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Kristiansund (US: /ˈkrɪsənsʌnd, ˈkrɪstiənsʊn/,[3] Norwegian: [krɪstjɑnˈsʉnː] (About this soundlisten); historically spelled Christianssund and earlier named Fosna) is municipality on the western coast of Norway in the Nordmøre district of Møre og Romsdal county. The administrative center of the municipality is the town of Kristiansund (which was established in 1742), which is the major town for the whole Nordmøre region. Other notable settlements in the municipality include the villages of Kvalvåg, Rensvik, and Nedre Frei.

Kristiansund kommune
View of Kristiansund
View of Kristiansund
Official logo of Kristiansund kommune
Møre og Romsdal within
Kristiansund within Møre og Romsdal
Kristiansund within Møre og Romsdal
Coordinates: 63°06′37″N 07°43′40″E / 63.11028°N 7.72778°E / 63.11028; 7.72778Coordinates: 63°06′37″N 07°43′40″E / 63.11028°N 7.72778°E / 63.11028; 7.72778
CountyMøre og Romsdal
Established1 Jan 1838
Administrative centreKristiansund
 • Mayor (2015)Kjell Neergaard (Ap)
 • Total87.38 km2 (33.74 sq mi)
 • Land86.14 km2 (33.26 sq mi)
 • Water1.24 km2 (0.48 sq mi)  1.4%
Area rank388 in Norway
 • Total24,300
 • Rank47 in Norway
 • Density282.1/km2 (731/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Kristiansundar [1]
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-1505
Official language formBokmål [2]

The 87-square-kilometre (34 sq mi) municipality is the 388th largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Kristiansund is the 47th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 24,300. The municipality's population density is 282.1 inhabitants per square kilometre (731/sq mi) and its population has increased by 7.2% over the last decade.[4][5]

General informationEdit

The parish of Christianssund was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt law). Initially, the small island municipality included just the town of Christianssund and its immediate surrounding area. During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1964, Kristiansund Municipality was merged with the tiny Grip Municipality (population: 104) to the northwest and the Dale area of Bremsnes Municipality on Nordlandet island (population: 963).[6] The neighboring Frei Municipality was merged with Kristiansund on 1 January 2008 creating a much larger Kristiansund Municipality.


The municipality is named after the town of Kristiansund. Historically, it was spelled Christianssund. The name comes from the Danish-Norwegian King Christian VI who founded the town in 1742. The last element of the name, sund, means "strait". The old name of the town/village (originally the island Kirkelandet) was Fosna or Fosen (Old Norse: fólgsn) which means "hiding place" (here 'hidden port'). It was also often named Lille Fosen ("the small Fosen") to distinguish it from the island Storfosna ("the big Fosen") in Ørland.

Before 1877, the name was spelled Christianssund, from 1877 to 1888 it was spelled Kristianssund, and since 1889 it has had its present spelling, Kristiansund.

Before the introduction of postal codes in Norway in 1968, it was easy to confuse the name Kristiansund with Kristiansand in the south. It was therefore obligatory to always add an N (for north) to Kristiansund (Kristiansund N) and an S (for south) to Kristiansand (Kristiansand S). This is pretty much still practiced and also occurs in some other contexts than postal addresses.

Coat of armsEdit

The coat of arms was granted on 27 June 1742. The arms were granted by King Christian VI and are described as a silver or white river flowing from a cliff, with salmon jumping upwards on a blue background. The waterfall may possibly be the Lille Fosen waterfall near the town.[7][8]

There are two myths as to why the arms show a waterfall. The first one is because the old name of the town (Fosen) was misinterpreted as Fossund (as a compound of foss which means waterfall and sund which means strait).[8]

The other myth concerning the coat of arms is that there was a mix up, between Kristiansund's and Molde's intended shield. The Dano-Norwegian government officials in charge of the giving of the coats, had a party to remember the momentous occasion and became too drunk and hungover to remember which was which, and so Molde got the coat with a whale (which are scarce in between the Romsdal fjords) and Kristiansund got the waterfall (since Molde is on the mainland and Kristiansund lies in the open sea, it would be more likely that the waterfall was intended for Molde's mountains and the whales for Kristiansund.)


The Church of Norway has three parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Kristiansund. It is part of the Ytre Nordmøre prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Møre.

Churches in Kristiansund
Parish (sokn) Church name Location of the church Year built
Kristiansund Kirkelandet Church Kirkelandet island 1964
Grip Stave Church Grip island 1470
Nordlandet Nordlandet Church Nordlandet island 1914
Frei Frei Church Nedre Frei 1897

St. Eystein Catholic Church is the only Catholic church in Kristiansund.


