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Tromsø kommune
Romssa Suohkan
Coat of arms of Tromsø kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Tromsø kommune
Troms within
Tromsø within Troms
Tromsø within Troms
Country Norway
County Troms
District Nord-Troms
Administrative centre Tromsø
 • Mayor (2011) Jens Johan Hjort (H)
 • Total 2,520.11 km2 (973.02 sq mi)
 • Land 2,473.36 km2 (954.97 sq mi)
 • Water 46.75 km2 (18.05 sq mi)
Area rank 18 in Norway
Population (2012)
 • Total 72,066
 • Rank 8 in Norway
 • Density 27.9/km2 (72/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 14.2 %
Demonym(s) Tromsøværing[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1902
Official language form Neutral
Website .no.kommunetromso
Data from Statistics Norway

Tromsø (Norwegian pronunciation:   ( ); Northern Sami: Romsa;[2] Kven: Tromssa) is a city and municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tromsø. Outside of Norway, Tromso and Tromsö are alternative spellings of the city. Tromsø is considered as the northernmost city in the world with a population above 50,000.

Tromsø lies in Northern Norway. The municipality has a population of (2015) 72,066, but with influx of students it has over 75,000 most of the year. It is the largest urban area in Northern Norway and the third largest north of the Arctic Circle (following Murmansk and Norilsk). Most of Tromsø, including the city centre, is located on the island of Tromsøya, 350 kilometres (217 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. In 2012, Tromsøya had a population of 36,088. Substantial parts of the urban area are also situated on the mainland to the east, and on parts of Kvaløya—a large island to the west. Tromsøya is connected to the mainland by the Tromsø Bridge and the Tromsøysund Tunnel, and to the island of Kvaløya by the Sandnessund Bridge. Tromsø Airport connects the city to many destinations in Europe. The city is warmer than most other places located on the same latitude, due to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream.

The city centre of Tromsø contains the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway, the oldest house dating from 1789. The Arctic Cathedral, a modern church from 1965, is probably the most famous landmark in Tromsø. The city is a cultural centre for its region, with several festivals taking place in the summer. Some of Norway's best-known musicians, Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge of the electronica duo Röyksopp and Lene Marlin grew up and started their careers in Tromsø. Noted electronic musician Geir Jenssen also hails from Tromsø.

The most famous soccer team in the area, Tromsø IL, currently plays in the Norwegian Premier League.


  • History 1
    • Middle Ages: a fortress on the frontier 1.1
    • 1700s and 1800s: the "Paris of the north" 1.2
    • Early 1900s: exploration and war 1.3
    • Late 1900s – today: rapid expansion 1.4
    • Municipal history 1.5
    • Toponymy 1.6
  • Coat of arms 2
  • Geography 3
    • Climate 3.1
    • Light and darkness 3.2
    • Villages 3.3
  • Cityscape 4
    • Churches 4.1
  • Governance 5
  • Demographics and ethnic composition 6
    • Sami population 6.1
    • 2011 language controversy 6.2
  • Culture 7
  • Festivals and celebrations 8
  • Sports 9
  • Notable residents 10
  • In popular culture 11
  • International relations 12
    • Twin towns – Sister cities 12.1
  • References 13
  • External links 14


The area has been inhabited since the end of the ice age. Archeological excavations in Tønsvika, just outside the city limits, have turned up artifacts and remains of buildings estimated to be 9-10,000 years old.[3]

Middle Ages: a fortress on the frontier

Hoard of Viking jewellery found in Tromsø dating from 7-8th Centuries AD now in the British Museum.[4]

The area's rich Norse and Sámi heritage is well documented. The Norse chieftain Ohthere, who lived during the 890s, is assumed to have inhabited the southernmost reaches of today's Tromsø municipality. He described himself as living "furthest to the North of all Norwegians" with areas north of this being populated by Sámi.[5] An Icelandic source (Rimbegla) from the 12th century also describes the fjord Malangen in the south of today's Tromsø municipality as a border between Norse and Sámi coastal settlements during that part of the Middle Ages. There has also been extensive Sámi settlement on the coast south of this 'border' as well as scattered Norse settlements north of Malangen - for example, both Sámi and Norse Iron Age (0–1050 AD) remains have been found on southern Kvaløya.[6][7]

The first church on the island of Tromsøya was erected in 1252. Ecclesia Sanctae Mariae de Trums juxta paganos ("The Church of Saint Mary in Troms near the Heathens" – the nominal "heathens" being the Sámi), was built during the reign of King Hákon Hákonarson.[8] At the time, it was the northernmost church in the world. Around the same time a turf rampart was built to protect the area against raids from Karelia and Russia.

