You're probably wondering why I've added this page about Tromsø. Well,
you probably know that Lene Marlin comes from Norway. Tromsø is a
city in the Northern part of Norway were Lene was born. She doesn't
live there anymore, because she bought an appartment in Oslo, the
capital of Norway, because she has to travel a lot, Tromsø was to
Norway is my favorite country and I would like to give you a little bit of
information about the city of Tromsø and Norway itself.
City of the Artic
Tromsø occupies most of the island of Tromsøya and overflows on to the
adjoining island of Kvaløya. With a population of 50,000, it is by far
the largest city in the Northern Norway and, until the opening of the
bridge in 1960, everything had to be ferried across from the mainland.
Today there is a second bridge and an amazing network of road tunnels
under the city, including subterranean car parks and roundabouts that
appear to be formed arround giant stalactites. The tunnel system links
the city centre with Tromsø Langnes international airport: if you
arrive by air and take a taxi the driver will gladly take you via the
tunnel system (at the extra cost of the toll).
The town has variously been called the Gateway to the Artic, the Artic
Ocean City and the Paris of the North.
Archaeological finds indicate settlements dating back 9,000 years.
Tromsø became an ecclesiastical centre in 1252 and much of the
subsequent development from 1300 to 1700s was influenced by the
Trade restrictions led to strong dependence on Bergen throughout the
Middle Ages. In 1794, the town was granted kaupang (market town)
privileges and the right to independant trade, and became a focal point
for the Pomor trade, with Russian ships bringing timber, rape, flour
and other items from the White Sea in exchange for fish and goods
bought by the Hanseatic traders. In the early 19th century Tromsø was
the natural starting point for trapping expeditions to the pack ice
both on the north and the east to Svalbard (Spitsbergen).
It has also been the site of a number of sea battles, including the
sinking of the German battleship Tirpitz, pride of the German fleet,
which was bombed by British bombers while guarding the entrance
When you're in Tromsø you can also see the Northern Light, if you're
lucky. The Northern Lights are solar winds that meet the atmosphere in
a zone around the magnetic North Pole. Tromsø is one of the places on
earth with the greatest amount of Northern Light activity. This is the
reason why we’re one of the most sought-after tourist goals in the
Northern Lights zone. And that’s why it’s only our natural modesty that
prevents us from proclaiming ourselves as the Northern Lights capital
of the world. The Northern Lights activity takes place all year long,
and in all types of weather. However, it must be dark in order for us
to be able to see them, and it’s dark here between August and April.
Also, the weather must be clear, something that we of course don’t
always have. Therefore, we can’t give any guarantees about when the
Northern Lights can be seen. They’re visible from the time it gets
dark during the afternoon/evening and until around the middle of the
night. Unfortunately, during the dark winter mornings, we’re outside of
the Northern Lights zone because of the Earth’s rotation.
How will you be able to see them? You need a little luck, and you must
come here during the actual period when they’re active. Stay outdoors
and preferably a little outside of the city centre, so that the lights
don’t disturb your view. If you’re fortunate with the weather, it’s
virtually guaranteed that there’ll be Northern Light activity.
Be sure to dress warmly! And you aren’t allowed to whistle or wave at
them with a white handkerchief. If you do, they’ll come and take you
away, according to the highly alive Tromsø superstition!
Here are some pictures from Tromsø. You can click on them to enlarge.
If you want more information about Tromsø and Norway there's a great
book to buy. It's the Insight Guide Norway from Discovery Channel.