No littering sign from the alleyways at Bryggen. Photo: Birkhaug og Omdal.

Bryggen has survived the last 300 years against all odds, and since the late 19th century, several attempts have been made to get rid of it. The slogan “Burn down the whole lot!” has become the symbol of the opposition to preserving Bryggen. Today, Bryggen is held in high regard, and few people question the value of Bryggen anymore. Ever since Asbjørn Herteig was appointed head of a large scale archaeological excavation following the city fire of 1955, we have known that Bryggen is a valuable source of knowledge about both local, national and international history. We have Asbjørn Herteig to thank for being able to see a cultural heritage site where most people in the 1950s only saw a dilapidated rat’s nest, but there are also other aspects on the road to today’s UNESCO status.