Bergen’s Theta Museum: tiny room with a huge story

by Norway

The Theta Museum sign at the entranceIt was a secret room then and, for many, it remains a secret museum and hidden room today. It is the itty-bitty Theta Museum, a minute 170-square-foot (16 square meters) low-ceiling room hidden away on an upper floor of the Bryggen wharf area in Bergen. The museum was the headquarters of the Theta Group, an important part of the Norwegian Resistance during WWII. Fascinating in its story, the room was reconstructed exactly how it looked when it operated with a few young men and one woman from 1940-1942 as their secret headquarters.

These individuals secretly broadcast German navy ship locations up and down the coast to the Allies in the United Kingdom from their Theta Group headquarters. The courageous young Norwegians, between 19 to 22 years of age, risked their lives for more than two years of the room’s existence and after that too. They are credited with helping the British navy find and ultimately sink the Tirpitz, the most feared German battleship.


The room looks and exists much as it did back in 1942, partly thanks to several of the men who were still alive at the time of the museum’s creation, plus their memories and photos. Although not listed in many guide books, visiting the Theta Museum is a do-not-miss sight in Bergen where you can personally experience the bravery, intelligence and keen engineering savvy of the group. For example, the members created an ingenious electrical lock on the Theta Museum door that didn’t really look like a door. A rusty old bent piece of wire hung nearby on the wall in the maze of warehouse buildings. Use the wire to connect two nails through tiny holes in the door and it opens – and that system is still demonstrated today to visitors.

The Theta Museum entrance with secret lock

The Theta Museum entrance looking much as it did in 1942. You can just see the wire hanging to the right of the door. It was used to connect a circuit between two nails on the door to open an electronic lock behind the door.

The secret room itself, albeit small, was set up so the resistance workers could live there for short periods of time, with fold-down bunks, electric cookers, food provisions and furniture. For example, if they had been away in England a period of time, they didn’t want to reappear in Bergen suddenly and arose suspicion.

The Theta Museum from the inside

A view of the sophisticated lock on the backside the door, as well as furnishings  from inside the Theta Museum room.

It was quite by accident that the Nazis discovered the hidden room. During a raid on the Bryggen wharf on Oct. 17, 1942, one of the German soldiers stepped through the rotten wood ceiling above the room. None of the Theta Group members were inside at the time. Fortunately (for history and for Bergen), the large cache of TNT that was stored in a cabinet and intended to destroy the room if discovered did not detonate. The amount of TNT, it is theorized now, would have been sufficient to destroy the entire Bryggen wharf and beyond. Six Theta Group members were in Bergen at the time and went undercover.

Theta Museum TNT

Thankfully, the TNT stored in a cabinet in what is now the Theta Museum did not detonate when the Germans literally fell into the room.

The Germans destroyed the room following the raid, but the furniture, radio equipment, maps, and other objects in the museum have been carefully assembled to closely approximate how the room looked in World War II. The coffee table, we were told, was the only original piece from the room, discovered in a German office following the war. Historic photos and a machine gun on the wall add to the fascinating story being told by one tiny room. A working committee of six former Theta members was set up in the early ‘80s and, eventually, with publicity and a successful search for funding, the historic museum was opened in 1983 by King Olav the 5th.

Theta Museum radio and tnt

The Theta Museum radio equipment and a few photos of the brave men of the Theta Group.

Finding the Theta Museum

Finding the room is not overly difficult although it does remain in a somewhat discrete location – and will take a bit of determination. The entrance is hidden behind the Enhjorningen restaurant on the third floor. In fact, you have to walk up stairs from the Enhjorningsgaarden passageway through part of the restaurant. The stairs are near the small square at the end of the passageway. At the time we were there, there was a small sign at the end of the street (more of a tiny poster in a frame) and another on the wall near the entrance, both with a photo of the interior and a short description.

Hours for the Theta Room are very limited, unfortunately. In 2014, it was allegedly only open in June, July and August on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2-4 p.m. However, we have found indications that others visited as early as May or into September. The best we can recommend is to sleuth it out and go there to see. In addition, the Bryggen Foundation that oversees it (located nearby in the Bredsgaarden) notes to contact its offices for possible special arrangements — +47 55 55 20 80

There is also a page of information about the Theta Museum on the Bryggen Foundation website, unfortunately only in Norwegian. But there is a map, and translation websites will give you the basic information on the page.

The entry fee is 40 NOK for adults and 20 NOK for children (approximately USD $5.50 and $2.75) – not inexpensive for a guided visit that may not take more than 30 minutes. But do not hesitate. The Theta Museum is an historical gem.

Theta Museum view from the door

Looking into the tiny Theta Room from the doorway.

 HITT Ultimate City Guides: You will want to spend at least 48 hours exploring Bergen as there is so much more to see and do than the fabulous Theta Room. We’ve made it as easy as possible for you with detailed information and links to transportation, hotel, key sites and attractions, information centers, maps and discount cards. Click here to start planning your Bergen visit.