Tromsø was not just a Norwegian outpost in an area mainly populated by the Sámi, but also a frontier city towards Russia; the Novgorod state had the right to tax the Sámi along the coast to Lyngstuva and inland to the Skibotn River or possibly the Målselv River, whereas Norway was allowed to tax areas east to - and including - the Kola Peninsula.[6] During the next five hundred years Norway's border with Russia and the limits of Norwegian settlement would be pushed eastwards to Sør-Varanger, making Tromsø lose its character as a "frontier town".

1700s and 1800s: the "Paris of the north"

During the 17th century, while Denmark–Norway was solidifying its claim to the northern coast of Scandinavia and during this period a redoubt, Skansen, was built. Despite only being home to around 80 people, Tromsø was issued its city charter in 1794 by King Christian VII. This coincided with, and was a direct consequence of, the abolition of the city of Bergen's centuries-old monopoly on the trade in cod. Tromsø quickly rose in importance. The Diocese of Hålogaland was created in 1804, with the first bishop being Mathias Bonsak Krogh.[9] The city was established as a municipality 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt).

Arctic hunting, from Novaya Zemlya to Canada, started up around 1820. By 1850, Tromsø was the major center of Arctic hunting, overtaking the former center of Hammerfest, and the city was trading from Arkhangelsk to Bordeaux. The town also grew increasingly important in other maritime economic activities, with the first shipyard being established in 1848.

In 1848, the teacher training college was also moved from Trondenes (near current-day Harstad) to Tromsø, with part of its mission being to educate Sámi scholars - there was a quota ensuring that Sámi gained access.[10] The teacher college was followed by the Tromsø Museum in 1872,[11] and the Mack Brewery in 1877.[12]

During the 19th century, Tromsø became known as the "Paris of the North". How this nickname came into being is uncertain, but the reason is generally assumed to be that people in Tromsø appeared far more sophisticated than visitors from the south typically expected.[13]

Early 1900s: exploration and war

Photochrom print from Tromsø, 1900

By the end of the 19th century, Tromsø had become a major Arctic trade center from which many Arctic expeditions originated. Explorers like Roald Amundsen, Umberto Nobile and Fridtjof Nansen made use of the know-how in Tromsø on the conditions in the Arctic, and often recruited their crews in the city. The Northern lights observatory was founded in 1927.

When Germany invaded Norway in 1940, Tromsø served briefly as the seat of the Norwegian government. General Carl Gustav Fleischer arrived in Tromsø on 10 April 1940 after flying in terrible conditions. From Tromsø he issued orders for total civilian and military mobilisation and declared Northern Norway a theatre of war. Fleischer's strategic plan was to first wipe out the German forces at Narvik and then transfer his division to Nordland to meet a German advance from Trøndelag. The Germans eventually captured all of Norway, after allied support had been withdrawn, although they encountered fierce resistance from the Finnmark-based Alta Battalion at Narvik. Tromsø escaped the war unscathed, although the German battleship Tirpitz was sunk by the RAF off the Tromsøy island on 12 November 1944, killing close to 1,000 German soldiers.[14][15]

The German battleship Tirpitz was bombed and sunk off Tromsø island in 1944.

At the end of the war, the city received thousands of refugees from Finnmark county and the North Troms area - which had been devastated by German forces using scorched earth tactics in expectation of the Red Army offensive.[16]

Late 1900s – today: rapid expansion

Expansion after World War II has been rapid. The rural municipalities of Tromsøysund and Ullsfjord, and most of Hillesøy, were merged with Tromsø on 1 January 1964, creating today's Tromsø municipality and almost tripling Tromsø's population - from 12,430 to 32,664.[17] In addition, the population growth has been strong, with at times more than 1,000 new Tromsøværinger (residents of Tromsø) annually. The population of Tromsø municipality today is 68,239, and the urban area, Norway's ninth most populous, is home to 58,486 people.[18] This excludes most of the city's students, however, who often do not change their address when moving to Tromsø.

