“Bergen was long the biggest city in Scandinavia, and Bryggen was the city’s heart.”

My last stop was the one I had been looking forward to the most; the World Heritage City of Bergen in Norway. The 7 hour train ride from Oslo to Bergen is already incredible in itself, time flies while passing countless lakes, small villages and snowy mountains.

Bergen is the name of the city – located on the west coast of Norway. Bryggen, however, is the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located within the city of Bergen. It is the old wharf of Bergen, part of the Hanseatic League (just like Visby!). It consists of around 62 wooden buildings that have been burned down and rebuild many times over the centuries, but the traditional patterns and methods remained… Bryggen was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979.

Bergen is known for its beautiful surroundings, its nickname being ‘the capital of the fjords’, so of course I did several incredible hikes in the area, each view was even more impressive than the last. One of the many possibilities is taking the Floybanen to go up to Floyen mountain and seeing the city of Bergen from above. Alternatively, it is also absolutely incredible to take a boat cruise and see the fjords from up close!

On my last day, I was lucky enough to meet Hege Agathe Bakke-Alisoy, who gave me a tour of the Bryggen site and explained its history throughout the years. We discussed the effects of climate change on cultural heritage as well as on the city as a whole, giving me several interesting examples of initiatives that are working on this subject.

Many positive things written about the way Bergen is setting an example for climate action globally, something that was confirmed in my conversation with the World Heritage Coordinator as well as other people working in the office of Bergen Kommune. It is something that has been taking centre stage in their decision-making and policies for several years, something that is taken very seriously. The City council of Bergen published the ‘Green Strategy: Climate and Energy Action Plan for Bergen’ in 2016, a very concrete and detailed action plan that you can read online,

Bergen might have been my favourite stop of the whole trip, its rich culture and beautiful fjords are unmatched! Definitely take your time when you visit this World Heritage City, a couple of days will not be enough for you 😊


From Visby and on my way to Bergen, I made a short stop in the city of Kongsberg, Norway. I stayed here for 2 days in a wonderful Airbnb!

Kongsberg (Viken County) is a historical mining town, just one and a half hours by train from Norway’s capital of Oslo. It is one of the only places where you could mine silver in Europe, operating from 1623 until 1958.

The mines are located in a beautiful park that is also great for hiking! My Airbnb host, Tale, was kind enough to give me a guided tour of the historical area – she knew everything there was to know about Kongsberg’s history and the old silver mines. We walked around for a few hours and even managed to sneak into Kongsberg Church, a beautiful and unusual building with a surprising theatre-like interior.

Even though I was only there for a short time, Kongsberg is definitely worth a visit!


Visby is a 12th century Hanseatic town with an old city center that looks like it came straight from a painting – it is no wonder many Stockholm residents choose to spend their summer months here!

From Stockholm, you can take a 1 hour transfer bus and then a 3 hour ferry to arrive in Visby, the harbour and capital city of Gotland, an island in the middle of the Baltic Sea.

On Tuesday afternoon, I had the privilege to get a walking tour from Louise Hoffman, World Heritage coordinator/ Site Manager in Visby. She showed me where the harbour used to be, and we walked along the incredibly well-preserved old city wall. On the way, we walked past several impressive ruins and the beautiful St Mary’s Cathedral.

At one point, Louise pointed towards a part of the wall that had fallen down a few years before, due to an old renovation that used cement in between the bricks – instead of the more elastic limestone. She explained the importance of mapping the entire wall for weak spots and fortifying them, a large-scale project that is still going on!

Of course we also discussed climate change and its impact on the island/ the island’s heritage. As Visby is an island, it is particularly vulnerable to changing weather conditions such as storms, heavy rainfall, droughts, and rising sea levels. Especially droughts has been a big issue in recent years… During summer, there have been campaigns to encourage people to be more frugal with their water usage – which is very much necessary.

Another interesting aspect of the city’s sustainability is the preservation of its traditional knowledge with regards to renovating the old houses inside the city center. Using the island’s own natural resources (mainly limestone) and traditional techniques to preserve these houses in a low-cost and ecological way, can definitely be seen as a way to use heritage as a mitigation tool for climate change.

