Harstad kommune

Hársttáid suohkan
Waterfront of Harstad<
Waterfront of Harstad<
Official logo of Harstad kommune
Troms within
Harstad within Troms
Harstad within Troms
Coordinates: 68°48′00″N 16°32′45″E / 68.80000°N 16.54583°E / 68.80000; 16.54583Coordinates: 68°48′00″N 16°32′45″E / 68.80000°N 16.54583°E / 68.80000; 16.54583
DistrictCentral Hålogaland
Established1 Jan 1904
Administrative centreHarstad
 • Mayor (2011)Marianne Bremnes (Ap)
 • Total445.17 km2 (171.88 sq mi)
 • Land428.37 km2 (165.39 sq mi)
 • Water16.80 km2 (6.49 sq mi)  3.8%
Area rank227 in Norway
 • Total24,820
 • Rank45 in Norway
 • Density57.9/km2 (150/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Demonym(s)Harstadværing [1]
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-1903
Official language formNeutral [2]
Data from Statistics Norway

About this soundHarstad (Norwegian) or Hárstták (Northern Sami)[3] 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.[4][5] The town was incorporated in 1904. Villages in the municipality include Elgsnes, Fauskevåg, Gausvik, Grøtavær, Kasfjord, Lundenes, Nergården and Sørvika.

The 445-square-kilometre (172 sq mi) municipality is the 227th largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Harstad is the 45th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 24,820. The municipality's population density is 57.9 inhabitants per square kilometre (150/sq mi) and its population has increased by 5.1% over the last decade.[6]


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 Sætertinden, which is 1,095 m (3,593 ft) above sea level.[7] It is located near the village of Sandtorg in southern Harstad. The 412-metre (1,352 ft) tall mountain, 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 either a dry-summer subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification: Dsc), or the rare cold-summer mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csc), depending on if the 0 °C (32 °F) or the −3 °C (27 °F) isotherm is used. Harstad features relatively mild, wet winters and cool, dry summers. Harstad does not have the brutal winters most locations north of the Arctic Circle experience, and is sheltered from Atlantic gales by mountains in the west, and has the main part of the Scandinavian Mountains to the east. The city experiences warmer winters than major cities located 25 to 30 degrees farther south in latitude such as Beijing, Chicago and Toronto. Summers in Harstad are cool, with average high temperatures seldom breaking the 22 °C (72 °F) mark. Since the new weather station opened in August 2002, July 2014 was the warmest month with 6 days above 27 °C (81 °F) and a new all-time high of 31.7 °C (89 °F) on 10 July. The record low of −16.1 °C (3 °F) was recorded in February 2010. The particular variety of a subpolar climate experienced could be best described as "continental maritime" as it experiences winters much like Boston but summers much like coastal northern California.

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 (45 m, averages 2004-2018, extremes 2002-2019 eklima/met.no)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 8.8
Average high °C (°F) −0.8
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.2
Average low °C (°F) −4
Record low °C (°F) −15.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 85
Source #1: [8]
Source #2: [9]


Rikard 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 Trondenes because it had just been declared a ladested. The initial population of the town of Harstad was 1,246. During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1964, the town of Harstad (population: 3,808) was merged with neighboring municipalities of Sandtorg (population: 7,512) and Trondenes (population: 6,567) to form a new, larger municipality of Harstad with a population of 17,882. Prior to the merger, the town of Harstad had 3,808 residents.[10] On 1 January 2013, the municipality of Bjarkøy (to the north) was merged with Harstad, forming a new, larger municipality of Harstad.

In recent years, a 3000-year-old bronze axe[11] and a 2600-year-old bronze collar[12] 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.

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

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

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

Harstad Kulturhus (culture house)

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.

Origin of the name

The municipality is named after the old Harstad farm (Old Norse: Harðarstaðir), since it is built on its ground.[13] The first element is (probably) the genitive case of the male name Hǫrðr, and the last element is staðir which means "homestead" or "farm".[13]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms was granted on 24 April 1953. The arms are blue with two silver-white wavy lines. The blue background symbolizes the sea and the silvery white lines represent waves.[14][15]


All municipalities in Norway, including Harstad, are responsible for primary education (through 10th grade), outpatient health services, senior citizen services, unemployment and other social services, zoning, economic development, and municipal roads. The municipality is governed by a municipal council of elected representatives, which in turn elect a mayor.[16] The municipality falls under the Trondenes District Court and the Hålogaland Court of Appeal.

