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 (formerly "Christianssand") is a city, municipality and the county capital of Vest-Agder countymarker in Southern Norway. Kristiansand municipality is the 6th largest in Norway with a population of 80,109 as of 1 January 2009. The Kristiansand urban area, entirely located in the municipality, had a population of 64,930 on 1 January 2006, and is thus the 8th largest urban area in Norway.

The name

The city was named after its founder King Christian IV in 1641. The last element sand refers to the sandy headland the city was built on (see also Lillesandmarker).

The name was written "Christian(s)sand" until 1877 - then, according to an official spelling reform (that changed ch to k), the form was changed to "Kristianssand". (See also the names Kristiansundmarker and Kristianiamarker that were affected by the same reform.) The name was again changed to its present form Kristiansand in 1889.


The arms were granted on 8 December 1909 and are based on the oldest seal of the city, dating from 1643. In 1643 King Christian IV (of Denmarkmarker and Norwaymarker) granted the young city the right to use a seal with the Norwegian lion and the Royal crown. The crown indicates that the city was founded by the king. As the species of tree is not properly described, there are several images known with differently shaped trees. A second seal, from 1658, shows a tree with leaves and what looks like pine cones.


As indicated by archeological findings in the city, the Kristiansand area has been settled at least since 400 AD. A royal farm is known to have been situated on Oddernes as early as 800, and the first church was built around 1040. The first settlements near the modern city were located further down the river, in or near what is today the borough of Lund, and at Flekkerøy, an island outside the city centre.

Kristiansand was formally founded by King Christian IV in 1641. It was created as a market town to encourage growth in a strategically significant area, providing a local economic base for construction of fortifications and population for defence of the area. The centre of Kristiansand, in layout essentially unchanged since the 17th century, is called "Kvadraturen" due to its square gridline of streets.

The city experienced its first major town fire in 1734, when large parts of the city was destroyed. Kristiansand grew into a major port during the 18th century, both due to its expanding ship building industry and its trade fleet. The city burned again in 1892. As a neutral trade port, the economy of Kristiansand thrived during World War I, but the growth stagnated due to political decisions and the Great Depression of the late 1920s and 1930s.

Kristiansand was established as a municipality 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipalities of Oddernesmarker, Randesundmarker and Tveitmarker were merged with Kristiansand on 1 January 1965.


The Quart festival, held every year at the beginning of July, is back in 2009 after financial difficulties that saw it close in 2008. As Norway’s biggest music festival, Quart has taken place in Kristiansand every July since 1991. Originally named Qvadradurmusivalen, its name was changed to the more catchy Quart Festival the following year. For several years Quart was the largest music festival in Norway, but has struggled in recent years in part due to tough competition from the Hovefestivalen in Tromøya, Arendalmarker and some Oslomarker based festivals. The rock music event lasts for five days and has concerts on a big stage in Oderøya, a peninsula south of the town centre, as well as on smaller stages around the town. Quart is known for attracting famous international artists to Kristiansand each year as in addition to finding new young talents, for whom performing in Quart meant a fast and steady track to fame. Many of today’s big stars previously appeared on Quart’s smaller stages. The line-up for the revitalized Quart Festival 2009 includes world-famous stars, such as Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie, Black Eyed Peas, Marilyn Manson and Placebo.

Kristiansand is a home to many other festivals as well. One of the most interesting ones is Protestfestival. It was launched in 2000 and takes place every September. Protestfestival aims to address apathy and indifference in politics, and is often referred to as "the small festival that asks the big questions". Debates, concerts and lectures are held at the festival combined with performance art and documentaries. Protestfestival claims to attract anarchists, communists, hippies as well as conservative Christians and capitalists and encourage communication among these radically different groups.

Festivals run throughout the year in Kristiansand. Some of these include the Bragdøya Blues Festival in June, the Dark Season Festival in October, Cultural Night and the International Children Film Festival in April. Kristiansand has an active music scene as well. The Kristiansand Symphonic Orchestra as well as Chamber Orchestra and Wind Ensemble are now well known after their merging in 2003. The new Concert Hall “Kilden” is planned to be finished in Kristiansand in 2011. So far concerts take place in Agder Theatre, which is also a venue for most of the other big events. South Norway’s Art Museum is also in the centre of Kristiansand. It was established in 1995 and is the second biggest regional art museum in Norway.