The municipality borders Smøla Municipality and Aure Municipality to the northeast, Tingvoll Municipality to the east, Gjemnes Municipality to the south, and Averøy Municipality to the southwest. The small Grip archipelago is located in the northwestern part of the municipality. The municipality is surrounded by the Freifjorden and Kvernesfjorden with the open sea to the northwest.

The island of "Nordlandet" in Kristiansund.

Kristiansund is built on four main islands, with many smaller islands. The island of Nordlandet ("North Land", humorously nicknamed Marokko), is the second largest island and the site of the local airport, Kristiansund Airport, Kvernberget (IATA code: KSU). Kirkelandet, third in size is made up of two areas Kirkelandet and Gomalandet. In the local dialect, Kirkelandet (the "Church Land") is pronounced "Kirklandet", without the middle e. The smallest island is Innlandet ("Innermost Land"; humorously, "Tahiti"). The largest island in the municipality is Frei which was part of the old Frei Municipality which was merged into Kristiansund on 1 January 2008. The highest point of the municipality is located on Frei island, Freikollen at a height of 629 metres (2,064 ft).

The islands of Grip, located northwest of Kristiansund are also a part of the municipality. Grip Municipality was Norway's smallest municipality, and also one of the most remote until it merged with Kristiansund in 1964. Today the island of Grip holds status as a deserted fishing village, but in the summer season it is a popular tourist attraction due to the very special location and architecture. Grip Stave Church, the second smallest stave church of Norway (Undredal Stave Church is smaller), is also located at Grip. It is also where Grip Lighthouse is located.

Kristiansund includes the town of Kristiansund which is one of the most densely populated cities of Norway, having what is arguably the country's most urban small city centre, due to the relatively small size of the islands on which it is built and the very constricted central harbour/town area of Kirkelandet.


8000 BC–1066Edit

Many scientists believe that the very first Norwegians lived near what is now Kristiansund. At the end of the last Ice age some areas at the western coast of Norway were ice-free. There was also a lot of food in the sea around Kristiansund at that time, and it is believed that the first settlement arrived in Kristiansund around year 8000 BC.

During the Viking ages there were many important battles around Kristiansund. The most famous one was the Battle of Rastarkalv on the island of Frei, where the Norwegian King Håkon the Good fought against the Eirikssønnene group. There is now a memorial monument located near Rastakalv (at Nedre Frei), where the battle was fought.

Middle agesEdit

A picture of Christianssund from the early 1840s.

The island of Grip was an important fishing community during the Middle Ages, and was considered to be the most important municipality in the region at the time. The natural harbour in Lille-fosen, close to where Kristiansund is located today was also frequently used for fishing purposes.

17th to 18th centuryEdit

During the 17th century a small settlement developed around the area we know today as Kristiansund harbour. As more and more settlers arrived, the area became an important trading port for fishing and the lumber transportation along the coast. The Dano-Norwegian government established a customs station here, which was controlled by the main trading port in Trondheim. In 1631, the port was declared to be a ladested.

Dutch sailors brought the knowledge of clipfish production to Kristiansund at the end of the 17th century, and for a number of years the town was the largest exporter of clipfish in Norway, exporting goods mainly to the Mediterranean countries as Spain and Portugal.[9] The city's clipfish production was also part of the reason why it was given town status as a kjøpstad in 1742.

19th century to presentEdit

Map of Kristiansund (1964-2008)

The town of Christianssund was established as the municipality of Christianssund on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt law). During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1964, Kristiansund Municipality was merged with the tiny Grip Municipality (population: 104) to the northwest and the Dale area of Bremsnes Municipality on Nordlandet island (population: 963).[10] The neighboring Frei Municipality was merged with Kristiansund on 1 January 2008 creating a much larger Kristiansund Municipality.


There are two local TV stations in Kristiansund. The larger one is TVNordvest, (TV North-West) which broadcasts local news from the area around Kristiansund on a daily basis, as well as some other TV shows. The second one is TV Kristiansund, which is more of a culture channel, broadcasting cultural news from Kristiansund, like shows from the city Opera.

The local newspaper of Kristiansund is Tidens Krav, which also functions as a local newspaper for the other municipalities located nearby the city.


Kristiansund has a maritime, temperate climate with cool-to-warm summers and relatively short and mild winters. The city structure with the unique natural harbour of the city combined with warm wind from the southwest of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream gives Kristiansund a much warmer climate than its latitude would indicate.

Climate data for Kristiansund
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 2
Average low °C (°F) −1


All municipalities in Norway, including Kristiansund, 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. [12] The municipality falls under the Nordmøre District Court and the Frostating Court of Appeal.

