Bergen is a bustling city where tradition meets modern living. It has a low unemployment rate and thriving commerce, cultural and tourism sectors. There is a wide choice of accommodation, from traditional wooden houses to more modern apartments further out from the center.
Thanks to Norway’s excellent welfare, health and education systems, residents enjoy a very high standard of living; Norway is ranked the best country in the world to live in according to the OECD (the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). While the cost of living in Norway is high compared to many other countries around the world, wages are, generally, higher too. Bergen has a very low crime rate and is a family-friendly city, with a natural playground on its doorstep. All of these reasons make it a destination of choice for many expats.
Bergen is Norway’s second biggest city after Oslo and is the administrative center of the county of Hordaland. Situated among the Seven Mountains and on the shoreline of Byfjorden, a nine mile long fjord, Bergen is sheltered from the North Sea by the islands Askøy, Holsnøy and Sotra.
Dating back to before 1070 AD, Bergen’s port has a long, rich history and is today the busiest in Norway, with daily commercial and passenger ships arriving from around the world.
Bergen is famous for its wet climate. Due to the city's location in northern Scandinavia, near the sea and surrounded by mountains, the city has 240 days of rainfall each year on average. Summer days can be quite warm and sunny, with average temperatures reaching 62°F (17°C) during July and August. Winters are cold but they are not extreme. Temperatures in January and February are around 0°C.
Favorable weather in spring and summer brings people outdoors, giving Bergen its buzz, while the city’s many rhododendron bushes and laburnum trees add plenty of color.
Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU) but it is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). This means citizens of any EU or EEA country do not require a residence permit and can live in the country for up to three months. Beyond this, people must register with the police as an employee, student, person with own funds, or family member of an EU/EEA national with residence.
Non-EU citizens planning to move to Norway — and if they don't have a place on a recognized higher education course — will require a visa. There are Norwegian embassies all over the world, see norway.info to locate your nearest one.
For more detailed information on visa regulations, take a look at our dedicated article on Moving to Norway.