If you like Bergen you'll love these other cities in Norway

If you like Bergan as much as we do, you will love Norway’s other magical cities, such as Trondheim, Alesund, Kirkenes and Roros. Be sure to read Eight reasons to visit Trondheim, Visit Roros, Norway: UNESCO World Heritage Town, Beautiful Alesund inspires artists and photographers, and Kirkenes travel tips: An Arctic frontier at road’s end.

Discover Norway Map

Norway Travel Map
Click here to launch the Norway travel map showing locations of our favorite sites in Norway.
Heads up! This information on Bergen’s Theta Museum was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). It is your sole responsibility to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, and any other important details before your adventure.

Evacuation Coverage We Use

Global Rescue Ad - travel insurance for when it matters most

Travel Insurance We Recommend

Best Hotel Deals

Amazon Travel

Need a Visa? Find out!

Offers For You


𝗥𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝘂𝗱𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝗛𝗮𝗺𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗴’𝘀 𝗜𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿 𝗔𝗹𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿 lake (Binnenalster). On a drizzly early morning, the lights along the northern German city’s downtown lake light the way for a bike commuter – who only leaves behind a headlight trail. Hamburg is a town that sparkles in the sun with all of its water, but enjoys its share of rain too. Staying inside is not really an option so bundle up and head on out, rain or shine. @hamburgahoi @germanytourism⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #theglobewanderer #exploringtheglobe #travelstoke #roamtheplanet #travelawesome #mytinyatlas #thebestdestinations #bestplacestogo #theprettycities #awesome_photographers #hamburg #welovehh #igershamburg #hamburgmeineperle #hh #wearehamburg ⁣ #ig_hamburg #igershh #hamburgcity #alster #typischhamburch ⁣ #welovehamburg #hamburgliebe #wirsindhamburg #instahamburg #hitraveltales ...

0 0

A starburst through the trees as the sun sinks behind the hills. Sometimes a beautiful late spring evening 😎 at home will feel just as glamorous as one in a 🏡 faraway city. We love to travel. And we love coming home. ⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #naturediversity #treestagram #starburst #nature_seekers #instanature #hitraveltales #mothernature #nature_prefection #natureaddict #travel #travelling #travelingram #igtravel #travelblog #traveler #travels #traveltheworld #travelblogger #naturelove #traveller #travelpics #travellife ...

0 0

A 𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗱 𝗲𝗮𝗴𝗹𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘁𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗯𝗼𝗮𝘁 through the rain as we motor along the Missouri River on a 𝗚𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀 boat tour in Montana. Gates of the Mountains was made famous by Meriwether Lewis when he documented the natural site in 1805 by writing his journal, "𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘬𝘺 𝘮𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘴." The 2-hour boat tours run daily and start approximately 15 miles north of Helena. @visithelenamt ⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #rockymountains #visithelenamt #montana #gatesofthemountains #missouririver #montana #bigskycountry #montanagram #visitmontana #nature #baldeagle #wildlife #hitraveltales #travelphoto #travelpics #wildlifephotography #traveltheworld #traveldiaries ...

0 3

𝗟𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗹𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗯𝗶𝗸𝗲𝘀 at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Check out our Berlin City Guide to learn more about Berlin - @visit_berlin⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #aroundtheworldpix #places_wow #theglobewanderer #exploringtheglobe #roamtheplanet #theprettycities #mytinyatlas #berlin #bestplacestogo #hitraveltales #berlinstagram #traveldeeper #lonelyplanet #berlincalling #travelawesome #berlinpage #lighttrails #lighttrailsphotography #historicalplace #historicalarchitecture #travelphotography #wanderlust #picoftheday #igersberlin #diestadtberlin #visit_berlin #ig_berlin ...

0 2

𝗔 𝘁𝗼𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗙𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘆! During the Wakamatsu Festival at the Wakamatsu Farm near Placerville, California in June of this year, Therese tasted some deliciously eye-opening sake by the new Shimizu Sake Company in Sonoma County, California -- a craft sake brewer who will be opening a tasting room in late 2019. (“𝘓𝘪𝘬𝘦” 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘍𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘣𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘱𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴! 𝘐𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘺𝘶𝘮! 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘴, 𝘉𝘳𝘶𝘤𝘦 𝘚𝘩𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘻𝘶!) @shimizusakecompany @[email protected] @visitjapanjp @visitcalifornia ⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #mytinyatlas #flashesofdelight #hitraveltales #sake #bartending #cheers #fridaymood # #prost #forahappymoment #cocktail #tasty #cocktails #drinks #drinkup #mixologist #happyhour #liquor #bar #drinkcraft #drinklocal ...

0 0

Affiliate Advertising Dislcaimer

Posts and pages on our website contain references to products and services from our affiliate advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links and/or purchase products from one of our affiliate advertisers. Purchasing from our affiliate network does not cost you any more than going direct and, helps keep the lights on in our office, for which we are eternally grateful. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Follow Me

Michael Hodgson

Co-Conspirator at HI Travel Tales
Winner of a 2018 Silver Medal from the North American Travel Journalists Association for travel writing excellence, Michael has authored more than 16 books and penned many hundreds of feature articles over the years. His bylines have appeared in Backpacker, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Outside, The San Jose Mercury News, Portland Oregonian and more. His travels have taken him to all seven continents. He is a member in good standing of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.
Follow Me