Narvik

Narvik

Overview
is the third largest city and municipality
Municipalities of Norway
Norway is divided into 19 administrative regions, called counties , and 430 municipalities...

 in Nordland
Nordland
is a county in Norway in the North Norway region, bordering Troms in the north, Nord-Trøndelag in the south, Norrbottens län in Sweden to the east, Västerbottens län to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The county was formerly known as Nordlandene amt. The county administration is...

 county
Counties of Norway
Norway is divided into 19 administrative regions, called counties . The counties form the primary first-level subdivisions of Norway and are further divided into 430 municipalities...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 by population. Narvik is located on the shores of the Narvik Fjord
Ofotfjord
Ofotfjord or Narvik Fjord, an inlet of the Norwegian sea north of the Arctic circle, is Norway's 12th longest fjord, long, and the 18th deepest, with a maximum depth of . Along the shores of this fjord is the major town of Narvik...

 . The municipality is part of the Ofoten
Ofoten
Ofoten is a district in North Norway, consisting of the municipalities Tysfjord, Ballangen, Evenes, Tjeldsund, Narvik and Lødingen. It is named after the main fjord Ofotfjord, which is at the center of this landscape...

 traditional region
Districts of Norway
The country Norway is historically divided into a number of districts. Many districts have deep historical roots, and only partially coincide with today's administrative units of counties and municipalities. The districts are defined by geographical features, often valleys, mountain ranges, fjords,...

 of North Norway, inside the arctic circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

. Narvik borders the municipality of Ballangen
Ballangen
Ballangen is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Ofoten region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Ballangen. Ballangen was separated from Evenes on 1 July 1925...

 to the southwest, Evenes
Evenes
Evenes is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Ofoten region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Bogen.The old municipality of Ofoten was split into Evenes and Ankenes on 1 January 1884...

 to the northwest, Bardu
Bardu
Bardu is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Setermoen, the largest urban area in the municipality.Norway's largest military garrison is located at Setermoen...

 and Gratangen
Gratangen
Gratangen is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. It is part of the Hålogaland traditional region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Årstein. The municipality encompasses the land on both sides of the Gratangen fjord. European route E6 runs through the...

 in Troms
Troms
or Romsa is a county in North Norway, bordering Finnmark to the northeast and Nordland in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län in Sweden and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in Finland. To the west is the Norwegian Sea...

 county to the north, and Norrbotten County
Norrbotten County
Norrbotten County is the northernmost county or län of Sweden. It borders Västerbotten County to the southwest, the Gulf of Bothnia to the southeast. It also borders the counties of Nordland and Troms in Norway to the northwest, and Lapland Province in Finland to the northeast.The name...

 (Lapland) in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 to the south and east.

Narvik was separated from the municipality of Ankenes
Ankenes
Ankenes is a former municipality which now forms part of the municipality of Narvik in Nordland county, Norway. Ankenes is a largely residential area of Narvik, located on the southern side of Beisfjorden, a south arm of Ofotfjorden.-History:...

 when it became a city and municipality of its own on 1 January 1902.
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Encyclopedia
is the third largest city and municipality
Municipalities of Norway
Norway is divided into 19 administrative regions, called counties , and 430 municipalities...

 in Nordland
Nordland
is a county in Norway in the North Norway region, bordering Troms in the north, Nord-Trøndelag in the south, Norrbottens län in Sweden to the east, Västerbottens län to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The county was formerly known as Nordlandene amt. The county administration is...

 county
Counties of Norway
Norway is divided into 19 administrative regions, called counties . The counties form the primary first-level subdivisions of Norway and are further divided into 430 municipalities...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 by population. Narvik is located on the shores of the Narvik Fjord
Ofotfjord
Ofotfjord or Narvik Fjord, an inlet of the Norwegian sea north of the Arctic circle, is Norway's 12th longest fjord, long, and the 18th deepest, with a maximum depth of . Along the shores of this fjord is the major town of Narvik...