A major development was the opening of Tromsø Airport in 1964, situated on the main island, and in 1972 the University of Tromsø was opened, at the time one of four universities in Norway and the only one serving the northern half of the country. A local teacher's college and museum were eventually incorporated into the university. The Norwegian Polar Institute was moved to Tromsø from Oslo in 1998. More recently, the university has expanded further through two mergers, first with University College Tromsø in 2009 and then with University College Finnmark in 2013.

Municipal history

The city of Tromsø was established as an independent municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The city was completely surrounded by the Tromsøe landdistrikt (the rural municipality of Tromsø / later renamed Tromsøysund), but they were governed separately. As the city grew in size, areas were added to the city from the rural district.

On 1 January 1861, an area of Tromsøysund (population: 110) was transferred to the city of Tromsø. On 1 January 1873, an unpopulated area of Tromsøysund was transferred to the city. On 1 July 1915, another area of Tromsøysund (population: 512) was merged into the city of Tromsø. On 1 January 1955, the Bjerkaker area on Tromsøya (population: 1,583) was transferred from Tromsøysund to the city of Tromsø.

On 1 January 1964, a major municipal merger took place. The city of Tromsø (population: 12,602), the municipality of Tromsøysund (population: 16,727), most of the municipality of Ullsfjord except for the Svendsby area (population: 2,019), and most of the municipality of Hillesøy except for the parts on Senja (population: 1,316) were all merged to form a new, larger municipality of Tromsø.[19]


The city of Tromsø has been named after the island of Tromsøya, which it is situated on. While the last element of the city's name comes from Danish ø, meaning "island" (Norwegian: øy), the etymology of the first element is uncertain. Several theories exist. One theory holds "Troms-" to derive from the old (uncompounded) name of the island (Old Norse: Trums). Several islands and rivers in Norway have the name Tromsa, and the names of these are probably derived from the word straumr which means "(strong) current". (The original form must then have been Strums, for the missing s see Indo-European s-mobile.) Another theory holds that Tromsøya was originally called Lille Tromsøya (Little Tromsøya), because of its proximity to the much bigger island today called Kvaløya, that according to this theory was earlier called "Store Tromsøya" due to a characteristic mountain known as Tromma (the Drum). The mountain's name in Sámi, Rumbbučohkka, is identical in meaning, and it is said to have been a sacred mountain for the Sámi in pre-Christian times.

The Sámi name of the island, Romsa, is assumed to be a loan from Norse - but according to the phonetical rules of the Sami language the frontal t has disappeared from the name. However, an alternative form - Tromsa - is in informal use. There is a theory that holds the Norwegian name of Tromsø derives from the Sámi name, though this theory lacks an explanation for the meaning of Romsa. A common misunderstanding is that Tromsø's Sámi name is Romssa with a double "s". This, however, is the accusative and genitive form of the noun used when, for example, writing "Tromsø Municipality" (Romssa Suohkan). In Finnish, however, the word is written with a double "s": Tromssa.

Coat of arms

A relief of the arms on a 1910 façade.

The coat of arms of Tromsø was devised in 1870 and is blazoned "I blått en gående sølv rein" (Norwegian: Azure, a reindeer trippant Argent).[20] It is often surmounted by a mural crown with five or four turrets. The municipal authority currently uses a stylised rendering drawn by Hallvard Trætteberg (1898–1987) and adopted by royal resolution on 24 September 1941.[21]


Tromsø is the eighth-largest municipality in Norway with a population of 71,590, and the centre of the ninth-largest urban area, with a population of about 60,000. The city is home to the world's northernmost university and also houses the northernmost botanical garden[22] and planetarium.[23]

The city center is located on the east side of the Tromsøya island — over 300 kilometres (190 mi) north of the Arctic Circle at . Suburban areas include Kroken, Tromsdalen (on the mainland, east of Tromsøya), the rest of the Tromsøya island, and the eastern part of the large Kvaløya, west of the Tromsøya island. The Tromsø Bridge and Tromsøysund Tunnel both cross the Tromsøysundet strait connecting the mainland with Tromsøya by road. On the western side of the city, the Sandnessund Bridge connects Tromsøya island with Kvaløya island.

