Tucked away in the peaceful landscape of Norway lies a hidden cultural gem. Though small in size, Hamar is full of fun. With a long history steeped in local tradition and culture, the city aspires to become the urban heart of the region, kicking off this summer’s programme with renowned acts including Lenny Kravitz, Jarle Bernhoft, and Kaizers Orchestra.

While most Norwegians, figure skating fans, and Winter Olympics enthusiasts might be familiar with Hamar, the hidden gem nestled along Mjøsa is fairly unfamiliar to the international community. Don’t let yourself be fooled by its size – Hamar is full of life! As the regional capital of the county Innlandet, it serves as a cultural meeting point for the 90,000 people who live in the Hamar region. But it is much more too. Whether you like to travel for fun and entertainment, rich medieval history, or just the opportunity to relax in peaceful natural surroundings, Hamar has it all.

A Norwegian Heartland – Exploring the cultural tapestry of Hamar

The iconic Elton John is one of many big names who have performed in Hamar. Photo: Hamar kommune

“While it’s full of possibilities and fun, it’s also a small enough city for people to have easy access to everything,” says Morten Midtlien, the Municipal Commissioner of Culture in Hamar.

A Norwegian Heartland – Exploring the cultural tapestry of Hamar

The ruins of the medieval cathedral at Domkirkeodden. Photo: Hamar Kommune

From the ancient Viking settlements to the modern-day cultural hubs, Hamar’s journey through time is a testament to the resilient, innovative spirit of the locals. The city emerged as a vital trading hub during the Viking Age, and in the medieval period, it became a religious and political centre in the region. Today, however, Hamar has emerged as a cultural destination.

A Norwegian Heartland – Exploring the cultural tapestry of Hamar

Jump into Mjøsa, Norway’s largest lake. Photo: Schibsted Partner Studio

“We continue to develop and invest in our city’s cultural events for both locals from Hamar and the surrounding region, but also for tourists from other countries and places,” says Midtlien.

A Norwegian Heartland – Exploring the cultural tapestry of Hamar

A piece of paradise: Hamar’s Mjøsafront is a beautiful place to soak in the sun and dig your toes in the sand. Photo: Hamar kommune

Swing into summer with Lenny Kravitz, Bernhoft and more

Among other things, the municipality has invested in concerts to encourage cultural growth and fun among locals. “The ‘Live in Hamar’ festival is an annual event held outside the Hamar Olympic Hall, known as Vikingskipet, offering both locals and travellers the chance to have a boogie while taking in the sight that is Hamar’s most famous landmark.

A Norwegian Heartland – Exploring the cultural tapestry of Hamar

Hamar railway station. Photo: Frederik Garshol

“Last year, we were so lucky as to have the amazing Norwegian duo Karpe as well as Stig Brenner and Emma Steinbakken grace our stage and perform to 15.000 people,” says Midtlien. “We’ve also previously hosted Sting, Elton John, and Aha for outdoor concerts on the main square in Hamar City Centre.”

A Norwegian Heartland – Exploring the cultural tapestry of Hamar

Jarle Bernhoft. Photo: Fred Johnny

And this summer’s acts will be no less iconic. With a vast list of accomplishments and awards under his belt, Grammy-winning rockstar and actor Lenny Kravitz will be performing in Hamar as one of his two only performances in Norway this year. Kravitz is releasing his 12th studio album, Blue Electric Light, this May, just in time for Live in Hamar on the 27th of June.

LENNY KRAVITZ POSTER. Photo: Lenny Kravitz Team[

LENNY KRAVITZ POSTER. Photo: Lenny Kravitz Team

“Lenny Kravitz is a legend, and it’s absolutely amazing to be able to present him to an audience as a part of our city’s 175 jubilee,” says Midtlien.

Among other names to perform is the multitalented Norwegian musician Jarle Berhoft. Nominated for a Grammy in 2014, Bernhoft is a singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist as well as a mentor on The Voice Norway, and is set to bring the energy through the roof.

“I’ve listened to Lenny Kravitz for a long time, and his influence has helped shape me into the musician I am today. I’m very excited to show off to the grand master,” Bernhoft says.



The heat of summer won’t stop there, with Kaizers Orchestra, Sondre Justad, and SKAAR also performing in Hamar on the 6th of July.

“In addition to the many outdoor festivals, Hamar Center of Performing Arts also offers many great concerts,” says Midtlien. “Celebrating the cultural centre’s 10th anniversary, there will be lots of amazing artists to see this year, including indie pop band Highasakite, jazz musician Jan Garbarek, singer-songwriter Kari Bremnes, and 11-times Grammy-nominated pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.”

From concerts to poetry events and plays, Hamar Kulturhus will host an array of fun entertainment over the year, with hopes of providing even more entertainment and fun to the local area in the years to come.

A Norwegian Heartland – Exploring the cultural tapestry of Hamar

Photo: Hamar kommune

Impressive to even the most blasé of travellers

While music and concerts appeal to many, they are not the only experiences attracting travellers to Hamar. The city is a haven for art lovers, its vibrant cultural scene offering a myriad of artistic experiences, but without the loud hustle and bustle of larger metropolitan areas. Enjoy a quiet stroll through Kunstbanken Art Gallery or, if you’re a lover of opera, Kirsted Flagstad’s home-turned-museum.

If history is more your thing, the possibilities are endless. Hamar’s rich heritage has left it with many historical treasures and landmarks, offering a glimpse into its past. For instance, you can visit the ruins of the magnificent medieval cathedral at Domkirkeodden, listed among the most beautiful museums in the world. While you’re there, marvel at its architecture, delve into the stories that once took place within its walls and explore the artefacts and relics from Hamar’s past.

A Norwegian Heartland – Exploring the cultural tapestry of Hamar

Beyond cultural attractions and entertainment, Hamar is also blessed with serene, beautiful surroundings. After a day of museum-hopping, concerts, and culinary experiences, you may take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the shores of Mjøsa, Norway’s largest lake. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, have a crack at hiking Hedmarksvidda.

Indeed, while relatively unknown compared to other large Norwegian cities, Hamar packs a punch when it comes to cultural possibilities. From its rich history to booming festivals, this is a charming gem of the Norwegian heartland. On top of all the fun experiences available, the city’s warm and welcoming community sets it apart. Even to the most blasé of travellers, Hamar is truly impressive.

A Norwegian Heartland – Exploring the cultural tapestry of Hamar

Kaizers Orchestra will also be performing in Hamar this summer. Photo: Arne Bru Haug

Web: www.hamar.no

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