Bodo, Norway, named 2024 European Capital of Culture

Bodo, Norway, named 2024 European Capital of Culture  (Image at - June 2023)Bodo will be the first city north of the Arctic Circle to hold the European Capital of Culture title in 2024. Passengers arriving into Bodo next year will be able to enjoy a variety of extra events in different locations.

More than 600 are planned, with the Sami culture playing its part.

The year starts of with a major opening ceremony in the harbour on February 3, leading in to the Sami week. Subsequent events range from hosting a concert inside Pluragrotta – northern Europe’s largest water-filled cave south of town – to Project 67, a shipping container-turned-mobile art space inspired by the nomadic culture of the region’s indigenous peoples.

“It is all about spreading Arctic culture around Norway and Europe,” explains Erlend Willumsen, director of market and development Port of Bodo.

Unfortunately for the Norwegian port, the pandemic years reduced the city’s ability to promote the event as much as it might, but Willumsen is optimistic about the benefits, saying: “We have heard from cities like Aarhus and Stavanger that they had growth from cruiselines because of being capitals of culture in the past.

“And we still have the availability to host more ships throughout the cultural year. We will be happy to help cruiselines plan according to the cultural calendar”.

For many years there were just under 10 calls to Bodo but, prior to Covid-19, the number had been growing significantly with 45 calls scheduled in 2021. Although this year the number has reduced to 30, next year 35 are booked which is in line with the port’s aim to “grow slowly and safely and to be a medium size cruise port,” catering to ships up to a maximum of 300m in length.

Willumsen comments: “We want to be sure that we can deliver good products, both to the cruise lines and for their passengers. It is always nice to work for new lines but it is even better to have them back.”

(Port of Bodo)