 . The municipality is part of the Ofoten
Ofoten
Ofoten is a district in North Norway, consisting of the municipalities Tysfjord, Ballangen, Evenes, Tjeldsund, Narvik and Lødingen. It is named after the main fjord Ofotfjord, which is at the center of this landscape...

 traditional region
Districts of Norway
The country Norway is historically divided into a number of districts. Many districts have deep historical roots, and only partially coincide with today's administrative units of counties and municipalities. The districts are defined by geographical features, often valleys, mountain ranges, fjords,...

 of North Norway, inside the arctic circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

. Narvik borders the municipality of Ballangen
Ballangen
Ballangen is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Ofoten region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Ballangen. Ballangen was separated from Evenes on 1 July 1925...

 to the southwest, Evenes
Evenes
Evenes is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Ofoten region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Bogen.The old municipality of Ofoten was split into Evenes and Ankenes on 1 January 1884...

 to the northwest, Bardu
Bardu
Bardu is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Setermoen, the largest urban area in the municipality.Norway's largest military garrison is located at Setermoen...

 and Gratangen
Gratangen
Gratangen is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. It is part of the Hålogaland traditional region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Årstein. The municipality encompasses the land on both sides of the Gratangen fjord. European route E6 runs through the...

 in Troms
Troms
or Romsa is a county in North Norway, bordering Finnmark to the northeast and Nordland in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län in Sweden and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in Finland. To the west is the Norwegian Sea...

 county to the north, and Norrbotten County
Norrbotten County
Norrbotten County is the northernmost county or län of Sweden. It borders Västerbotten County to the southwest, the Gulf of Bothnia to the southeast. It also borders the counties of Nordland and Troms in Norway to the northwest, and Lapland Province in Finland to the northeast.The name...

 (Lapland) in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 to the south and east.

Narvik was separated from the municipality of Ankenes
Ankenes
Ankenes is a former municipality which now forms part of the municipality of Narvik in Nordland county, Norway. Ankenes is a largely residential area of Narvik, located on the southern side of Beisfjorden, a south arm of Ofotfjorden.-History:...

 when it became a city and municipality of its own on 1 January 1902. The municipality of Ankenes was merged into Narvik on 1 January 1974.

Name


The town is named after the old Narvik farm ("Narduigh" - 1567), since the town is built on its ground. The meaning of the first element is unknown, and the last element is vik which means "inlet
Inlet
An inlet is a narrow body of water between islands or leading inland from a larger body of water, often leading to an enclosed body of water, such as a sound, bay, lagoon or marsh. In sea coasts an inlet usually refers to the actual connection between a bay and the ocean and is often called an...

".

Narvik was originally called Victoriahavn after the Queen Victoria of England
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

, however Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria
Victoria of Baden
Victoria of Baden was a Queen consort of Sweden by her marriage to King Gustaf V of Sweden. She was politically active in a conservative fashion during the development of democracy and known as a pro-German during the First World War.-Birth:Princess Viktoria was born on 7 August 1862 at the castle...

 was also honoured.

Coat-of-arms


The coat-of-arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 is from modern times. They were granted on 1 June 1951. The arms show a gold-coloured anchor
Anchor
An anchor is a device, normally made of metal, that is used to connect a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the vessel from drifting due to wind or current. The word derives from Latin ancora, which itself comes from the Greek ἄγκυρα .Anchors can either be temporary or permanent...

 on a red background. The anchor symbolises Narvik's status as an important port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 (the largest harbour in North Norway).

History



The history of Narvik as a settlement began in the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

. Not very much is known about these people, but the Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

s lived in this area.

The history of modern Narvik begins in the 1870s, when the Swedish government began to understand the potential of the iron ore mines in Kiruna
Kiruna
Kiruna is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is the seat of Kiruna Municipality Kiruna (Northern Sami: Giron, Finnish: Kiiruna) is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. Obtaining iron ore from Kiruna had one significant problem in that there was no suitable Swedish port. The nearest Swedish port, Luleå
Luleå
- Transportation :Local buses are run by .A passenger train service is available from Luleå Centralstation on Sweden's national SJ railway service northbound to Narvik on the Norwegian coast, or southbound to Stockholm. See Rail transport in Sweden....

, has limitations. It is covered with ice all winter, it is far from Kiruna, and it allows only medium-sized bulk freight vessels. Realizing these problems, a Swedish company (Gällivarre Aktiebolag) built a railway
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 to Narvik, as the port there is ice-free thanks to the warm Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

, and is naturally large, allowing boats of virtually any size to anchor, up to 208 metres long and 27 metres deep.