There are many tall mountains within the municipality including Hamperokken, Jiehkkevárri, Store Blåmann, Store Fornestinden, and Tromsdalstinden. The Lyngen Alps mountain range lies along the Tromsø-Lyngen municipal border. There are many islands within the municipality of Tromsø including Hillesøya, Kvaløya, Rebbenesøya, Ringvassøya, Sommarøya, and Tromsøya. There are also several fjords that are located in Tromsø including the Balsfjorden, Kaldfjorden, Malangen, and Ullsfjorden.

Panoramic view of Tromsø from Fløya. The Tromsø Bridge and the Arctic Cathedral can be seen in the lower-right corner.
Tromsø during polar night from Fjellheisen.


Tromsø in May

Tromsø experiences a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc) because winter temperatures are just cold enough to qualify and the summer season is short. However, the weather and precipitation amount and pattern, with maximum precipitation in autumn and early winter, as well as lack of permafrost, are atypical for subarctic areas. Tromsø has the mistaken reputation of accumulating a lot of snow in winter, but it is actually ice that prevails in the area, especially in the first half of the winter. Despite its northern location, Tromsø's snowfall pattern is quite erratic and varies substantially between different winters.[24] This erratic snowfall pattern is due to the fact that Tromsø is within the Gulf Stream area of influence, and often gets wet but warm spells, bringing rain that melts or wets existing snow. This is often followed by chilly windy Arctic blasts, creating the famous dangerous ice driving and walking conditions. It is common to see Tromsø inhabitants walking with spikes in their shoes and almost all cars use studded decks. The all-time record for snow depth was set on 29 April 1997, when the meteorological station on top of Tromsøya recorded 240 centimetres (94.5 in) of snow on the ground.[25] The lowest temperature ever recorded is −18.4 °C (−1.1 °F), in February 1966.[25] However, at the airport, also in the city, the lowest ever recording is −20.1 °C (−4.2 °F) in February 1985.[26] The January average daily maximum is −2.2 °C (28.0 °F).[25] Summers are rather cool, with average high and low temperatures in July of 15.3 °C (59.5 °F) and 8.7 °C (47.7 °F).[25] The highest temperature ever recorded is 30.2 °C (86.4 °F), in July 1972.[25] Outside the city, large areas in the municipality are above the treeline and have an alpine tundra climate. Despite being a full 10 degrees further north than the Norwegian capital, Oslo, winter temperatures are very similar. On the west coast of Kvaløya (Sommarøy), climate data show a mean annual temperature of 3.9 °C (39.0 °F), mostly because winters here are 2C°/3.6F warmer compared to the city,[27] making this part of the municipality a subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc) zone. Tromsø has the distinction of being the northern most city on earth where the average yearly low remains above freezing.

Climate data for Tromsø, Norway
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 8.4
Average high °C (°F) −2.2
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.4
Average low °C (°F) −6.5
Record low °C (°F) −18.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 95
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 13.6 12.8 11.9 11.2 9.9 11.4 13.4 13.1 15.5 17.1 14.8 15.1 159.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 3 32 112 160 218 221 205 167 92 49 6 0 1,265
Source #1: [25]
Source #2: The Weather Network[28]

source 3 = Meteorologisk institutt[29]

Light and darkness

The Northern Lights in Tromsø
The Northern Lights near Tromsø.

Early afternoon during the polar night in Tromsø, Norway.
Tromsø in midnight sun in July
Tromsø in midnight sun in July.

Tromsø airport on midday in early January.

The Midnight Sun occurs from about 18 May to 26 July, but the mountains in the north block the view of the midnight sun for a few days, meaning that one can see the sun from about 21 May to 21 July. Owing to Tromsø's high latitude, twilight is long, meaning there is no real darkness between late April and mid-August.

The sun remains below the horizon during the Polar Night from about 26 November to 15 January, but owing to the mountains the sun is not visible from 21 November to 21 January. The return of the sun is an occasion for celebration. However, because of the twilight, there is some daylight for a couple of hours even around midwinter, often with bluish light. The nights shorten quickly, and by 21 February the sun is above the horizon from 7:45 am to 4:10 pm, and 1 April from 5:50 am to 7:50 pm (daylight saving time).

