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Cultural Intrusion in Downtown Stavanger

This post is not about a place in Eastern Europe, but far beyond it. It’s about a public space in Stavanger, Norway. But the reason it is featured on NovaEuropa is because this is a kind of space I would love to see in Eastern Europe too. It’s a space that you wouldn’t normally expect to find on the high street among fast food chains and shopping malls. Yet, it’s right in the centre of the shopping district in Stavanger. It is a modern and spacious public library.



It is found opposite to McDonalds on one side, and clothing stores and cafes on the other. Velkommen til SØLVBERGET, Stavanger kulturhus! A public cultural house that is competing with shopping stores on the high street for the number of visitors. And it does this in style. Along with a modern library, it offers magazines and press, fast Internet access, cinema, filmoteca, a charming cafe, and most importantly, plenty of liberating space for you to do anything you fancy. Or, almost anything.



For me, this is a great example of a way to give locals and tourists a space they need to communicate, work, or study. A space where you can happily spend your whole day in. And at the same time it exposes random shoppers to culture when they don’t expect it. Hence, creating inspiration.


This is in such a contrast to my native Ukraine, where there are thousands of old-fashioned libraries across the country, hidden from view. What if just some of them could be modernised and moved to where people are… to the shopping streets?


Am I just a dreamer? Or, perhaps there is an opportunity here?


Following are pictures of SØLVBERGET in Stanavanger.

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