjell and Askøy to the west.
Bergen is divided into 8 boroughs, as seen on the map to the right. Clockwise, starting with the northernmost, the boroughs are Åsane, Arna, Fana, Ytrebygda, Fyllingsdalen, Laksevåg, Årstad and Bergenhus. The city centre is located in Bergenhus. Parts of Fana, Ytrebygda, Åsane and Arna are not part of the Bergen urban area, explaining why the municipality has approximately 20,000 more inhabitants than the urban area.
Local borough administrations have varied since Bergen's expansion in 1972. From 1974, each borough had a politically chosen administration. From 1989, Bergen was divided into twelve health and social districts, each locally administrated. From 2000 to 2004, the former organizational form with eight politically chosen local administrations was again in use and from 2008 through 2010, a similar form existed where the local administrations had less power than previously.
In August 2004, Time magazine named the city one of Europe's 14 "secret capitals" where Bergen's capital reign is acknowledged within maritime businesses and activities such as aquaculture and marine research, with the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) (the second-largest oceanography research centre in Europe) as the leading institution. Bergen is the main base for the Royal Norwegian Navy (at Haakonsvern) and its international airport Flesland is the main heliport for the Norwegian North Sea oil and gas industry, from where thousands of offshore workers commute to their work places onboard oil and gas rigs and platforms.
One of Norway's largest shopping malls, Lagunen Storsenter, is located in Fana in Bergen, with a turnover of 2 540 million Norwegian kroner, and 5.2 million visitors every year.
Tourism is an important income source for the city. The hotels in the city may be full at times, due to the increasing number of tourists and conferences. Prior to the Rolling Stones concert in September 2006, many hotels were already fully booked several months in advance. Bergen is recognised as the unofficial capital of the region known as Western Norway, and recognised and marketed as the gateway city to the world-famous fjords of Norway and for that reason it has become Norway's largest – and one of Europe's largest – cruise ship ports of call.