The combination of snow cover and sunshine often creates intense light conditions from late February until the snow melts in the lowland (usually late April), and sunglasses are essential when skiing. Because of these diametrically different light conditions in winter, Norwegians often divide it into two seasons: Mørketid (Polar Night) and Seinvinter (late winter).

Tromsø is in the middle of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) zone, and is one of the best places in the world to observe the aurora. Because of the Earth's rotation, Tromsø moves into the aurora zone around 6 pm, and moves out again around midnight. As it is light round the clock in the summer, no aurora is visible between late April and mid-August.


Tromsø municipality includes these villages:

Kvaløya City of Tromsø


Tromsø sentrum (5835702754)

The compact city center is the biggest concentration of historic wooden houses north of Trondheim, that co-exist with modern architecture. The houses date from 1789 to 1904, when building wooden houses was banned in the city centre, like in several other Norwegian cities. The oldest house in Tromsø is Skansen, built in 1789 on the remains of a 13th-century turf rampart.[30][31]

Grønnegata Tromsø

The Polar Museum, Polarmuseet, situated in a wharf house from 1837, presents Tromsø's past as a center for Arctic hunting and starting point for Arctic expeditions. The Tromsø Cathedral, Norway's only wooden cathedral, built in 1861, is located in the middle of the city, and so is the small Catholic church Vår Frue ("Our Lady"). Northern Europe's oldest cinema still in use, Verdensteatret, was built in 1915-16. The cinema has large wall paintings, made by the local artist Sverre Mack in 1921, that picture scenes from Norwegian folk lore and fairy tales.

The Arctic Cathedral, a modern church built in 1965, is situated on the mainland, facing the sound and city centre. The church, in reality a parish church and not a cathedral, was drawn by Jan Inge Hovig and is probably the most famous landmark in Tromsø. The aquarium and experience center Polaria from 1998 is a short walk south from the city center. The Tromsø Museum is a university museum, presenting culture and nature of North Norway. The museum also displays the Arctic-alpine botanic garden, the world's northernmost botanical garden. A cable car goes up to mount Storsteinen, 421 metres above sea level, with a panoramic view over Tromsø. The mountain Tromsdalstinden, 1,238 metres (4,062 ft), on the mainland, which is easily spotted from the city center, is also a major landmark. On top of Tromsøya is lake Prestvannet.


The Church of Norway has eight parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Tromsø. It is part of the Tromsø arch-deanery in the Diocese of Nord-Hålogaland.

Churches in Tromsø
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Tromsø Domkirken Tromsø Cathedral Tromsø 1861
Elverhøy Elverhøy Church Tromsø 1803
Grønnåsen Grønnåsen Church Tromsø 1996
Hillesøy Hillesøy Church Brensholmen,
Kroken Kroken Church Kroken 2006
Kvaløy Kvaløy Church Kaldfjord 1962
Tromsøysund Arctic Cathedral Tromsdalen 1965
Ullsfjord Lakselvbukt Church Lakselvbukt 1983
Ullsfjord Church Sjursnes 1862
Jøvik Chapel Jøvik 1920


Tromsø introduced so-called "parliamentary rule" in 2011. The highest political body is the Municipal council (Kommunestyret), which elects an executive body, byrådet ("the city council"), consisting of six byråder ("city councilors"). At least in theory, these are equivalent to the cabinet members of a parliamentary government.

The current mayor of Tromsø is Jens Johan Hjort, representing the Norwegian Conservative Party.

Demographics and ethnic composition

Interior from one of the city's shopping centres

More than 100 nationalities are represented in the population. Among the more prominent minorities are the Sami, Russians, and Finns, both the local Kvens (descendants of 19th century Finnish immigrants) and recent immigrants from Finland proper.[32] The world's northernmost mosque is to be found in Tromsø. The Our Lady Catholic church is the seat of the world's northernmost Catholic Bishop, who leads the Territorial Prelature of Tromsø. Although the local Catholic population is only 350 heads strong, Pope John Paul II visited this small church and stayed as a guest of the bishop in 1989.[33]

Sami population

As noted in the history section, the Tromsø area is from old times a home to Sámi culture. The assimilation of the Coastal Sámi, however, led to the local Sámi culture becoming increasingly invisible in the Tromsø area during the 20th century. The 1970s, however, saw a revitalization of Sámi culture and identity, which also made itself felt in Tromsø. Today there is a Sami kindergarten and Sami language classes in certain schools of Tromsø. There have been attempts at countering the decline of the Sámi language for example through the establishment of a Sami language center in Ullsfjord.

