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Encyclopedia
or Romsa is a 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...

 in North Norway, bordering Finnmark
Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

 to the northeast and 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...

 in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län 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....

 and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in 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...

. To the west is the Norwegian Sea
Norwegian Sea
The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. It is located between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea and adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a...

 (Atlantic ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

). The entire county, which was established in 1866, is located north of 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....

.

Name



Until 1919 the county was formerly known as Tromsø amt. On 1 July 2006, the Northern Sami name for the county, Romsa, was granted official status along with Troms.

The county (and the city of 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...

) is named after the island Tromsøya
Tromsøya
Tromsøya is a small island in the strait between the mainland and Kvaløya island in Tromsø municipality, Troms county, Norway. It contains the city centre and several residential areas of the city of Tromsø and has given the city its name. The island's area is roughly and has a population of...

 on which it is located (Old Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

 Trums). Several theories exist as to the etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 of Troms. One theory holds "Troms-" to derive from the old (uncompounded) name of the island (Old Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

: Trums). Several islands and rivers in Norway have the name Tromsa, and the names of these are probably derived from the word straumr which means "(strong) stream". (The original form must then have been Strums, for the missing s see Indo-European s-mobile
Indo-European s-mobile
In Indo-European studies, the term s-mobile designates the phenomenon where a PIE root begins with an which is sometimes but not always present...

.) Another theory holds that Tromsøya was originally called Lille Tromsøya (Little Tromsøya), because of its proximity to the much bigger island today called Kvaløya
Kvaløya
- External links :****...

, that according to this theory was earlier called "Store Tromsøya" due to a characteristic mountain known as Tromma (the Drum). The mountain's name in Sámi
Sami languages
Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami...

, Rumbbučohkka, is identical in meaning, and it is said to have been a sacred mountain for the Sámi in pre-Christian times.

The Sámi name of the island, Romsa, is assumed to be a loan from Norse - but according to the phonetical rules of the Sami language the frontal t has disappeared from the name. However, an alternative form - Tromsa - is in informal use. There is a theory that holds the Norwegian name of Tromsø derives from the Sámi name, though this theory lacks an explanation for the meaning of Romsa. A common misunderstanding is that Tromsø's Sámi name is Romssa with a double "s". This, however, is the accusative and genitive form of the noun used when, for example, writing "Tromsø Municipality" (Romssa Suohkan).

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...

 of Troms was made by Hallvard Trætteberg (1898–1987), and adopted by royal resolution on 15 January 1960. The official blazon
Blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...

 in Norwegian ("På rød bunn en gull griff") translates to "On a field Gules a griffin
Griffin
The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle...

 [segreant] Or
Or (heraldry)
In heraldry, Or is the tincture of gold and, together with argent , belongs to the class of light tinctures called "metals". In engravings and line drawings, it may be represented using a field of evenly spaced dots...

." Trætteberg chose to have the griffin as charge
Charge (heraldry)
In heraldry, a charge is any emblem or device occupying the field of an escutcheon . This may be a geometric design or a symbolic representation of a person, animal, plant, object or other device...

 because that animal was the symbol of the mighty clan
Norse clans
The Scandinavian clan or ætt was a social group based on common descent or on the formal acceptance into the group at a þing.-History:...

 of Bjarne Erlingsson on Bjarkøy
Bjarkøy
Bjarkøy is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Bjarkøy. The municipality is spread across several smaller islands, the biggest being the northern side of Grytøya...

 in the 13th century.

Geography


Troms is located in the northern part of the Scandinavian peninsula
Scandinavian Peninsula
The Scandinavian Peninsula is a peninsula in Northern Europe, which today covers Norway, Sweden, and most of northern Finland. Prior to the 17th and 18th centuries, large parts of the southern peninsula—including the core region of Scania from which the peninsula takes its name—were part of...

. Due to the long distance to the more densely populated areas of the continent, this is one of the least polluted
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 areas of Europe. Troms has a very rugged and indented coastline facing the Norwegian Sea
Norwegian Sea
The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. It is located between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea and adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a...

