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Harstad kommune
Coat of arms of Harstad kommune
Coat of arms
Harstad within Troms
Harstad within Troms
Country Norway
County Troms
District Central Hålogaland
Administrative centre Harstad
 • Mayor (2013) Marianne Bremnes
 • Total 445.86 km2 (172.15 sq mi)
 • Land 429.06 km2 (165.66 sq mi)
 • Water 16.8 km2 (6.5 sq mi)
Area rank 249 in Norway
Population (2012)
 • Total 23,640
 • Rank 38 in Norway
 • Density 66.5/km2 (172/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 2.4 %
Demonym(s) Harstadværing[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1903
Official language form Neutral
Website .no.kommune.harstadwww
Data from Statistics Norway

    is the second-most populated municipality in Troms county, Norway. It is mostly located on the large island of Hinnøya. The municipal center is the town of Harstad, the most populous town in Central Hålogaland, and the third-largest in all of Northern Norway.[2][3] The town was incorporated in 1904. Villages in the municipality include Elgsnes, Fauskevåg, Gausvik, Grøtavær, Kasfjord, Lundenes, Nergården and Sørvika.


  • Geography 1
    • Climate and light 1.1
  • History 2
    • Origin of the name 2.1
    • Coat-of-arms 2.2
  • Economy 3
  • Institutions and culture 4
    • Churches 4.1
  • Military connections 5
  • Transportation 6
  • Local areas 7
  • Notable residents 8
  • International relations 9
    • Twin towns — Sister cities 9.1
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Municipality of Harstad (before 2013, when Bjarkøy was merged with Harstad).
Toppen (mountain on Grytøya, October 2009).

The municipality is located on many islands in southern Troms county. Most of the municipality is located on the large island of Hinnøya, which is Norway's largest coastal island (three islands in the Svalbard archipelago are larger). The northern part of the municipality is located on the smaller islands of Grytøya, Bjarkøya, Sandsøya, Helløya, Flatøya and Krøttøya and many even smaller islands between the Andfjorden (to the west) and the Vågsfjorden (to the east). The municipality contains several small islands, including Arnøya, Gressholman, Helløya, Kjeøya, Kjøtta, Kjøttakalven, Flatøya, Meløyvær, Måga, Rogla, Lille Rogla and Åkerøya.

Harstad is bordered by the municipality Kvæfjord to the west and Tjeldsund (in Nordland county) to the south. To the southeast, the Tjeldsund Bridge connects Hinnøya with Skånland municipality and the mainland across Tjeldsundet, and to the northeast is the Vågsfjorden, where Harstad shares a water border with Ibestad municipality. The city itself is located on the northeastern part of on Hinnøya; it is the only city on the island, and is popularly known as Vågsfjordens perle (The pearl of Vågsfjorden).

The highest mountain in Harstad is Nupen, is located in the northwestern part of the municipality on the border with Kvæfjord.

Climate and light

Despite being located north of the Arctic Circle, Harstad features a subpolar oceanic climate with relatively mild winters and cool summers. Harstad does not have the brutal winters that most locations north of the Arctic Circle experience, and is sheltered from Atlantic gales by a range of mountains to the west. The city actually experiences warmer winters than major cities located 25 to 30 degrees farther south in latitude in the northern hemisphere such as Beijing, Chicago and Toronto. Summers in Harstad are cool, with average high temperatures seldom breaking the 22 °C (72 °F) mark. Mean annual temperature is 3.9 °C (39.0 °F) (1961–90) and annual average precipitation is 850 millimetres (33.5 in).[5] With high pressure weather, winter temperatures can get down to about −15 °C (5 °F), and in summer they can reach 27 °C (81 °F). However, July 2014 recorded 6 days above 27 °C (81 °F) and a new all-time high of 31.7 °C (89 °F) on 10 July. [6]

The city enjoys the midnight sun during the summer months, from 22 May to 18 July. There is also a period from early May to early August with twilight for a few hours each night as the sun just dips below the horizon, so there is no darkness. The polar night, when the sun is always below the horizon, lasts from 30 November to 12 January. At this time, there are 3–4 hours of dawn and dusk around noon, sometimes with colourful skies towards the south. From late January, the period of daylight rapidly increases, reaching 12 hours by March and 18 hours in April. Harstad is located in the midst of the aurora borealis (a.k.a. the northern lights) zone, and the aurora can often be seen on clear nights, but not in summer due to the continuous daylight.