Tromsø city has generally displayed a positive attitude to the indigenous minority culture, for example through municipally arranged celebrations of the Sámi People's Day,[34] bilingual signs at the University, and when the city made its bid for the Winter Olympics the Sámi name of Tromsø, Romsa, was included in the would-be logo of the event - which also incorporated an old Sámi symbol as its main element.[35]

2011 language controversy

In 2011, however, the role of Sámi culture in Tromsø became controversial. The Municipal Board had applied for Tromsø to join the Sámi Language Administrative Area. This would entail giving equal space to selected Sámi toponyms on signposts, allowing Sámi-speakers to communicate in their language with local authorities, and make means available from the Sámi Parliament for officials to learn Sámi. The political parties FrP, Venstre and Høyre, protested the decision and made it a part of their election campaign to reverse the decision, claiming that Tromsø was "a Norwegian city" and hence it was natural neither to display Sámi toponyms along with Norwegian ones, nor make Sámi an official language along with Norwegian.[36] The parties opposing a larger role for Sámi culture in Tromsø won the election and reversed the application. It has been claimed that the issue has "divided" Tromsø's inhabitants between those who see Sámi culture as naturally belonging there and those who see it as alien to the area.[37][38] During and after the election campaign, pro-Sámi politicians have received threats and people wearing traditional Sámi garb claim to have been subjected to verbal abuse.[39][40] In June 2013 the municipality nonetheless entered into a cooperation agreement with the Sámi Parliament which is intended to strengthen Sami language education and Sami culture in Tromsø.


Ølhallen, one of the many clubs, pubs and bars in Tromsø.

Being the largest city in Northern Norway, Tromsø is a cultural centre for its region. It gained some international attention when on 11 June 2005 hosted one of six 46664 concerts, designed to put work concerning HIV/AIDS on the international agenda. The concert was promoted by Nelson Mandela, whose prison number provided the arrangement's name, and featured international and local artists.

Many cultural activities take place in Kulturhuset (English: lit. the culture house), including concerts by Tromsø Symphony Orchestra and plays by Tromsø's professional theater troupe, Hålogaland Teater. The new theater building was opened in November 2005. The city contains several museums. The largest are the Northern Norwegian Art Gallery (Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum) and the Tromsø Gallery of Contemporary Art (Tromsø Kunstforening).

Domkirken - Tromsø Cathedral (4149422303)

The Tromsø techno scene is the origin of many of Norway's most important artists in electronic music, and Tromsø was a leading city at the early stages of the house and techno scene in Norway from the last part of the 1980s.[41] The internationally recognized duo Röyksopp and the ambient electronic musician Geir Jennsen, known as Biosphere, are the most famous exports.

The record label Beatservice Records and the Insomnia Festival makes Tromsø still leading in the country as of the development and promotion of the genre.

The local newspapers are Bladet Tromsø and Nordlys.

Nelson Mandela at 46664 Arctic

Festivals and celebrations

Both the Tromsø International Film Festival and Nordlysfestivalen (lit. the Aurora Festival), a classical music festival, are arranged in January. The end of that month is marked by the Day of the Sun (Soldagen), when the sun finally appears above the horizon after the Polar Night, which is celebrated, mainly by children. The International Day of the Sami People is celebrated at the University of Tromsø and the city hall on 6 February every year. Tromsø's Latin American Festival, No Siesta Fiesta, is held at the end of February. It started in 2007 and showcases "the best of Latin America" in Northern Norway with film, dance, music, art, seminars, debates, markets, and a street Samba parade. Every autumn the Insomnia Festival for electronic music is hosted. It is one of the largest and most important festivals for electronic music and techno culture in Norway.