Therefore, Narvik was founded as an all-year ice free port for the Kiruna
Kiruna
Kiruna is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is the seat of Kiruna Municipality Kiruna (Northern Sami: Giron, Finnish: Kiiruna) is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is...

 and Gällivare
Gällivare
Gällivare is a locality and the seat of Gällivare Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 8,480 inhabitants in 2005. The town was founded in the 17th century...

 iron mines
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

. During the construction of the railway, the coming port was called Victoriahavn (Victoria harbour) until 1898, when the name was changed to Narvik. The town was officially founded in 1902. Ofotbanen is the railroad connecting Narvik to Kiruna in Sweden, passing through the mountains dividing the two countries. Locals use the Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 slang words morsan (mother) and farsan (father), a testimony to the close ties with Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

.

LKAB
LKAB
LKAB is a Swedish mining company. The company mines iron ore at Kiruna and at Malmberget in northern Sweden. The company was established in 1890, and has been 100% state-owned since the 1950s...

, the mining corporation, still ships the majority of its ore from Narvik (a total 25 million tons a year) and the corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

 is still important in the area, both as an employer and landowner, although its influence is not as prominent now as it has been in previous years.

World War II




The port of Narvik proved to be strategically valuable in the early years of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the town became a focal point of the Norwegian Campaign
Norwegian Campaign
The Norwegian Campaign was a military campaign that was fought in Norway during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany, after the latter's invasion of the country. In April 1940, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway's aid with an expeditionary force...

. In 1939, Germany's war industry depended upon iron ore mined in Kiruna
Kiruna
Kiruna is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is the seat of Kiruna Municipality Kiruna (Northern Sami: Giron, Finnish: Kiiruna) is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is...

 and Malmberget
Malmberget
Malmberget is a locality and mining town situated in Gällivare Municipality, Norrbotten County, Sweden with 6,017 inhabitants in 2005. It is situated 5 kilometres from the municipal seat Gällivare....

 in Sweden. During the summer season this ore could be sent by cargo ship to Germany through the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 via the Swedish port of Luleå
Luleå
- Transportation :Local buses are run by .A passenger train service is available from Luleå Centralstation on Sweden's national SJ railway service northbound to Narvik on the Norwegian coast, or southbound to Stockholm. See Rail transport in Sweden....

 on the Gulf of Bothnia
Gulf of Bothnia
The Gulf of Bothnia is the northernmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It is situated between Finland's west coast and Sweden's east coast. In the south of the gulf lie the Åland Islands, between the Sea of Åland and the Archipelago Sea.-Name:...

. However, when the Gulf of Bothnia froze during the winter, more shipments of the ore needed to be transported through Narvik and, from there, down the west coast of Norway to Germany. The town of Narvik is linked by rail to Sweden, but not to any other towns in Norway. As a result, Narvik serves as a gateway to the ore fields of Sweden that cannot be easily reached from southern Norway via land. Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 realized that the control of Narvik meant stopping most German imports of iron ore during the winter of 1940. This would be advantageous to the Allies, and it might help shorten the war. Equally as important, later in the war, German submarines and warships based there threatened the allied supply line to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

.

Churchill proposed laying a naval mine
Naval mine
A naval mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to destroy surface ships or submarines. Unlike depth charges, mines are deposited and left to wait until they are triggered by the approach of, or contact with, an enemy vessel...

field in Norwegian territorial waters around Narvik (referred to as "the Leads"), or else occupying the town with Allied troops. The Allies hoped that they might be able to use an occupied Narvik as a base from which to secure the Swedish ore fields and/or to send supplies and reinforcements to Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, then fighting the Finnish Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

 with the Soviet Union. Plans to lay a minefield around Narvik or to seize the town met with debate within the British government - since both plans would mean a violation of Norway's neutrality and sovereignty.

Finally, on 8 April 1940, the British Admiralty launched Operation Wilfred
Operation Wilfred
Operation Wilfred was a British naval operation during World War II that involved the mining of the channel between Norway and her offshore islands in order to prevent the transport of swedish iron ore through neutral Norwegian waters to be used to sustain the German war effort...

