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The history of Stavanger

From ancient landscape to oil town

03. Jun 2017 - 31. Jan 2019

The exhibition focuses on the history of Stavanger, from the earliest settlement in the region up to our own time. It starts with a model of the landscape such as it looked before the town was built and shows how Stavanger has grown: from being a sparsely settled area to becoming Norway’s fourth-largest city.

 The exhibition presents Stavanger’s history chronologically, from the town’s founding in the early 1100s, through the Middle Ages and the Reformation, then through post-Reformation times to the ‘herring town’ in the 1800s and the ‘canning town’ in the first half of the 1900s. It concludes with a display of present-day Stavanger as the ‘oil capital’ of Norway.

 Herring, brisling and oil are the three main factors that have shaped Stavanger’s modern history. Its inhabitants have harvested the ocean’s resources and turned them into the main industries for the city and the region. The exhibition presents the mercantile and maritime town that burgeoned on account of the herring trade in the 1800s. This is followed by the industrial town that resulted from the canning industry, and finally, the modern oil city with its many Norwegian and international oil companies and diverse oil-related businesses.