The Bukta Tromsø Open Air Festival, held in June and July, is a popular music festival. The Bukta festival is mainly a rock festival, but also features other kinds of modern music. The festival takes place in Telegrafbukta, a park on the south-western part of the Tromsøya island. Other popular cultural summer events among the population of Tromsø is the Karlsøy festival and the Riddu Riddu festival, both held in the region surrounding the city.


Ski jump in Tromsø

Tromsø is the home of many football (soccer) clubs, of which the three most prominent are Tromsø IL, which plays in the Norwegian Premier League and is the world's northernmost Premier League football team, I.F. Fløya in the Norwegian First Division (women), and Tromsdalen U.I.L., playing in the Adeccoliga. Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon is arranged every year in June and recently also a Polar Night Halfmarathon in January. The city is home to many clubs in the top division in various sports. Most notably basketball-outfit Tromsø Storm in the BLNO, BK Tromsø in the top volleyball league for men, and Tromsø Volley in the top volleyball league for women. The oldest sports club in Tromsø is Tromsø Turnforening, a gymnastics club founded in 1862, that also was the cradle of the before mentioned football club Tromsø IL.

Tromsø was selected by the Norwegian National Olympic Committee as Norway's candidate for the 2018 Winter Olympics. This would have made Tromsø the first city north of the Arctic Circle to host the games. There were plans to use ships as the media village. In October 2008 the NOC suspended Tromsø's bid, citing excessive costs.[42] From the southern to the northern tip of the island Tromsøya, there is a floodlit cross country ski track. A ski jump is also situated on the island, close to the university. As of the spring in 2010, the city's first ice rink has been open and is home to Tromsø Hockey, which plays in the Swedish Ice Hockey Association's League 3.

Notable residents

In popular culture

In the vampire thriller 30 Days of Night: Rumors of the Undead by Steve Niles and Jeff Mariotte (Pocket Books 2006), an FBI agent learns that Tromsø was depopulated in the winter of 1842, perhaps due to a mass vampire attack.

Norwegian director Erik Skjoldbjærgs debut movie Insomnia takes place in Tromsø.

The town of Trollesund, found in northern Norroway in the His Dark Materials series of books by Philip Pullman, is supposedly based on the city of Tromsø.

The Nobel-Prize-winning author Knut Hamsun (1859–1952) published his first novel in a small bookshop in Tromsø in 1877.

One of the six main characters in James A. Michener's The Drifters (1971), Britta Bjorndahl, is from Tromsø.

Michael Palin's 1992 travelogue series Pole to Pole features a visit to the city in its first episode.

British musician Robyn Hitchcock named his 2001 album Tromsø, Kaptein after the city.

A portion of the episode "Odyssey" of Smallville was set in Tromsø. This episode showed Aquaman (Arthur Curry) taking a shower, while apparently living in the city.

The fictional character Ty Thorsen from the 2012 video game SSX is from Tromsø.

In The Avengers, it was said that Jane Foster was sent to safety there.

Chess World Cup 2013 was held in Tromsø from 11 August to 5 September, as well as the 41st Chess Olympiad from 1–14 August 2014.

Home to the BIOPROSP International Conference on Marine Bioprospecting, the 6th of which will be in 2015.

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

City[43] Country Year
 Kemi Finland 1940
 Luleå Sweden 1950
Anchorage United States 1969
 Zagreb Croatia[44] 1971
 Murmansk Russia 1972
 Quetzaltenango Guatemala 1999
Gaza City State of Palestine 2001
 Arkhangelsk Russia 2011