, an attempt to lay anti-shipping minefields around Narvik in Norwegian territorial waters. Coincidentally, Germany launched its invasion of Norway (Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

) on the next day. During this invasion, ten German destroyer
Destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

s, each carrying 200 mountain infantry soldiers, were sent to Narvik. The outdated Norwegian coastal defence ship
Coastal defence ship
Coastal defence ships were warships built for the purpose of coastal defence, mostly during the period from 1860 to 1920. They were small, often cruiser-sized warships that sacrificed speed and range for armour and armament...

s HNoMS Eidsvold
HNoMS Eidsvold
HNoMS Eidsvold, or Panserskipet Eidsvold in Norwegian, was a coastal defence ship and the lead ship of her class, serving in the Royal Norwegian Navy...

 and HNoMS Norge
HNoMS Norge
HNoMS Norge was a coastal defence ship of the Eidsvold class in the Royal Norwegian Navy. Built by Armstrong Whitworth at Newcastle on Tyne in 1899, she was obsolete when torpedoed and sunk by German destroyers in Narvik harbour on 9 April 1940.-Description:Built as part of the general rearmament...

 attempted to resist the invasion, but both Norwegian warships were sunk after a short and uneven battle. The British Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 quickly dispatched several ships to Narvik, including the battleship HMS Warspite, and during the Battles of Narvik
Battles of Narvik
The Battles of Narvik were fought from 9 April-8 June 1940 as a naval battle in the Ofotfjord and as a land battle in the mountains surrounding the north Norwegian city of Narvik as part of the Norwegian Campaign of the Second World War....

, the British took control of the coast, destroying the German destroyers that had brought the invasion force to Narvik, as well as other German ships in the area. The German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau at Narvik sank the British aircraft carrier HMS Glorious
HMS Glorious (77)
HMS Glorious was the second of the cruisers built for the British Royal Navy during the First World War. Designed to support the Baltic Project championed by the First Sea Lord, Lord Fisher, they were very lightly armoured and armed with only a few heavy guns. Glorious was completed in late 1916...

 during the withdrawal from this battle.

On 12 April 1940, the first convoys of Allied soldiers were sent under Major-General Pierse Joseph Mackesy to Narvik. The Admiralty urged Mackesy to conduct an assault on Narvik from the sea as soon as possible. However, Mackesy believed that the German harbour defences were too strong for such an invasion to take place. The Admiralty argued that a naval bombardment of Norway would enable the troops to land safely, but General Mackesy refused to subject Norwegian citizens to such a bombardment, and instead he chose to land his troops near Narvik and wait until the snow melted to take over the city.

Coordinated by the Norwegian General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 Carl Gustav Fleischer
Carl Gustav Fleischer
Carl Gustav Fleischer KCB was a Norwegian general and the first land commander to win a major victory against the Germans in the Second World War...

, Norwegian, French, Polish, and British forces recaptured Narvik on 28 May 1940. This is also considered the first Allied infantry victory in World War II. However, by that time, the Allies were losing the Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 and the evacuation from Dunkirk
Operation Dynamo
The Dunkirk evacuation, commonly known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, code-named Operation Dynamo by the British, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 26 May and the early hours of 3 June 1940, because the British, French and Belgian troops were...

 was underway. Since the Nazi German invasion of France had made Scandinavia largely irrelevant, and since the valuable troops assigned to Narvik were badly needed elsewhere, the Allies withdrew from Narvik on 8 June 1940 in Operation Alphabet
Operation Alphabet
Operation Alphabet was an evacuation, authorized on May 24, 1940, of Allied troops from the harbour of Narvik in northern Norway marking the success of Nazi Germany's Operation Weserübung of April 9 and the end of the Allied campaign in Norway during World War II...

. Without support from the Allied naval task force, the Norwegians were outnumbered, and they had to lay down their arms in Norway on 10 June 1940. This was not a complete capitulation, since the Norwegians kept on fighting guerrilla operations inland.