We also talked about the difficult balance between preserving heritage and incorporating ‘new’ solutions such as isolation and solar panels, a complicated and challenging topic.

In conclusion, the town of Visby has charming cobblestone streets, numerous little shops and even a wonderful botanical garden – perfect for spending a couple of relaxing days. Next time I hope I have time to visit the other towns and natural reserves in Gotland, which are rich with tens of thousands of cultural artifacts!


The city between the bridges, the capital that floats on water,… was built on 14 (!!) islands surrounding the original mediaeval city or Gamla Stan/ Old Town, these islands are connected by more than 50 bridges.

In Gamla Stan, there are many beautiful buildings to be spotted, most of them dating back to the 16th and 17th century. One of my personal favourites is definitely Kungliga Slottet or Stockholm Palace, it is the official residence of the Swedish monarch Carl XVI Gustaf (although it is not where he usually resides). The impressive building was built on the site of the original Tre Kronor Castle (13th century), which was destroyed in a fire at the end of the 17th century. In the 18th century, Kungliga Slottet was built and has remained relatively untouched since its completion in the 1770s.

Apart from impressive built heritage, the capital of Sweden is also home to another extremely important part of Swedish heritage: fika. Fika is a vital part of Swedish social life, having a relaxing coffee with friends – never forgetting to accompany it with a baked treat! The most popular pastries to have for fika are the kanelbulle/ cinnamon bun and kladdkaka/ sticky chocolate cake, which were tested and approved alongside many coffees (I had to, for the integrity of this blog).

And if beautiful buildings and amazing food cannot convince you to pay Sweden’s capital a visit, there is always the Museum of Modern Art/ Moderna Museet, where you can visit the permanent collection for free. Home to a collection of art from right before the First World War until the 1980s (from Malevich and Picasso to Abramovic and Sherman), with a distinct attention to feminist art and female artists – it is definitely worth a visit!

So if you are lucky enough to visit Stockholm on a nice sunny day, enjoy the perfect combination of heritage and fika while sitting by the water and looking at the beautiful surroundings…

The city of Stockholm published a Climate Action Plan (2020-2023), with the main objective being “A fossil-free and climate-positive Stockholm by 2040“. You can read the whole plan online via this link: . The Action Plan talks about biodiversity and natural heritage, however, cultural heritage is not mentioned specifically. The Swedish Portal for Climate Change Adaptation does include the impact of climate change on cultural heritage – mainly focussing on preventive work and preserving traditional knowledge.




I started my travels a little while ago with a visit to one of the most magical World Heritage Cities in the world – which is a completely unbiased opinion since it also happens to be my home town.

Bruges is an incredibly well-preserved   medieval city, mainly thanks to the fact that the historic centre has been UNESCO protected heritage since 2000. The reasoning behind this UNESCO recognition was threefold: Bruges’ valuable architectural heritage (a very recognizable brick gothic style), its authentic medieval urban centre, and it being considered the birth place of the Flemish Primitive painting school (think Jan Van Eyck and Jheronymus Bosch!).

Walking through the cobbled streets feels like going back in time to the 12th century, when Bruges was an important commercial centre in Europe. My preferred way of experiencing this city is to aimlessly walk around, every corner you turn will reveal another picture-perfect spot!

Several impressive cathedrals and churches show off the typical Gothic architecture, such as the famous Church of our Lady or the Belfry of Bruges. The Church of our Lady is the tallest structure in the city and the third tallest brickwork tower in the world! Do not stop here though, make sure to step inside to admire Michelangelo’s marble sculpture of the Virgin and Child – also known as the Madonna of Bruges. 

One of the city’s main assets is without a doubt the Bruges canals flowing quietly throughout the city centre, home to slightly aggressive white (and the occasional black) swans. On a hot day, which admittedly is not common in Belgium, there is nothing better than grabbing a Belgian beer at one of the waterside cafés, or hanging out in a nice green park.

I was also lucky enough to meet with Karel Dendooven, the head of the head of the monument care and heritage affairs department in Bruges. He told me about the departments’ future plans and aspirations for the city, which are undoubtedly going to make Bruges an even more necessary addition to your travel bucket list!