The museum runs an extensive programme, which includes exhibitions of the permanent collection, temporary contemporary art-exhibitions and touring exhibitions to schools and child-care initiatives. The museum is working to generate interest, engagement, knowledge and understanding of the arts, crafts and other visual arts.

Cultiva, which is a local government foundation, was established to ensure a portion of the profits made from selling shares in Agder Energy Ltd have lasting benefits to the community, with some of the money invested in cultural projects in Kristiansand. In addition, in 2007 Kristiansand won cultural funding from “Norges kulturkommune”, which was established by the Norwegian Culture Forum and is awarded every other year. Fiskebrygga, in Kristiansand, is very popular in summer. In the 1990s the area was refurbished transforming the traditional landing area for boats with restaurants and shops.

The City’s famous football team, IK Start, had their final home game at Kristiansand Stadium in 2006. As of 2007 the team has been moved to its newer facilities in South Arena. Kristiansand is also known for its handball teams (KIF and Choose Vipers), basketball (Kristiansand Pirates) and volleyball club (Grim VBK).

The zoological garden, Kristiansand Dyreparkmarker (Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park) just east of the city, has a wide selection of animals in, for the most part, natural habitats. This includes animals such as wolves, tigers and the lynx. The Dyreparken draws many tourists and is the second most visited in Norway.

Agderforskning (Agder Research) is an interdisciplinary social science research institute based in Kristiansand. As well as broad involvement in festivals, Agderforskning is also working on projects connected to value creation in coastal culture, cultural heritage, film and travel and tourism production, cultural experience surveys, cultural activities financing, interaction and innovation processes connected to art in the workplace, cooperation in the tourism industry, experiential tourism, entrepreneurship in the music industry, and dialogue-based innovation where art, culture and commerce meet. Although strongly based in the Kristiansand and the surrounding area, their studies are far reaching; nationally, throughout Scandinavia and in Europe in the development of international research projects. More information about their most recent project on festivals is on the website

Economy and transport

Kristiansand is connected to continental Europe by air and sea. The local airport, Kjevikmarker, is located 12 km (7 miles) east of the city and has routes to European and Norwegian cities. From the city centre, the ferry harbour has routes to Hirtshalsmarker (Denmarkmarker) and Hanstholm (Denmarkmarker). Road connections goes via E18 east to Arendalmarker and Oslomarker, via E39 west to Mandalmarker and Stavangermarker, and highway 9 north to Venneslamarker, Setesdalmarker and Haukeli. The Sørlandsbanen railway has station in downtown Kristiansand which is a terminus station, where trains have to change direction. Trains go east to Oslo and west to Stavanger.

Kristiansand has major shipbuilding and repair facilities that support Norway's North Sea oil industry. Near Kristiansand there is the static inverter plant of the HVDC Cross-Skagerak.

Geography and climate

Kristiansand and the Agder counties usually have a lot of summer sunshine compared to most of Norway. There may be heavy snowfall in winter with south-southeasterly winds (snow record at Kjevik is 170 cm), but the snow rarely stays long at the coast; see climate. In the summer most locals go to the Fish Market and Hamresanden Beach which is located near Kjevik airport (about 10 mins from the city centre). People from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the UK and other European countries also visit this beach in the summer during their travels.


The University of Agder's largest campus is located in Kristiansand; the university itself has about 8,000 students. Formerly a university college, it was granted status as a university on 1 September 2007. Study programs include business and economics, engineering and technology, the humanities, mathematics, nursing, teacher education, as well as fine arts.

Kristiansand is also home of one of the Norwegian School of Managementmarker's ( ) campuses, in addition to The Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication ( ), which offers degrees in journalism and communication.

In 2006, 27% of those above 16 years in Kristiansand had higher education, compared to the national average of 24.2%.

People from Kristiansand

External links


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