Municipal councilEdit

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Kristiansund is made up of 45 representatives that are elected to four-year terms. The party breakdown of the council is as follows:

Kristiansund Kommunestyre 2020–2024 [13]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)16
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)2
 Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)2
 Conservative Party (Høyre)2
 Red Party (Rødt)4
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)8
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)1
 Liberal Party (Venstre)2
 Nordmøre List (Nordmørslista)8
Total number of members:45
Kristiansund Kommunestyre 2016–2019 [14]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)16
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)7
 Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)2
 Conservative Party (Høyre)3
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
 Red Party (Rødt)2
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)11
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)1
 Liberal Party (Venstre)2
Total number of members:45
Kristiansund Kommunestyre 2012–2015 [15]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)23
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)8
 Conservative Party (Høyre)8
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
 Red Party (Rødt)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)1
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)1
 Liberal Party (Venstre)2
Total number of members:45

Twin townsEdit

Kirstiansund has sister city agreements with the following places:

Together the three cities hold a tournament called Nordiske Dager ("Nordic Days").

Parks and gardensEdit

A small section of the Langveien-park.

Though fairly small in size, the city of Kristiansund contains many green parks and gardens, frequently used by the city's inhabitants. There are two larger parks near the city centre. The first one is located near Langveien, and was constructed in the aftermath of World War II . The second one is located in Vanndamman. This area used to be part of the city water supply, due to the large amount of small lakes in the area. (hence the name "Vanndamman" (The Water ponds)) The two parks are partly linked together, but the Langveien-park serve more as an urban recreation area due to the short walking distance from the city centre, while the Vanndamman-park is more suitable for outings and jogging.


Started in 1876 and still going strong is the Sundbåt ("Sound Boat"/"Strait Crossing Boat") shuttle service with a capacity of a few tens of passengers, travelling between the islands. The small motor ferry crosses the harbour from Kirkelandet to Innlandet, then goes on to Nordlandet, to Gomalandet, and back to Kirkelandet, repeating the round trip in half-hour intervals morning to evening on weekdays. The Sundbåt bears the distinction of being the world's oldest motorized regular public transport system in continuous service.

The road to Kristiansund from the mainland, Norwegian National Road 70 is connected to European route E39 by the bridge/tunnel system called Krifast. After passing through the underwater Freifjord Tunnel from the central part of Krifast, National Road 70 crosses Frei, and enters Kristiansund over the Omsund Bridge onto Nordlandet. The Nordsund Bridge brings the Rv 70 to Gomalandet and its terminus in downtown at Kirkelandet. Another high bridge, the Sørsund Bridge, leads from Kirkelandet to Innlandet. E39 leads southwest to the town of Molde and northeast via the European route E6 to Trøndelag and the city of Trondheim.

There used to be a car ferry going from Kirkelandet island to neighboring Averøy Municipality to the west, whose people have been commuting to town for many years for work as well as selling agricultural products. The ferry to Averøy connected Kristiansund to Norwegian National Road 64, which continued along the scenic Atlanterhavsvegen to Molde. The ferry was replaced by the 5.7-kilometre (3.5 mi) long underwater Atlantic Ocean Tunnel in December 2009. Because both tunnels are forbidden for bicyclists, Kristiansund cannot easily be reached by bicycle.

A second car ferry goes from Seivika on Nordlandet to Tustna in the northeast (road: RV 680), with further road and ferry connections to the islands of Smøla and Hitra, and to Aure Municipality on the mainland.

Besides roads and car ferries and Kristiansund Airport, Kvernberget, connections to/from Kristiansund consist of the traditional coastal express Hurtigruten connecting coastal towns from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the north, and the high speed catamaran passenger service Kystekspressen to Trondheim. Another option to get to Kristiansund is to fly with Scandinavian Airlines from several other Norwegian cities.

Commerce and industryEdit

The front façade of Kirkelandet Church. It was one of the first truly modern church buildings in Norway, constructed in the mid-1960s.

Kristiansund is known as the major bacalhau city of Norway. Bacalhau is made of salted, dried codfish,[16] and has traditionally been exported in large amounts to Spain, Portugal and Latin America as food suitable during Lent. In recent years Kristiansund has become the major oil and gas city at the mid-northwestern coast. Oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil have offices in Kristiansund from where they serve their offshore installations at Haltenbanken (one of the northernmost underwater oil fields in the world).

Due to the city's heavy involvement in fish processing and international shipping, there used to be as many as seven consulates in Kristiansund, mainly to Latin countries. Currently, there are only five left: Britain, Finland, Latvia, the Netherlands, and Portugal.