. However, the large and mountainous island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

s along the coast provide an excellent sheltered waterway
Waterway
A waterway is any navigable body of water. Waterways can include rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, and canals. In order for a waterway to be navigable, it must meet several criteria:...

 on the inside. Starting in the south, the largest islands are: northeastern part of Hinnøya
Hinnøya
-Geography and environment:Covering an area of , it is the fourth-largest island in the country, and the largest off the mainland. The western part of the island is in the Vesterålen district, while the southwestern part is in Lofoten. As of 2006, it had a population of 31,851, of which the only...

 (the southern part is in Nordland), Grytøya
Grytøya
Grytøya is an island situated just north of Hinnøya and south of Bjarkøya in Northern Norway. It belongs to the municipalities of Harstad and Bjarkøy in Troms county, Norway. It is surrounded by the Vågsfjorden and the Andsfjorden. The island has an area of , and the highest peak is Nona at ...

, Senja
Senja
Senja is the second largest island in Norway . It is located along the Troms county coastline with Finnsnes as the closest town. Senja is connected to the mainland by the Gisund Bridge. The municipalities located on Senja are Lenvik , Berg, Torsken, and Tranøy...

, Kvaløya, Ringvassøya, Reinøy, Vannøy and Arnøy. Some of these islands, most noteworthy Senja, have a rugged outer coast with steep mountains, and a more calm eastern shore. There are several large 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...

s that stretch quite far inland. Starting in the south, the largest fjords are Vågsfjord, Andfjord (shared with Nordland), Malangen
Malangen
Malangen is a fjord and a former municipality in Troms county in Norway. The fjord is located between the islands of Kvaløya and Senja and the area today is divided between the municipalities of Balsfjord, Lenvik, Tromsø, and Målselv...

, Balsfjord
Balsfjord
Balsfjord is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Storsteinnes, while Nordkjosbotn at the head of the fjord is another village....

, Ullsfjord
Ullsfjord
Ullsfjord is a former municipality in Troms county in Norway. It is located in the eastern part of the present-day municipality of Tromsø and also the southwestern part of Lyngen. It is also the name of a fjord east of Tromsø and west of Lyngen.-Name:...

, Lyngen
Lyngen
Lyngen is a municipality and a fjord in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Lyngseidet.- General information :...

 (the municipality has its name from the fjord) and Kvænangen
Kvænangen
Kvænangen is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Burfjord. The European route E6 highway goes through the municipality and over the Sørstraumen Bridge, and most people stop at the mountain pass of Kvænangsfjellet to view the...

 (fjord). The largest lake is Altevatnet
Altevatnet
Altevatnet is Norway’s 11th largest lake, with a surface of up to 80 km². The lake is approximately 35 km long and on average some 2 km wide. It is located in Bardu municipality, and is the largest lake in Troms county. The lake is regulated. The surface lies 489 m above sea level...

 in the interior of the county.

There are mountains in all parts of Troms; the most alpine and striking are probably the Lyngen Alps
Lyngen Alps
The Lyngen Alps is a mountain range in northeastern Troms, North Norway, east of Tromsø, mostly in the municipalities of Lyngen and Balsfjord. The mountains follow the western shore of the Lyngen Fjord in a north-south direction...

 (Lyngsalpene), with several small 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...

s and the highest mountain in the county, Jiekkevarre with a height of 1833 m (6,013.8 ft). Several glaciers are located in Kvænangen
Kvænangen
Kvænangen is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Burfjord. The European route E6 highway goes through the municipality and over the Sørstraumen Bridge, and most people stop at the mountain pass of Kvænangsfjellet to view the...

, including parts of the Øksfjordjøkelen
Øksfjordjøkelen
Øksfjordjøkelen is the ninth largest glacier in mainland Norway.The highest point, elevation , on the glacier is also the highest point in Finnmark county. Its lowest point has an elevation of . The village of Alteidet in Kvænangen is located nearby, along the European route E6....

