Bodø celebrates 200 years with a jam packed calendar for 2016

Lei Ove Andsnes

When a beautiful and unique city like Bodø celebrates its 200 year birthday there is just one thing to do: party hard all year round! We have found the best culturally cool highlights being held this year. Check them out!

Bodø-folk really know how to throw a year long party and 2016 is the year to experience it.  The city welcomes you to Bodø2016, a giant celebration encompassing the whole city and all that makes it amazing. With a room at Radisson Blu Hotel, Bodø you will be smack bang in the middle of all the action from bike rides under the midnight sun to haunted farms and concerts.

Eight seasons of festivities

For the Sami people, there are in fact eight seasons in the year and Bodø wishes to make each and every one full of fun especially in 2016. The city’s actual birthday took place on 20. May, however if you visit any time this year, you won’t miss out.

  • We want to show all the aspects of the city and in order to make sure all the activities don’t overlap, we need an entire year. The year is split up into eight seasons like the Sami calendar and have been named according to their theme – Alice Sivertsen, Program Producer

No matter what your reason for visiting, you are sure to find something exciting in which to take part. Here is what is coming up on the program:

Culture and sports in the middle of nature

One of the eight seasons goes from 9 June to 10 July and is all about getting active outdoors.

  • June: The Midnight Sun Race. This is a biker’s dream, where you cycle from Bodø to Salten under the glowing midnight sun. There are four stages with different levels so that everyone, even beginners, can take part.
  • 19-26 June: Norwegian Championship Cycling. All the Norwegian professionals in cycling come together to compete in this fast-paced competition to win the Norwegian jersey. This sport is neck breaking to watch and is sure to get your heart pumping.
  • 1-3 July: Arctic Midnight Golf Challenge. At Bodø Golf Club, international golf stars come to the north to take part in the Midnight Sun Championships.

The coast, nature and transport cargo

If you are into music, nature and history then from 11 June to 28 August is the time for you to visit Bodø. Here are some of our top picks from the program:

  • 14-17 July: The Coastal Federation Meet. Over four days the coast becomes a playground with 150-200 boats coming to take part in the festivities. These boats are mostly traditional, making for a great site across the water. Come and board some cool vessels while you learn about them and then join one of the concerts.
  • 5-14 August: Háleyg Viking Market. For the first time (in a very long time) a Viking market is being set up in the city. Experience how a traditional market would have been and join in one of the games or listen to Sverdkamp, which is the art of singing old stories passed down verbally over generations.
  • 19-20 August: The Park Festival. In its 11th year, this festival is all about big names in the music industry. Watch famous Norwegian artists like Astrid S, Aurora, Karpe Diem and more rock out on the stage.


A little touch of crazy is always a bit of fun and when it comes to Bodø, there is no exception. This fantastically creative type of madness comes in the form of music, dance and other expressions from 29 August until 9 October.

  • 2-4 September: The Whirlpool Festival. In 2016 a festival based around the famous phenomenon Saltstraumen, the world’s strongest tidal current, will take place. During the event, you can taste traditional products from the area and check out Norway’s oldest instrument, a rock on a string.
  • 8-11 September: Bodø Biennial. Art lovers and those wanting to get more involved in the arts scene can join this three-day event. Seminars, workshops and exhibitions on art are set up in traditional and non-traditional spaces across the city.


Being the biggest city in the area, Bodø is a hub for the region and from the 10 October until 20 November you can learn all about it!

  • 10-12 October: Ghost night at Løp Farm. Are you scared of ghosts? Head to Løp, a 300 year old farmstead where many have begun and ended their lives. Come and learn more about it and enjoy the dramatizations. Maybe there really is more than the eye can see.
  • 7-13 November: Russian Culture Week. As Russia is one of Norway’s closest neighbors, it is only natural that there is an event encompassing Russian art, food with plenty of exhibitions, performances and more.

Past meets future

Along with December comes not only the end to Bodø’s birthday year, but also some excellent Christmas celebrations. Listen to the beautiful voices of a choir and join an old-fashioned Christmas Norwegian-style.

  • 27 November: Bodø Women’s Choir. This choir is celebrating their 70th birthday this year and are out to prove that not only wine gets better with the years. They are holding a Christmas concert in Rønvik church, which is sure to sound heavenly.
  • 8 December: An Old Fashioned Christmas. You are going to love seeing and taking part of a traditional Norwegian Christmas this year. Circling round the tree and decorating it, as well as visits from Santa will all get you and the family smiling from ear to ear.

Bodø2016 certainly has a varied and exciting program planned out for the year. Even more activities and events will take place than these, so be sure you check out their website when you book your trip. We are sure you are going to love Bodø and all its 200 years of history!

Top image © Bjørn Erik Olsen / / Bodø

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