Possession of the Ofotfjord
Ofotfjord
Ofotfjord or Narvik Fjord, an inlet of the Norwegian sea north of the Arctic circle, is Norway's 12th longest fjord, long, and the 18th deepest, with a maximum depth of . Along the shores of this fjord is the major town of Narvik...

 was also important to the German Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

 (navy) since it provided a refuge for warships like the pocket battleship Lützow
German pocket battleship Deutschland
Deutschland was the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. Ordered by the Weimar government for the Reichsmarine, she was laid down at the Deutsche Werke shipyard in Kiel in February 1929 and completed by April 1933...

 and the battleship Tirpitz
German battleship Tirpitz
Tirpitz was the second of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Imperial Navy, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and launched two and a half years later in April...

 outside the range of air attacks from Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

. Also, possibly U-boats were based at Narvik.

Geography


The municipality of Narvik covers large areas outside the town itself. Some of the other settlements in the municipality are Bjerkvik
Bjerkvik
Bjerkvik is a village in the municipality of Narvik, Norway. Its population is 1,220. Bjerkvik is located at the head of Herjangsfjorden, an arm of Ofotfjord in the northeastern corner of Nordland county. There is less than 20 km to the border with Troms...

 (located at the head of the Herjangsfjord
Herjangsfjord
Herjangsfjord, or Herjangen, is a fjord branch of the Ofotfjord in the municipality of Narvik in Nordland county, Norway. The fjord has a length of about 10 kilometres. Among the villages along the fjord are Bjerkvik and Herjangen....

), Håkvik
Håkvik
Håkvik is a village in the municipality of Narvik, Norway. Its population is 514....

, Beisfjord
Beisfjord
Beisfjord is a village approx. from the town of Narvik, Norway. It has about 800 inhabitants. The village is situated by Beisfjorden an arm of Ofotfjorden, and is served by Beisfjord Bridge....

, and Skjomen
Skjomen
Skjomen is a fjord branch of Ofotfjorden in the Ofoten district in northern Norway, located just south of the city Narvik. A sheltered valley named Skjomdalen goes from the head of the fjord....

. The eastern part, towards the border with Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, is dominated by mountains, and Storsteinfjellet reaches 1894 metres (6,213.9 ft). There are also valleys and lakes, such as Hartvikvatnet
Hartvikvatnet
Hartvikvatnet is a Norwegian lake that lies in Narvik municipality in Nordland....

. The city itself is situated near the innermost part of the deep Ofotfjord
Ofotfjord
Ofotfjord or Narvik Fjord, an inlet of the Norwegian sea north of the Arctic circle, is Norway's 12th longest fjord, long, and the 18th deepest, with a maximum depth of . Along the shores of this fjord is the major town of Narvik...

, but even here the mountains, going almost straight up from the blue fjord
Fjord
Geologically, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity.-Formation:A fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a U-shaped valley by abrasion of the surrounding bedrock. Glacial melting is accompanied by rebound of Earth's crust as the ice...

, reach as high as 1700 metres (5,577.4 ft) in Skjomen
Skjomen
Skjomen is a fjord branch of Ofotfjorden in the Ofoten district in northern Norway, located just south of the city Narvik. A sheltered valley named Skjomdalen goes from the head of the fjord....

, where the glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

 Frostisen
Frostisen
The glacier Frostisen is one of the larger plateau glaciers in Norway. Frostisen covers an area of about , and is above sea level at its highest point and above sea level at its lowest point. It lies near Skjomen, a fjord branch of Ofotfjorden in the Ofoten district in northern Norway, located...

 can be seen. Forests cover the lower parts of the mountains (below 500 meters), but near the summits, the snow
Snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...

 can stay most of the summer. Narvik has well prepared slopes for alpine skiing
Alpine skiing
Alpine skiing is the sport of sliding down snow-covered hills on skis with fixed-heel bindings. Alpine skiing can be contrasted with skiing using free-heel bindings: Ski mountaineering and nordic skiing – such as cross-country; ski jumping; and Telemark. In competitive alpine skiing races four...

, some of which end almost in the city centre.

Climate


Situated 220 kilometres (136.7 mi) inside the arctic circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

, Narvik is one of the most northerly towns in the world. However, the North Atlantic Current
North Atlantic Current
The North Atlantic Current is a powerful warm ocean current that continues the Gulf Stream northeast. West of Ireland it splits in two; one branch, the Canary Current, goes south, while the other continues north along the coast of northwestern Europe...