, the last glacier in mainland Norway to drop icebergs directly into the sea (in Jøkelfjord). The largest river in Troms (waterflow) is Målselva
Målselva
The Målselva river in Troms county, Norway has given name to Målselv municipality and the Målselvdalen valley. The river empties into the in Målselvfjorden, an arm of the Malangen fjord, north of Olsborg. The rivers Divielva, Tamokelva, and Rostaelva converge near the Lille Rostavatn lake to form...

 (in Målselv
Målselv
Målselv is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Moen. Some other villages include Andslimoen, Bardufoss, Alappmoen, Holmen, Fossmoen, and Heggelia...

), and the largest (not the highest) waterfall is Målselvfossen at 600 m (1,968.5 ft) long and 20 m (65.6 ft) high. Marble is present in parts of Troms, and thus numerous cave
Cave
A cave or cavern is a natural underground space large enough for a human to enter. The term applies to natural cavities some part of which is in total darkness. The word cave also includes smaller spaces like rock shelters, sea caves, and grottos.Speleology is the science of exploration and study...

s, as in Salangen
Salangen
Salangen is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Sjøvegan, where most of the people in the municipality live. The municipality is situated along the Sagfjord, and also includes some inland valleys...

 and Skånland
Skånland
Skånland is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Evenskjer.- General information :...

.

Climate



Located at a latitude of nearly 70°N, Troms has short, cool summers, but fairly mild winters along the coast due to the temperate sea; Torsvåg lighthouse in Karlsøy
Karlsøy
Karlsøy is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Hansnes. Karlsøy is also the name of a village on Karlsøya island in the municipality of Karlsøy. The village of Karlsøy had a population of 70.- General information :Karlsøy was...

 has January 24-hr average of -1 C. Tromsø averages -4 C in January with a daily high of -2 C, while July averages 12 °C (53.6 °F) with high of 15 °C (59 °F). Temperatures are typically below freezing for about 5 months (8 months in the mountains), from early November to the beginning of April, but coastal areas are moderated by the sea: with more than 130 years of official weather recordings, the coldest winter temperature ever recorded in Tromsø is -20.1 C in February 1985. Thaws can occur even in mid-winter. There is often snow in abundance, and avalanche
Avalanche
An avalanche is a sudden rapid flow of snow down a slope, occurring when either natural triggers or human activity causes a critical escalating transition from the slow equilibrium evolution of the snow pack. Typically occurring in mountainous terrain, an avalanche can mix air and water with the...

s are not uncommon in winter. With the prevailing westerlies, lowland areas east of mountain ranges have less precipitation than areas west of the mountains.

Skibotn
Skibotn
Skibotn is a village with approximately 700 inhabitants in Storfjord municipality, located on the southeastern shore of the Lyngen Fjord in the Northern Norwegian county of Troms. The village area is located at the crossroads of the highways E6 and E8...

 (elevation: 46 m (150.9 ft)) in Storfjord
Storfjord
Storfjord is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Hatteng.- General information :...

 is the location in Norway which has recorded the most days per year with clear skies (no clouds). Winter temperatures in Målselv and 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...

 can get down to -35 C, while summer days can reach 30 °C (86 °F) in inland valleys and the innermost fjord areas, but 15 to 22 °C (59 to 71.6 F) is much more common. Along the outer seaboard, a summer day at 15 °C (59 °F) is considered fairly warm.

Light


The aurora borealis is a common sight in the whole of Troms, but not in summer as there is no darkness. As with all areas in the polar latitudes, there are extreme variations in daylight between the seasons. As a consequence of this, the length of daylight increases (late winter and spring) or decreases (autumn) with 10 minutes from one day to the next.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Tromsø sunrise & sunset, 15. of the month 11:31 - 12:17 08:16 - 15:43 06:07 - 17:41 04:43 - 20:48 01:43 - 23:48 Midnight sun Midnight sun 03:44 - 21:50 05:56 - 19:20 07:54 - 17:04 09:25 - 13:32 Polar night
Source: Almanakk for Norge; University of Oslo, 2010. Note: The sun is below the horizon until 15.January in Tromsø, but the low sun is blocked by mountains and not visible until 21. January.