Culture and sportsEdit

Kristiansund is an important cultural centre in the region of Nordmøre. The city is probably best known for housing Norway's oldest opera, which was established in 1928 by Edvard Bræin. There is an annual opera festival held every February in Kristiansund named The Opera Weeks (Operafestukene). In addition to this, Kristiansund is also host city of Northern Europes largest photo festival, Nordic Light. Even though this is a rather "young" festival, (Est. 2006) it has grown to become one of the most important of its kind in Europe, attracting famous photographers from all around the world, like Don McCullin, Jock Sturges and William Klein.[17] Other smaller festivals held in Kristiansund include The Tahiti Festival and Kristiansund Church, Art and Culture Festival (shortened to the KKKK-festival in Norwegian).

Kristiansund's main football team, Kristiansund BK, is a result of the 2003 merger between the two largest football teams in the city, KFK and Clausenengen, which together with support from local businesses helped in creating a united elite club commitment.[18] The club started at the 4th level (tredje divisjon) of the Norwegian football league system, and qualifyed for the 2017 season to play at the top level (Eliteserien). The team finished 7th in its first season at the top level, beating all expectations.

Other popular sports in Kristiansund include Volleyball, Wrestling, Swimming, Ice skating and Handball.

Tourist attractionsEdit

The Norwegian clipfish museum. These building are typical for Kristiansund, and are easy to see along the harbour.
Festiviteten in Kristiansund
  • The archipelago of Grip, northwest of Kristiansund was (until 1964) the smallest municipality of Norway. Today it is a deserted fishing village, but is a popular tourist attraction for the special architecture and unique location. Norway's smallest stave church, which was constructed in the end of the 15th century is also located at Grip.
  • Sundbåtene in Kristiansund claims to be the world's oldest public transport system, founded in 1876. The small "Sundbåt" passenger ferries crosses between the four "lands" of the city.
  • The old city structure in Vågen is a center for the historical fishing settlement in Kristiansund. Mellemværftet is also located here, which is an old shipbuilding facility for sailer ships. The Norwegian Clipfish Museum is also located here.
  • Innlandet is an old city part of Kristiansund with very special and unique coastal architecture. Innlandet is the part of Kristiansund that was least damaged during the bombings of Kristiansund during World War II .
  • Nordic Light is an annual festival of photography arranged for the first time in 2006, and is currently the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. The festival is represented by Morten Krogvold.
  • Festiviteten (Kristiansund Opera) is the oldest opera house in Norway. It is built in Art Nouveau-style, and was completed in 1914. It is one of the few older buildings in the city centre of Kristiansund that survived the bombing of the city during World War II .
  • Tahitifestivalen is an annual music festival that is arranged in Kristiansund. The festival is arranged by Frode Alnæs and the cafè Dødeladen on Innlandet. The festival was first introduced for the first time in 2000. There has been artist like Dance with a Stranger, Madcon, Hellbillies, Madrugada, Bigbang and many more.
  • Varden is an old guard located 78 meters above sea level. At the top you get magnificent views to the shipping lane with the fishing village Grip on the horizon. The panorama goes 360 degrees with the Nordmøre mountains as a powerful backdrop. Open every day with free access where you can view the mountains and fjords of Nordmøre.

Notable residentsEdit

The following people are from, or have their roots in, Kristiansund.


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  2. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian).
  3. ^ "Kristiansund". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  4. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2018). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  5. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå. "09280: Area of land and fresh water (km²) (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  6. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  7. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  8. ^ a b Stokken, John; Thorsnæs, Geir, eds. (26 September 2018). "Kristiansund". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  9. ^ Silva, A.J.M. (2015). Barata, F.T.; Rocha, J.M. (eds.). "The fable of the cod and the promised sea" (PDF). Heritages and Memories from the Sea, Proceedings of the 1st International Conference of the UNESCO Chair in Intangible Heritage and Traditional Know-How. Évora: University of Evora (14–16 January 2015): 130–143.
  10. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  11. ^ "Weather Information for Oslo". Retrieved 6 October 2008.
  12. ^ Hansen, Tore, ed. (12 May 2016). "kommunestyre". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2019 - Møre og Romsdal" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
  15. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2011 - Møre og Romsdal" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  16. ^ Salted, dried cod, used in bacalao (see Baccalà and Bacalhau), is known locally as klippfisk ("Cliff Fish", eng. clipfish), the name coming from the rounded, barren cliffs on which the fish were traditionally left to dry in the open air after being opened, gutted, flattened, salted, and pressed.
  17. ^
  18. ^

External linksEdit