 (extension of the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

) gives Narvik a milder climate than one might expect for a town at this latitude
Latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

. In addition, the mountains surrounding the town give shelter from the strong winds typical for coastal areas. Mean annual temperature is 3.8 °C (39 °F), and the growing season
Growing season
In botany, horticulture, and agriculture the growing season is the period of each year when native plants and ornamental plants grow; and when crops can be grown....

 in the lowland is approximately 150 days, thus allowing inhabitants with an interest for gardening
Gardening
Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants. Ornamental plants are normally grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants are grown for consumption , for their dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use...

 to grow many imported plants.
Summer lasts from beginning of June until early September, with daytime temperatures ranging from 9 °C (48 °F) to 28 °C (82 °F), usually 12 to 20 °C (53.6 to 68 F). Record high and low in July is 31.5 °C (89 °F) (July 3, 1972, source:eklima/met.no) and 4 °C (39 °F). Record high and low in January is 11 °C (52 °F) and -20 C. The wettest month is October, with 110 millimetres (4.3 in) precipitation, the driest month is May with 40 millimetres (1.6 in), and the annual precipitation is 830 millimetres (32.7 in).

The light varies considerably in Narvik since the sun is below the horizon
Horizon
The horizon is the apparent line that separates earth from sky, the line that divides all visible directions into two categories: those that intersect the Earth's surface, and those that do not. At many locations, the true horizon is obscured by trees, buildings, mountains, etc., and the resulting...

 from late November until mid-January; when there is only a bluish light for a few hours around noon
Noon
Noon is usually defined as 12 o'clock in the daytime. The word noon is also used informally to mean midday regarding the location of the sun not the middle of a persons day. Although this is a time around the middle of the day when people in many countries take a lunch break...

. The mountains surrounding the town in reality extend this period from early November until the end of January. The light is often intense in March and April, with long daylight hours and snow cover since the snow melts in lowland areas in April, but stays in the mountains for several months. The "midnight sun
Midnight sun
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon occurring in summer months at latitudes north and nearby to the south of the Arctic Circle, and south and nearby to the north of the Antarctic Circle where the sun remains visible at the local midnight. Given fair weather, the sun is visible for a continuous...

" is above the horizon from May 25 to July 18, and the period with continuous daylight lasts a bit longer, from approximately May 10 to the end of July. There is also a transitional period with twilight in the night, so you will not be able to see any stars at night from the last days of April until approximately 10 August.

Economy


Narvik is a commercial centre for some of the neighbouring municipalities. Narvik University College
Narvik University College
Narvik University College is a state owned University College in the town of Narvik, Norway. It was established August 1 1994, and has approximately 1300 students and 170 employees....

 has approximately 1,200 students. There are some high-tech businesses in Narvik (among them Natech and Scancell).

Recreation and tourism



Narvik has access to numerous outdoor activities. This is the best known location in northern Norway when it comes to alpine skiing.


There are lifts, and several of the slopes are floodlit. There is also a cable car
Gondola lift
A gondola lift is a type of aerial lift, normally called a cable car, which is supported and propelled by cables from above. It consists of a loop of steel cable that is strung between two stations, sometimes over intermediate supporting towers. The cable is driven by a bullwheel in a terminal,...

 to Fagernesfjellet, with a stunning view and the possibility to walk even higher up in the mountains. A signed mountain bike route is also available. Narvik Winter Festival takes place in early March. Mountain hiking
Hiking
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking...

 is, understandably, very popular in this area, and the mountain area near the Swedish border has several accommodation possibilities. Wreck diving
Wreck diving
Wreck diving is a type of recreational diving where shipwrecks are explored. Although most wreck dive sites are at shipwrecks, there is an increasing trend to scuttle retired ships to create artificial reef sites...

 attracts divers to Narvik, as there are a lot of wrecks in or near the harbour, and more spread out in the fjord. Fishing in the fjord or in lakes and streams is a popular leisure activity. There are salmon
Salmon
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...

 rivers in Skjomen
Skjomen
Skjomen is a fjord branch of Ofotfjorden in the Ofoten district in northern Norway, located just south of the city Narvik. A sheltered valley named Skjomdalen goes from the head of the fjord....