Nature



Elk
Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

, red fox
Red Fox
The red fox is the largest of the true foxes, as well as being the most geographically spread member of the Carnivora, being distributed across the entire northern hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, Central America, and the steppes of Asia...

, hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

, stoat
Stoat
The stoat , also known as the ermine or short-tailed weasel, is a species of Mustelid native to Eurasia and North America, distinguished from the least weasel by its larger size and longer tail with a prominent black tip...

 and small rodent
Rodent
Rodentia is an order of mammals also known as rodents, characterised by two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing....

s are common in all Troms, and brown bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

s are sighted in the interior in the summer. Other animals are reindeer
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

 (interior mountain areas, with sami
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

 owners), wolverine
Wolverine
The wolverine, pronounced , Gulo gulo , also referred to as glutton, carcajou, skunk bear, or quickhatch, is the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae . It is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids...

 (interior mountain areas) otter
Otter
The Otters are twelve species of semi-aquatic mammals which feed on fish and shellfish, and also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals....

 (along the coast and rivers), lynx
Lynx
A lynx is any of the four Lynx genus species of medium-sized wildcats. The name "lynx" originated in Middle English via Latin from Greek word "λύγξ", derived from the Indo-European root "*leuk-", meaning "light, brightness", in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes...

 (in the forests), and harbour porpoise
Harbour Porpoise
The harbour porpoise is one of six species of porpoise. It is one of the smallest marine mammals. As its name implies, it stays close to coastal areas or river estuaries, and as such, is the most familiar porpoise to whale watchers. This porpoise often ventures up rivers, and has been seen...

 in the fjords. Some of the common birds are ptarmigan, sea eagles, seagulls and cormorant
Cormorant
The bird family Phalacrocoracidae is represented by some 40 species of cormorants and shags. Several different classifications of the family have been proposed recently, and the number of genera is disputed.- Names :...

s (coast).

The sheltered valleys in the interior of Troms have the highest tree line (summer warmth and length is the limiting factor), with Downy birch
Downy Birch
Betula pubescens is a species of birch, native and abundant throughout northern Europe, Iceland, northern Asia and also Greenland....

 reaching an elevation of 700 m (2,296.6 ft) on the southern slope of Njunis
Njunis
Njunis is a mountain in the interior of southern Troms county, in Målselv municipality. With a peak at , it is the highest mountain in this part of the county, and has Norway's thirteenth largest prominence. The tree line reaches to elevation on the southern slope of the mountain, the highest...

; in all Troms birch forms the tree line, often 200 m above other trees. Rowan
Rowan
The rowans or mountain-ashes are shrubs or small trees in genus Sorbus of family Rosaceae. They are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest species diversity in the mountains of western China and the Himalaya, where numerous apomictic microspecies...

, aspen
Aspen
Populus section Populus, of the Populus genus, includes the aspen trees and the white poplar Populus alba. The five typical aspens are all native to cold regions with cool summers, in the north of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south at high altitudes in the mountains. The White Poplar, by...

, willow
Willow
Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere...

, grey alder
Grey Alder
Alnus incana is a species of alder with a wide range across the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere....

, and bird cherry
Bird cherry
The bird cherries are a subgenus of the genus Prunus, characterised by having deciduous leaves, flowers 12-30 together on slender racemes produced in late spring well after leaf emergence, and small, sour fruit usually only palatable to birds, hence the name...

 are common in the lower elevations.

