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The Bergen Map

Doctor Wiesener’s Public Bath House

Doctor Wiesener’s public bath house opened September 7. 1889, the year after the death of medical doctor Joachim Wiesener. The bath house was erected in grateful memory to the doctors professional work and for his valuable contributions to the community. Locally initiated, the bath house was erected for the benefit of "the less fortunate" as well as in fond memory of the good doctor. Today the building is home to a pub that promotes neighbourly friendship.

Joachim Georg Wiesener was an important contributor to the work for public health. He and many of his contemporaries held the opinion that personal hygiene and walks in fresh air was good for people. Dr. Wiesener is also known to many as a founding father of Bergen’s largest park – Nygårdsparken.

Joachim Wiesener wanted reasonably priced public baths for people of low incomes. He pursued this thought eagerly for many years, but saw few results in his lifetime. He died in 1888. After his death, a fund-raising campaign was held and the public bath was built. The grand opening took place on September 7. 1889. The bath house was built after a German standard based on professor Oskar Lassar's simple and reasonably priced shower bath house, allowing people of low income to take showers on a regular basis.

When finished, the bath house cost a total of 20 323 Norwegian kroner and 46 øre. It was financed through the fund-raising and an added contribution from a local bank. The property was made available by Bergenhus Fort. On the bath’s first year 41 540 people came here to shower. Entrence fee was 0.10 kroner for adults and 0.05 kroner for children. 

"Entrence fee was 0.10 kroner for adults and 0.05 kroner for children." 

Bergen already had a number of outdoor baths, such as the sea baths at Sydnes and Nordnes, Bonges Bath House by Store Lungegårdsvann, Elsero Sea Bath near Gamle Bergen Museum and Gjelsviks Bath House at Møhlenpris. When Dr. Wiesener’s bath house opened it only offered indoor showers. People were given the opportunity to wash regularly, and the children in the neighborhood were frequent users. The bath house was a simple construction, unable to offer fancy cure baths like the bath house in the public hospital in Bergen. Also Marken Public Bath, established in 1906, offered cure baths to some extent, with its steam bath and sauna in addition to the regular showers.

The city took ownership of the bath in 1896. It was run by the city until Bergen got a large swimming bath in 1960 - Sentralbadet. After this, the bath has been privately let out. The bath house has been a "public house" since 1992. Today the building is owned by a neighbourhood share holding company and the pub is run i a poetic spirit of neighbourly friendliness.

Dr. Wiesener's Public Bath from the outside.

Bergenshistorie

Til alle som har en fot i fortidens Bergen - hva med Elisabeth Welhavens fornøyelige historier fra Bergen rundt 1800? Boken kan bestilles på Histos forlag!

The inside. Pictures by Histos.