Climate data for Harstad (10 last years)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 0
Average low °C (°F) −4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 85
Source: [7]


Richard Kaarbø was the founder of Harstad.
Trondenes Church at Trondenes.
Northern part of Harstad at night, early August. View towards north-west from Gangsåstoppen

The town of Harstad was established as a municipality on 1 January 1904 when it was separated from the municipality of

  • Harstad travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Information in English Harstad municipality
  • Visit Harstad
  • Culture
  • Old history of Harstad
  • Harstad pictures
  • Green and black aurora over Harstad NASA astronomy picture of the day
  • Particularly rare purple auroral corona over Harstad NASA astronomy picture of the day
  • Web-cam Showing various parts of the town
  • Photo presentation on YouTube
  • The Adolf Cannon
  • Art of the States: Frozen Horizon Musical work inspired by the Harstad landscape
  • Harstad Tidende (Harstad Times) Newspaper for the district (Norwegian)
  • Information portal (Norwegian)
  • Live weather station located in Harstad (Norwegian)
  • About Hinnøy (Norwegian)
  • Magnars garden at 69 degrees north (Norwegian)

External links

  1. ^ "Personnemningar til stadnamn i Noreg" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. 
  2. ^ Municipality second largest in Troms county, by population
  3. ^ City second largest in Troms county; third largest in Northern Norway
  4. ^ "Sætertinden". 
  5. ^ Harstad climate statistics 1961-90
  6. ^ " statistics for last 12 months". 
  7. ^ "Harstad average conditions - base period 10 last years". Storm Weather Center. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  8. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian).  
  9. ^ "Bronze axe". 
  10. ^ "Bronze collar". 
  11. ^  
  12. ^ "Harstad kommunes byvåpen" (in Norwegian). Harstad kommune. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Festspillene i Nord-Norge". 
  22. ^ "Harstad University College". 
  23. ^ "HIL" (in Norwegian). 
  24. ^ "Harstad Vikings" (in Norwegian). 
  25. ^ "Anna Rogde" (in Norwegian). 
  26. ^ Harstad/Narvik Lufthavn Evenes. Accessed 2011-06-11.
  27. ^ Coastal Express. Accessed 2011-10-14.
  28. ^ a b Troms fylkestrafikk. Accessed 2011-06-30.
  29. ^ Heli-Team.
  30. ^ "Twin towns".  Choose English > Political info > Friendship cities


See also

The twin towns of Harstad are:[30]

Twin towns — Sister cities

Typical residential area with private houses; Eineberget, Harstad.
Harstad university college

International relations

View from Harstad towards the Vågsfjord and Andørja island; May 2008
North-eastern part of Harstad seen from Eineberget; 4 May 2008

Notable residents


Villages south of the city

Bergseng, Blåbærhaugen, Breivika, City Center, Eineberget, Gangsås, Grønnebakkan, Harstadbotn, Harstadåsen, Heggen, Holtet, Kanebogen, Kilbotn, Medkila, Ruggevika, Sama, Seljestad, Skaret, Stangnes, Trondenes and Åsby.

City neighbourhoods

Alvestad, Aune, Elgsnes, Ervik, Grøtavær, Hagan, Kasfjord, Kilhus, Kjøtta, Lundenes, Mustaparta, Nergården, Røkenes, Steinnes, Stornes, Storvassbotn, Sørlia, Tennvassåsen, Tømmeråsen, Undlandet, Vika and Årnes.

Villages north/west of the city
Street: Hvedings gate, February 2005. View towards west from a Hurtigruten ship.
Street: Strandgata, 4 May 2008.

Local areas

The leading helicopter company in Northern Norway, Heli-Team, is located in Harstad.[29]

There are several ferries and buses in the district, and in Harstad there are local buses.[28]

High-speed craft regularly go between Harstad and Tromsø, Finnsnes, Senja and other places.[28]

Every morning a northbound and a southbound Hurtigruten ship stop in Harstad.[27]

The closest airport is Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes, located on the mainland, 44 kilometres (27 mi) by road from the city center.[26]

Coastal Express ship MS Kong Harald in Harstad


Harstad is also the hometown of the Norwegian army band "Forsvarets Musikkorps Nord Norge" with professional musicians.