Scots Pine
Scots Pine
Pinus sylvestris, commonly known as the Scots Pine, is a species of pine native to Europe and Asia, ranging from Scotland, Ireland and Portugal in the west, east to eastern Siberia, south to the Caucasus Mountains, and as far north as well inside the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia...

 reaches an elevation of almost 400 m (1,312.3 ft) in Dividalen, where some of the largest trees are 500 years old. The upper part of the valley is protected by Øvre Dividal National Park
Øvre Dividal National Park
Øvre Dividal National Park lies in Målselv in Troms county, Norway. The park was opened in 1971 and has an area of . The original intention was to preserve a very little disturbed inland valley and mountain area. The hiking trail Nordkalottruta passes through the national park.-Name:The first...

, which was enlarged in 2006. In 2011, the Rohkunborri National Park
Rohkunborri National Park
Rohkunborri National Park was established in 2011. The park consists of a protected area, and is located inland in Bardu municipality in Troms, northeast of Narvik. Rohkunborri borders on the Swedish Vadvetjohka National Park and is only a few kilometers south of Øvre Dividal National Park...

 (571 km2) was established in Bardu municipality, bordering Sweden and only a few kilometers south of Øvre Dividal NP.

The inland valleys, like Østerdalen (with Altevatnet), Kirkesdalen, Dividalen, Rostadalen, Signaldalen and Skibotndalen, are perfect for summer 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...

, with their varied nature, mostly dry climate and not too difficult terrain, although there are many accessible mountains for energetic hikers.

Reisadalen is one of the most idyllic river valleys in Norway; from Storslett
Storslett
Storslett is a village and the administrative centre of the municipality of Nordreisa in Troms county, Norway. Its population is 1,583. The village is located at the southern end of the Reisafjorden along the mouth of the Reisaelva ....

 in Nordreisa
Nordreisa
Nordreisa is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Storslett.The municipality consists of the valley of Reisadalen, with the Reisa river and deep pine forests, surrounded by mountains and high plateaus. Most people live in...

 the valley stretches south-southeast, covered with birch, pine, grey alder
Grey Alder
Alnus incana is a species of alder with a wide range across the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere....

, and willow. The northern part of the valley is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide, with 1200 m high mountains on both sides; the southern part of the valley narrows to a few hundred metres (canyon), with increasingly dry climate. The valley floor is fairly flat with little height difference for 70 km (43.5 mi) (to Bilto); the Reisa river can be navigated by canoe or river boat for much of this distance. The salmon swim 90 km (55.9 mi) up the river, and some 137 different species of birds have been observed. Several rivers cascade down into the valley; the Mollisfossen waterfall is 269 m (882.5 ft). The valley ends 120 km (74.6 mi) southeast of Storslett, as the vast and more barren Finnmarksvidda plateau takes over. Reisa National Park
Reisa National Park
Reisa National Park is a national park in Nordreisa municipality, Troms county, Norway that was established by royal decree on 28 November 1986. The park is full of wildlife such as the wolverine and Brown Bear....

 protects the upper part of the valley.

Economy




The city of 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...

, in the north central part, is the county seat and an Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 seaport, and seat of the world's northernmost university, renowned for research about the aurora borealis. The University of Tromsø has an astrophysical observatory located in Skibotn (). Tromsø is the only municipality with a strong population growth; most of the smaller municipalities experience decreasing populations as the young and educated move to the cities, often in the southern part of Norway. Harstad
Harstad
is the second largest city and municipality by population, in Troms county, Norway – the city is also the third largest in North Norway. Thus Harstad is the natural centre for its district. Situated approximately north of the Arctic Circle, the city celebrated its 100th anniversary in...

 is a commercial centre for the southern part of the county.
Along the coast and on the islands, fishing is dominant. Important ports for the fishing fleet are Skjervøy
Skjervøy
Skjervøy is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Skjervøy on the island of Skjervøya, where most of the inhabitants live. The main industries are fishing and ship building....

, Tromsø and Harstad. There is also some agriculture, especially in the southern part, which has a longer 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....

 (150 days in Harstad). Balsfjord
Balsfjord
Balsfjord is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Storsteinnes, while Nordkjosbotn at the head of the fjord is another village....

 is often regarded to be the most northern municipality with substantial agricultural activity in Norway, although there is also agriculture further north.