  1. ^ "Personnemningar til stadnamn i Noreg" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. 
  2. ^ Erroneously, the Sámi name is often believed to be "Romssa". This is because "Tromsø Municipality" is "Romssa Suohkan". Romssa, however is the genitive case, so that "Romssa Suohkan" translates to "the Municipality of Romsa".
  3. ^ "Unike steinalderfunn" (in ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬). 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  4. ^ "British Museum - Collection search: You searched for". British Museum. 
  5. ^ "Ottar fortalte om det ukjente "Norge" - Magasinet". 2009-08-18. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  6. ^ a b "2 Samisk tilstedeværelse...". Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  7. ^ "Sør-Kvaløya - fornminner — Kulturminneaaret 2009" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  8. ^ "Diplomatarium Norvegicum b.1 nr.112, the Papal letter (in Latin) first referring to ''Troms''". Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  9. ^ "Biskoper i Hålogaland bispedømme 1804-1952". Den Norske Kirke. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  10. ^ Statsarkivet i Tromsø 1992: Arkivkatalog TROMSØ OFFENTLIGE LÆRERSKOLE, page 6.
  11. ^ "Om museet" (in Norwegian). Universitet i Tromsø. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  12. ^ "Fra ølvogn til mikrobryggeri". Macks Ølbryggeri AS. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  13. ^ "Destinasjon Tromsø - Facts about Tromsø". Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  14. ^ "Bomber Command: Tirpitz 12 November 1944". RAF History Bomber Command 60th Anniversary. Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  15. ^ 617 Squadron - The Operational Record Book 1943 - 1945 with additional information by Tobin Jones; Binx Publishing, Pevensey House, Sheep Street, Bicester. OX26 6JF. Acknowledgement is given to HMSO as holders of the copyright on the Operational Record Book
  16. ^ Derry, T.K. (1972). A History of Modern Norway: 1814—1972. Clarendon Press, Oxford.  
  17. ^ "1902 Tromsø. Population 1 January and population changes during the year. 1951-". Statistics Norway. 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  18. ^ Statistics Norway (1 January 2011). "Urban settlements. Population and area, by municipality.". 
  19. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian).  
  20. ^ "TROMSØ". 1941-09-24. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  21. ^ Slavomir.P. "Coats-of-arms - National Archival services of Norway". Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  22. ^ (Norwegian)
  23. ^ (Norwegian)
  24. ^ For example, these two different articles in national newspapers support these idea. Bli rik på grønn jul (Get Rich from a green Christmas) in VG and Våt jul i snøbyen! (Wet Christmas in the snow city!) in Dagbladet
  25. ^ a b c d e f Norwegian Meteorological Institute's eklima site. All averages are for the period 1961 to 1990 for the main weather station, located at the Meteorological Institute's office on the top of the island. Extremes are from the same station for the full period of record through 2010. Anyone can freely register and retrieve the averages and extremes, or the raw data. Reports obtained from the site, used here, are posted here [4].
  26. ^ "coldest temperature in February)". Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  27. ^ "ø official climate statistics". 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  28. ^ "Climate Statistics for Tromsø, Norway (1961-1990)". November 2011. 
  29. ^ url = date= June 2013
  30. ^ "Tromsø er "djevelsk stygg" - VG Nett om Reiselivsnyheter" (in Norwegian). 2008-08-21. Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  31. ^ Carina Hansen. "Forfall i hele byen - iTromsø" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  32. ^ Population in Tromsø by citizenship From Tromsø Municipality(Norwegian)
  33. ^ Broen katolsk kirkeblad nr. 3 2004 A Norwegian church news magazine
  34. ^ Informasjonstjenesten. "Samefolkets dag i Tromsø - Tromsø kommune". Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  35. ^ "Tromsø 2018 (2006-2008) - i-Tromsø". Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  36. ^ "Nå blir Tromsø samisk område". 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  37. ^ "Vrenger kofta i protest mot same-snuoperasjon | TV 2 Play". 2011-11-05. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  38. ^ "Vrenger kofta i protest mot samisk-nei - TV 2 Nyhetene". Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  39. ^ "Tromsø er ingen sameby - NRK". 2011-02-09. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  40. ^ "Lar seg ikke knekke - NRK Sápmi - NRK". 2011-11-17. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  41. ^ (Norwegian), 20 år med techno
  42. ^ Tromsø's Application Withdrawn - Archived October 7, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  43. ^ "Vennskapsbyer" (official website). Tromsø, Norway: Tromsø municipality. Retrieved 2014-12-01. 
  44. ^ "Intercity and International Cooperation of the City of Zagreb". © 2006-2009 City of Zagreb. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 

External links

  • Tromsø travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Tromsø Municipal Council
  • Weather forecast and map for Tromsø
  • Visit Tromsø Tourist information Office
  • Climate statistics Tromsø municipality
  • Pictures of Tromsø
  • Tromsø Volley
  • Gallery of 360 degree panorama pictures from Tromsø
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