Operation Judgement, Kilbotn took place on 4 May 1945, when the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy attacked a U-boat base at Kilbotn, a village in the Harstad district, sinking two ships and a U-boat.

Harstad traditionally has strong ties with the Norwegian Armed Forces. Kystjegerkommandoen (Coastal Ranger Command) has its home base at Trondenes, Harstad. Marinejegerkommandoen is based in Ramsund in Tjeldsund on the mainland south of Harstad. General Carl Gustav Fleischer led the field operations of the Norwegian Armed Forces in WW2, among them the 7,500 soldiers which from the north pushed the Nazi Germans back to Narvik and participated in retaking Narvik on 28 May 1940. A street in Harstad is named Gen. Fleischers Gate in his honour.

Military connections

Churches in Harstad
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Bjarkøy og Sandsøy Bjarkøy Church Nergården 1766
Sandsøy Church Sandsøya 1888
Grytøy Grøtavær Church Grøtavær 1915
Lundenes Church Lundenes 1974
Harstad Harstad Church Harstad 1958
Kanebogen Kanebogen Church Kanebogen 1999
Sandtorg Gausvik Church Gausvik 1979
Sandtorg Church Sørvika 1932
Trondenes Trondenes Church Trondenes 15th century
Elgsnes Chapel Elgsnes 1985

The Church of Norway has five parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Harstad. It is part of the Trondenes deanery in the Diocese of Nord-Hålogaland.


Harstad Camping is a campsite located in the municipality.

Harstad is home port for the Anna Rogde, the world's oldest sailing schooner, also known as the sailing queen of Norway.[25]

The most successful local football team is Harstad Idrettslag (a.k.a. HIL),[23] and the most successful basketball team is the Harstad Vikings.[24]

Harstad University College, with approximately 1,100 students,[22] has a thriving foreign exchange program with students from all over the world. The hospital in Harstad is part of the University Hospital of North Norway.

The city hosts the annual week-long Festival of North Norway in June.[21]

Harstad Stadium; June 2007

Institutions and culture

Agricultural area in Harstad; 1930.

The oil industry of North Norway is centered in Harstad; including Statoil's main office for a new operational area for Northern Norway,[13] the DNV office for Northern Norway,[14] as well as other regional offices including Total E&P,[15] Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA[16] and Aibel.[17][18] Harstad also has shipyards and other industries that are important for the economy. Harstad and the surrounding area have traditionally been among the most productive agricultural regions in Northern Norway,.[19] The old seabed, now dry land due to isostatic rebound (up to 60 to 80 metres or 200 to 260 feet above sea level), creating fertile soil that is well-suited for farming.[20]


The coat-of-arms is from modern times and were granted on 24 April 1953. The blue background symbolizes the sea and the silvery white lines represent waves.[12]


The city is most likely named after the old Harstad farm (Old Norse: Harðarstaðir), since it is built on its ground. The first element is (probably) the genitive case of the male name Hörðr, and the last element is staðir which means "homestead" or "farm".[11]

Origin of the name

Adjacent to the church is the Trondenes Historical Center and nearby is the Adolf Gun, an enormous land-based cannon from World War II, and the last of four cannons originally constructed by the Nazis. Harstad is one of the few towns in this part of Norway which were left largely undamaged by World War II.

Harstad Kulturhus (culture house)

Trondenes Church, the world's northernmost medieval church, which dates back to the 13th–15th century, is situated just outside the town.

Trondenes is mentioned in the Heimskringla as a power centre in the Viking Age and a place to meet and discuss important issues (Trondarting).

There is also substantial archeological evidence of a well-developed Iron Age culture in the area, around 200 AD.

In recent years, a 3000-year-old bronze axe[9] and a 2600-year-old bronze collar[10] have been found at the Trondenes peninsula, just north of the city center. These, together with the burial cairns built close to the sea, are indications of a well-developed Bronze Age culture in the Harstad area.

On 1 January 2013, the municipality of Bjarkøy (to the north) was merged with Harstad, forming a new, larger municipality of Harstad. [8]

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