The Norwegian armed forces is a vital employer in Troms, having the seat of the 6th army division, Bardufoss Air Station
Bardufoss Air Station
Bardufoss Air Station is located in the municipality of Målselv in Troms county in Northern Norway. It is the location for the 139th Air Wing and two helicopter squadrons; the 337 Squadron operating Lynx MK 86 for the Norwegian Coast Guard and the 339 Squadron equipped with Bell 412SPs...

, helicopter wings and radar stations in the county. There are hospitals in Tromsø (university hospital and main hospital for North Norway) and Harstad.

The busiest airport is Tromsø Airport. The southern part of Troms is served by 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...

. The 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...

 cuts through the county from Nordland into 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 the south to Kvænangen
Kvænangen
Kvænangen is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Burfjord. The European route E6 highway goes through the municipality and over the Sørstraumen Bridge, and most people stop at the mountain pass of Kvænangsfjellet to view the...

 in the north and then into Finnmark. The E8
European route E8
The European route E 8 is a European route that goes from Tromsø, Norway to Turku, Finland. The length of the route is .* E 8: Tromsø – Nordkjosbotn – Skibotn – Kilpisjärvi – Kaaresuvanto – Muonio – Tornio – Keminmaa – Kemi – Oulu – Liminka – Raahe – Kalajoki – Kokkola – Vaasa – Pori –...

 road runs from Tromsø to Finland via Nordkjosbotn
Nordkjosbotn
Nordkjosbotn is a small village in the municipality of Balsfjord in Troms county, Norway about southeast of the city of Tromsø. Its population is 378...

 and the Skibotn valley. There are several large bridges; some of the largest are Tjeldsund Bridge
Tjeldsund Bridge
The Tjeldsund Bridge is a suspension road bridge that crosses Tjeldsundet between the mainland and Hinnøya in Troms county in Norway. The bridge is 1007 metres long, the main span is 290 metres, and the maximum clearance to the sea is 41 metres...

, Mjøsund Bridge
Mjøsund Bridge
Mjøsund Bridge is a cantilever bridge in Ibestad and Salangen municipalities in Troms county, Norway. It crosses the Mjøsundet between the mainland and the island of Andørja.The bridge is long. Mjøsund Bridge was opened in 1994. It cost ....

, Gisund Bridge
Gisund Bridge
Gisund Bridge is a cantilever road bridge that crosses Gisundet from Finnsnes on the mainland to Silsand on Senja in Troms county in Norway. The bridge is 1147 metres long, the main span is 143 metres, and the maximum clearance to the sea is 41 metres...

, Tromsø Bridge
Tromsø Bridge
The Tromsø Bridge is a cantilever road bridge in the city of Tromsø, Norway. It crosses the strait of Tromsøysundet between Tromsdalen on the mainland and Tromsøya. Construction began in 1958, and the bridge was opened in 1960. At the time of its opening, it was the longest bridge in Northern...

 and Sandnessund Bridge
Sandnessund Bridge
Sandnessund Bridge is a cantilever road bridge that crosses Sandnessundet between Tromsøya and Kvaløya in Tromsø, Troms county, Norway. It is one of two bridges that connect Tromsøya with its surroundings...

. There are several undersea road tunnels; Rolla to Andørja (in Ibestad
Ibestad
Ibestad 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 Hamnvik. Some of the larger villages in Ibestad include Sørvika, Å, and Laupstad....

), Tromsøya to the mainland (Tromsø), Kvaløya to Ringvassøya and Skjervøy to the mainland.

The government of Finland has expressed interest in building a railway from the Finnish rail network to port facilities at Skibotn
Skibotn
Skibotn is a village with approximately 700 inhabitants in Storfjord municipality, located on the southeastern shore of the Lyngen Fjord in the Northern Norwegian county of Troms. The village area is located at the crossroads of the highways E6 and E8...

