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 is a town and municipality in Oppland county, Norwaymarker, globally known for hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics. It is part of the traditional region of Gudbrandsdal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Lillehammer.

The city centre is a late 19th century concentration of wooden houses, which enjoys a picturesque location overlooking the northern part of lake Mj√łsamarker and the river L√•genmarker, surrounded by mountains.


The municipality is named after the old Hamar farm (Old Norse: Hamarr), since the first church was built there. The word hamar means a "steep rock". In order to distinguish it from the nearby town and the bishopric of Hamar, it was often called Lil√ĺl√¶ Hamar or Litlihamarr meaning "the small Hamarmarker". It is also mentioned in the Old Norse sagas as Litlikaupangr meaning "the small trading place".


The coat-of-arms was granted in 1898. The arms show a birkebeiner, carrying a spear and a shield, who is skiing down a mountainside. It symbolizes the historical importance of the Birkebeinerrennet race.


The area has been settled since the Norwegian Iron Age. It is also mentioned as a site for council in 1390. It had a lively market by the 1800s, and obtained rights as a merchant city on 7 August 1827, at which point there were 50 registered residents within its boundaries.

The town of Lillehammer was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipality of Fåbergmarker was merged into the municipality of Lillehammer on 1 January 1964.
Olympic ski jump

Lillehammer was the site of the Lillehammer affair in 1973 where operatives of the Israelimarker Mossad shot and killed a Moroccanmarker waiter they mistakenly thought was involved in the Munich Massacremarker.

Lillehammer was host city of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games. It is known for being a typical venue for winter sporting events. It bid for the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics, but was passed over.

In 2005, the popular British automotive show Top Gear aired its "Winter Olympics" special, an episode of various Olympic event-themed challenges involving cars, set in the surrounding area of Lillehammer.


A number of schools are located in Lillehammer including the Hammartun Lower Secondary SchoolLillehammer High School, Mesna High School, Vargstad High School are the three high schools in Lillehammer.


Vista of Lillehammer from the west
Lillehammer is located to the south of the municipality of √ėyermarker, to the southeast of Gausdalmarker, northeast of Nordre Landmarker, and to the north of Gj√łvikmarker, all in Oppland county. To the southeast, it is bordered by Ringsakermarker municipality in Hedmarkmarker county. Lillehammer has a relatively dry inland climate. To the northwest is the mountain Sp√•tindmarker.



The basis for the city's commerce is its position as the northernmost point of the lake Mj√łsamarker and as the gateway for the Gudbrandsdal region, through which the historical highway to Trondheimmarker passes. The Mesna river has provided the basis for several small industries through the years.


One of the major Norwegian rail lines, the Dovrebanen, runs from Hamarmarker to the north through Lillehammer on its way up the Gudbrandsdal, to terminate in Trondheim.

European route E6 passes through Lillehammer.


Lillehammer Church
In addition to the Olympic site, Lillehammer offers a number of other tourist attractions:

  • The art museum, "Flygelet".

  • Sjusj√łen is a skiing destination with forest and mountain terrain only 20 km away (east) from the centre of Lillehammer in the municipality of Ringsakermarker.

  • Nansen Academy - the Norwegian Humanistic Academy - The Nansen Academy is an educational institution for adult students with different political, religious and cultural backgrounds. The Academy is founded on the inheritance of humanism and aims at strengthening the knowledge about this inheritance.


Sportclubs in Lillehammer

Notable residents

  • Sigrid Undset lived in Lillehammer at her home "Bjerkeb√¶k" from 1919 through 1940. She brought her children with her for a short rest, planning on returning to Oslomarker. However, she chose to remain in Lillehammer. She wrote her most famous works there: the three-volume "Kristin Lavransdatter", the six-volume "Sverkholt tales", and the four-volume "Olav Audunss√łnn". In 1940, because she had expressed strong anti-Nazi sentiments since the early 1930s, she fled Lillehammer before the invading German army reached the town. She returned to Lillehammer after the war and died there in 1949. She is buried at the cemetery in Mesnali a nearby village.
  • Toki Wartooth (fictional), the rhythm guitarist of Dethklok from the Adult Swim show Metalocalypse fictionally hails from "an abandoned village north of Lillehammer".

International relations

Twin towns ‚ÄĒ Sister cities

The following cities are twinned with Lillehammer:

See also

Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2004


External links

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