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 is the second largest city and municipality by population, in Troms county, Norwaymarker –  the city is also the third largest in North Norway. Thus Harstad is the natural centre for its district. Situated approximately   north of the Arctic Circle, the city celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004.


Municipality of Harstad.
The municipality is located on two islands in south Troms. Most of the municipality is located on Hinnøyamarker, which is Norway's largest island (except Svalbardmarker). The northern part of the municipality is located on the southern half, , of Grytøyamarker. Harstad is bordered by the municipality of Bjarkøymarker to the north, Kvæfjordmarker to the west, and Tjeldsundmarker (in the county of Nordlandmarker) to the south. To the southeast the Tjeldsund Bridge connects Hinnøya with Skånlandmarker and the mainland across Tjeldsundet, and to the northeast is the Vågsfjorden, where Harstad shares a water border with Ibestadmarker. The city itself is located northeast on Hinnøya; it is the only city on the island, and is popularly known as Vågsfjordens perle (The pearl of Vågsfjorden).

The municipality contains several small islands, including Arnøya, Gressholman, Kjeøya, Kjøtta, Kjøttakalven, Måga, Rogla, Lille Rogla and Åkerøya.

The highest mountain is Sætertinden (1095 metres above sea level), located near Sandtorgmarker, Hinnøya.The oil industry of North Norway is centered in Harstad, but the city 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 North Norway, with the old seabed creating fertile soil that is well-suited for farming .


The city enjoys the midnight sun during the summer months, from 22 May to 18 July, along with moderate daytime temperatures, usually from to , although northerly winds can plunge temperatures down to . Summer starts in June, but July and August are the warmest months. Mean annual temperature is and annual average precipitation is . May and June are the driest months with on average rain, while July and August averages . The wettest period is October through December, with on average precipitation each month, some of it snow.During the winter months, the polar night allows for regular viewings of the aurora borealis (a.k.a. the northern lights). The sun is not visible from 30 November to 12 January. There is some snowfall and temperatures usually range from to . With high pressure weather, winter temperatures can get down to about , and in summer reach ..


The town of Harstad was separated from Trondenes on 1 January 1904. The municipalities of Sandtorgmarker and Trondenes were merged with Harstad on 1 January 1964.

In recent years, a 3000-year-old bronze axe and a 2600-year-old bronze collar 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 Churchmarker, the world's northernmost medieval church, which dates back to the 13th–15th century, is situated just outside the town.

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 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".


The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted on 24 April 1953. The blue symbolizes the sea with silvery/white waves.

Institutions and culture

Harstad Stadium; June 2007
The city hosts the annual week long Festival of Northern Norway.

Harstad University College, with approximately 1,100 students, 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 Norwaymarker.

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

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

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 Tjeldsundmarker 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.


The closest airport is Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenesmarker, by road, located on the mainland.

Every morning a northbound and a southbound Coastal Express ship visit Harstad.

Express boats regularly go between Harstad and Tromsømarker, Finnsnesmarker, Senjamarker, and other places.

In the district there are several ferries and buses, and in the town of Harstad there are also local buses.

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

Local areas

Street: Strandgata; 4 May 2008.

City neighbourhoods and villages
Villages north/west of the city
Grøtavær Lundenes Alvestad
Kjøtta Kasfjordmarker Aune
Stornes Årnes Røkenes
Undlandet Ervik Vika
Mustaparta Hagan Kilhus
Tennvassåsen Tømmeråsen Steinnes
Storvassbotn Sørlia
City neighbourhoods
Bergseng Trondenes Sama
Blåbærhaugen Harstadåsen Eineberget
Skaret City Center Heggen
Seljestad Harstadbotn Grønnebakkan
Gangsås Stangnes Åsbymarker
Kanebogen Medkila Holtet
Breivik Ruggevik Kilbotnmarker
Villages south of the city
Nordvik Melvik Sørvikmarker
Halsebø Brokvik Fauskevågmarker
Gausvik Haukebø Sandtorgmarker

Notable residents

[[Image:Harstad fra Eineberget.jpg|thumb|right|600px|North-eastern part of Harstad seen fromEineberget; 4 May 2008]]

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

The twin towns of Harstad are:

See also


  1. Municipality second largest in Troms county
  2. City second largest in Troms county; third largest in North Norway
  3. Choose English > Political info > Friendship cities

External links

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