, Beisfjord and Bjerkvik. The 18-hole Golf Course in Skjomen is situated in a very scenic landscape, and is one of the most northern in the world. Narvik was destroyed by the fighting in 1940 and hastily rebuilt, hence the architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 is rather functional, but private homes are often painted in bright colours.

There is an Occupation Museum about the years 1940-1945 which holds the Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

 awarded posthumously to Captain Bernard Warburton-Lee
Bernard Warburton-Lee
Captain Bernard Armitage Warburton Warburton-Lee VC was a Welsh recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.-Spanish Civil War:In 1936 due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil...

 of the British Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 in 1940 and a rare German Enigma coding machine
Enigma machine
An Enigma machine is any of a family of related electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines used for the encryption and decryption of secret messages. Enigma was invented by German engineer Arthur Scherbius at the end of World War I...

.

Transportation


A present and historical key to land transportation to Narvik is the railroad from northern Sweden across the mountains to this port town. Goods like iron ore shipped via this railroad make Narvik an important seaport.

The port of Narvik is ice-free and well protected from the weather. The port consists of three waterfront sections: LKAB
LKAB
LKAB is a Swedish mining company. The company mines iron ore at Kiruna and at Malmberget in northern Sweden. The company was established in 1890, and has been 100% state-owned since the 1950s...

 bulk port, central port area with piers and deep-water harbor at Fagernes with intermodal facilities. Approximately 16 million tonnes of cargo are annually shipped from the ports of Narvik. Most of this iron ore.

Port Authorities have initiated an expansion of the container area of approximately 45,000 m2, which is more than twice Norways largest terminal in Oslo today handles.
In 2005, the port of Narvik got status as Motorways of the Sea
Motorways of the Sea
Motorways of the Sea are a concept in the transport policy of the European Union, stressing the importance of sea transport. The main aim of these Motorways of the Sea is to improve port communications with peripheral regions of the European continent and thus strengthen the networks between the EU...

 in the EU-system. In Norway, Oslo is the only city which have this status in addition to Narvik.

Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten or Hurtigruta is a Norwegian passenger and freight line with daily sailings along Norway's western and northern coast. Sometimes referred to in English as Norwegian Coastal Express, Hurtigruten ships sail almost the entire length of the country, completing the roundtrip journey in 11...

 or "Hurtigruta" (literally "Express Route", but sometimes referred to as "Norwegian Coastal Express" in English) is headquartered in Narvik. However, Hurtigruten do not have any regular sailings to Narvik.

Because of the extreme terrain there, there are no railroads northwards from Narvik or south to Bodø
Bodø
is a city and a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Salten region.The city of Bodø was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 . Bodin was merged with Bodø on 1 January 1968. Skjerstad was merged with Bodø on 1 January 2005...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, which is at the northern end of the rest of Norway's railroad network. However, it is possible to reach Narvik by way of an approximately twenty-hour 1540 kilometres (957 mi) train ride through the Swedish rail system from Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

.

The activity related to the railway and large port facilities are still important in Narvik, and goods to and from North Norway, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 are often distributed via Narvik. In the proposed project called the "Northern East West Freight Corridor
Northern East West Freight Corridor
The Northern East West Freight Corridor, usually referred to as the N.E.W. Corridor, is a project organized by the International Union of Railways UIC and Transportutvikling AS to connect the east coast of the United States to East Asia by train and ship....

" portion of the Eurasian Land Bridge
Eurasian Land Bridge
The Eurasian Land Bridge, sometimes called the New Silk Road, is a term used to describe the rail transport route for moving freight and passengers overland from Pacific seaports in Siberia and China to seaports in Europe...

, there are plans for using Narvik as a port for goods from East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

 bound for eastern North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. The reason is that the railroad and ocean distances for these are shorter than though central Europe to Western European ports.

European route E6
European route E6
European route E 6 is the designation for the main north-south road in Norway, and the west coast of Sweden, running from the southern tip of Sweden, at Trelleborg, into Norway and through almost all of the country north to Finnmark. The route ends close to the Norwegian border with Russia...

 crosses through the municipality using three bridges: Skjomen Bridge
Skjomen Bridge
Skjomen Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses the fjord Skjomen near the town of Narvik in Nordland county, Norway. The bridge is 711 metres long, the main span is 525 metres, and the maximum clearance to the sea is 35 metres. The bridge has nine spans....