Municipal council

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Harstad is made up of 35 representatives that are elected to four year terms. The party breakdown of the council is as follows:

Harstad Kommunestyre 2020–2024 [17]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)11
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)5
 Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)2
 Conservative Party (Høyre)6
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
 Red Party (Rødt)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)6
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)2
 Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Total number of members:35
Harstad Kommunestyre 2016–2019 [18]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)13
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)8
 Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)1
 Conservative Party (Høyre)4
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
 Red Party (Rødt)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)2
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)1
 Liberal Party (Venstre)4
Total number of members:35
Harstad Kommunestyre 2012–2015 [19]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)10
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)12
 Conservative Party (Høyre)5
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
 Red Party (Rødt)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)3
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)1
 Liberal Party (Venstre)2
Total number of members:35


The oil industry of North Norway is centered in Harstad; including Statoil's main office for a new operational area for Northern Norway,[20] the DNV office for Northern Norway,[21] as well as other regional offices including Total E&P,[22] Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA[23] and Aibel.[24][25] 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,.[26] 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.[27]

Agricultural area in Harstad; 1930.

Institutions and culture

Harstad Stadium; June 2007

The city hosts the annual week-long Festival of North Norway in June.[28] It is also the home of the Arctic Moving Image and Film Festival, held in October each year.[29]

Harstad University College, with approximately 1,100 students,[30] 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 most successful local football team is Harstad Idrettslag (a.k.a. HIL),[31] and the most successful basketball team is the Harstad Vikings.[32]

Harstad is home port for the Anna Rogde, the world's oldest sailing schooner, also known as the sailing queen of Norway.[33]

Harstad Camping is a campsite located in the municipality.


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

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

Military connections

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.

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


Coastal Express ship MS Kong Harald in Harstad

The towns airport is Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes, located on the mainland, 44 kilometres (27 mi) by road from the town center. The airport offers daily flights to Oslo, Trondheim, Bodø, Tromsø and Andenes.[34]

Every morning a northbound and a southbound Hurtigruten ship stop in Harstad.[35]

High-speed craft regularly go between Harstad and Tromsø, Finnsnes, Senja and other places.[36]

There are several ferries and buses in the district, and in Harstad there are local buses.[36]

The leading helicopter company in Northern Norway, Heli-Team, is located in Harstad.[37]

Local areas

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

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

City neighbourhoods

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

Villages south of the city

Brokvik, Fauskevåg, Gausvik, Halsebø, Haukebø, Melvik, Nordvik, Sandtorg and Sørvika.

Notable residents

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

International relations

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

Twin towns — Sister cities

The twin towns of Harstad are:[38]

See also


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  2. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian). Lovdata.no.
  3. ^ "Stadnamn og rettskriving" (in Norwegian). Kartverket. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  4. ^ Municipality second largest in Troms county, by population
  5. ^ City second largest in Troms county; third largest in Northern Norway
  6. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2017). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Sætertinden".
  8. ^ "Infoclimat Harstad averages".
  9. ^ "Eklima/met.no". Norwegian Meteorological Institute - extremes and precipitation Harstad Stadion.
  10. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  11. ^ "Bronze axe". Archived from the original on 11 March 2007.
  12. ^ "Bronze collar".
  13. ^ a b Rygh, Oluf (1911). Norske gaardnavne: Troms amt (in Norwegian) (17 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 21.
  14. ^ "Harstad kommunes byvåpen" (in Norwegian). Harstad kommune. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
  15. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  16. ^ Hansen, Tore, ed. (12 May 2016). "kommunestyre". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2019 - Troms og Finnmark". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
  19. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2011 - Troms Romsa". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  20. ^ http://www.statoil.com/en/NewsAndMedia/News/2012/Pages/21Mar_DriftHarstad.aspx
  21. ^ http://www.offshore-mag.com/articles/2012/05/dnv-increases-arctic-focus.html
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ http://www.detnor.no/#
  24. ^ http://aibel.com/en/news-and-media/press-releases/billion-nok-contract-gives-aibel-six-years-on-draugen
  25. ^ http://aibel.com/en/about/locations/harstad
  26. ^ http://www.destinationharstad.no/hno/Kommuner/Kvaefjord
  27. ^ http://www.skogoglandskap.no/filearchive/Rapport_02_98.pdf
  28. ^ "Festspillene i Nord-Norge". Archived from the original on 13 October 2004.
  29. ^ "Arctic Moving Image and Film Festival".
  30. ^ "Harstad University College".
  31. ^ "HIL" (in Norwegian).
  32. ^ "Harstad Vikings" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 15 March 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2006.
  33. ^ "Anna Rogde" (in Norwegian).
  34. ^ Harstad/Narvik Lufthavn Evenes. supersaver.no. Accessed 2011-06-11.
  35. ^ Coastal Express. hurtigruten.com. Accessed 2011-10-14.
  36. ^ a b Troms fylkestrafikk. tromskortet.no. Accessed 2011-06-30.
  37. ^ Heli-Team. heliteam.no.
  38. ^ "Twin towns". Choose English > Political info > Friendship cities

External links

  • Harstad travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Information in English Harstad municipality
  • Municipal fact sheet from Statistics Norway (in Norwegian)
  • 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 (in Norwegian)
  • iHarstad.no Information portal (in Norwegian)
  • Live weather station located in Harstad (in Norwegian)
  • About Hinnøy (in Norwegian)
  • Magnars garden at 69 degrees north (in Norwegian)