, Beisfjord Bridge
Beisfjord Bridge
Beisfjord Bridge is a bridge that crosses Beisfjorden near the town of Narvik in Nordland county in Norway. The bridge is 375 metres long. Ankenes, a residential area of Narvik, is on the southern side of Beisfjorden, while the town center and the majority of the population is on the northern...

, and Rombak Bridge
Rombak Bridge
Rombak Bridge is a suspension bridge, opened in 1964, that crosses the fjord Rombaken near the town of Narvik in Nordland county in Norway. The bridge is 765 metres long, the main span is 325 metres, and the maximum clearance to the sea is 41 metres.The bridge has a weight limit of 90 tons...

. Narvik is served by two airport
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

s: the small Narvik Airport, Framnes
Narvik Airport, Framnes
Narvik Airport, Framnes is a regional airport serving the city of Narvik in Nordland, Norway. The airport is a secondary airport with only short regional flights, while the primary Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes has long-distance jet services. Framnes is significantly closer to Narvik than...

 just outside the city centre has a short runway and is served by De Havilland DHC-8 100 aircrafts with regular flights to Bodø
Bodø
is a city and a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Salten region.The city of Bodø was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 . Bodin was merged with Bodø on 1 January 1968. Skjerstad was merged with Bodø on 1 January 2005...

. The larger and more capable Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes
Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes
Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes is located in the Evenes municipality, in Nordland county in northern Norway. Some of the runway lighting at the north end of the runway crosses the county border into the Skånland municipality in Troms...

 is 80 kilometres (50 mi) by road from Narvik and have regular flights to Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

, Trondheim
Trondheim
Trondheim , historically, Nidaros and Trondhjem, is a city and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. With a population of 173,486, it is the third most populous municipality and city in the country, although the fourth largest metropolitan area. It is the administrative centre of...

, Bodø
Bodø
is a city and a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Salten region.The city of Bodø was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 . Bodin was merged with Bodø on 1 January 1968. Skjerstad was merged with Bodø on 1 January 2005...

 and Tromsø
Tromsø
Tromsø is a city and municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tromsø.Tromsø city is the ninth largest urban area in Norway by population, and the seventh largest city in Norway by population...

.

There are highway connections from Narvik across the mountains eastwards to Abisko
Abisko
Abisko is a village in northern Sweden, near the Abisko National Park located 4 km west of the village. It had 85 inhabitants as of 2005.-Transportation:...

 and Kiruna
Kiruna
Kiruna is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is the seat of Kiruna Municipality Kiruna (Northern Sami: Giron, Finnish: Kiiruna) is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 (via European route E10
European route E10
European route E 10 is a road part of the International E-road network. It begins in Å, Norway and ends in Luleå, Sweden. The road is about 850 km in length...

).

Sister cities


Narvik is twinned with:
Kikinda
Kikinda
Kikinda is a town and a municipality located in Serbia, in the autonomous province of Vojvodina. It is the administrative centre of the North Banat District. The town has 42,000 inhabitants, while the municipality has approximately 67,000 inhabitants.The modern city was founded in 18th century...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 Kiruna
Kiruna
Kiruna is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is the seat of Kiruna Municipality Kiruna (Northern Sami: Giron, Finnish: Kiiruna) is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005. It is...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi is a city and municipality of Finland. It is the administrative capital and commercial centre of Finland's northernmost province, Lapland. It is situated close to the Arctic Circle and is between the hills of Ounasvaara and Korkalovaara, at the confluence of the Kemijoki River and its...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 Nowy Sącz
Nowy Sacz
Nowy Sącz is a town in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship in southern Poland. It is the district capital of Nowy Sącz County, but is not included within the powiat.-Names:...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 Kingisepp
Kingisepp
Kingisepp , formerly Yamburg , Yam , and Yama , is an ancient town and the administrative center of Kingiseppsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located along the Luga Riverw west of St. Petersburg, east of Narva, and south of the Gulf of Finland...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...


External links