.

History



Troms has been settled since the early 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...

, and there are prehistoric rock carvings at several locations (for instance Ibestad
Ibestad
Ibestad 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 Hamnvik. Some of the larger villages in Ibestad include Sørvika, Å, and Laupstad....

 and Balsfjord
Balsfjord
Balsfjord is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Storsteinnes, while Nordkjosbotn at the head of the fjord is another village....

). These people made their living from hunting, fishing and gathering.
The first of the current ethnic groups to settle in the county were the Sami people
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

, who inhabited Sapmi
Sapmi
Sapmi can refer to:* Nation of the Sami people* Sápmi , the area where the Sami people live in northern Europe* A Sami cultural park located in Kárášjohka...

 an area much larger than today's 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...

, Troms and Finnmark
Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

 counties. Archeological evidence has shown that a Norse
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

 iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

-based culture in the late Roman Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 (200 - 400 AD), reaches as far north as Karlsøy
Karlsøy
Karlsøy is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Hansnes. Karlsøy is also the name of a village on Karlsøya island in the municipality of Karlsøy. The village of Karlsøy had a population of 70.- General information :Karlsøy was...

 (near today's Tromsø), but not further northeast.

The Norse with their iron and agriculture settled along the coast and in some of the larger fjords, while the Sami
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

 lived in the same fjord areas, usually just into the fjord and in the interior. From the 10th century, Norse settlements start to appear along the coast further north, reaching into what is today the county of Finnmark.

Southern and mid-Troms was a petty kingdom
Petty kingdom
A petty kingdom is one of a number of small kingdoms, described as minor or "petty" by contrast to an empire or unified kingdom that either preceded or succeeded it...

 in the Viking age
Viking Age
Viking Age is the term for the period in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, spanning the late 8th to 11th centuries. Scandinavian Vikings explored Europe by its oceans and rivers through trade and warfare. The Vikings also reached Iceland, Greenland,...

, and considered part of Hålogaland
Hålogaland
Hålogaland was the northernmost of the Norwegian provinces in the mediaeval Norse sagas. In the early Viking Age, before Harald Fairhair, Hålogaland was a petty kingdom extending between Namdalen in Nord-Trøndelag and Lyngen in Troms.-Etymology:...

. Ottar from Hålogaland
Ottar from Hålogaland
Ohthere of Hålogaland was a Viking adventurer from Hålogaland. Around 890 AD he travelled to England, where Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, had his tales written down....

 met King Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great was King of Wessex from 871 to 899.Alfred is noted for his defence of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of southern England against the Vikings, becoming the only English monarch still to be accorded the epithet "the Great". Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself...

 around 890. The Viking leader Tore Hund
Tore Hund
right|thumb|Tore HundTore Hund was one of the greatest chiefs in Hålogaland. Tore Hund was one of the leaders of the Stiklestad peasant faction opposing Norwegian King Olaf II of Norway. Tore was reported to have been among the chieftains who killed Norway's Patron Saint in the Battle of...

 had his seat at Bjarkøy
Bjarkøy
Bjarkøy is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Bjarkøy. The municipality is spread across several smaller islands, the biggest being the northern side of Grytøya...

. According to the sagas
Norse saga
The sagas are stories about ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history, about early Viking voyages, the battles that took place during the voyages, about migration to Iceland and of feuds between Icelandic families...

, Tore Hund speared King Olav Haraldsson at the Battle of Stiklestad
Battle of Stiklestad
The Battle of Stiklestad in 1030 is one of the most famous battles in the history of Norway. In this battle, King Olaf II of Norway was killed. He was later canonized...

. He also traded and fought in Bjarmaland
Bjarmaland
Bjarmaland was a territory mentioned in Norse sagas up to the Viking Age and - beyond - in geographical accounts until the 16th century. The term is usually seen to have referred to the southern shores of the White Sea and the basin of the Northern Dvina River and - presumably - some of the...

, today the area of Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk , formerly known as Archangel in English, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina River near its exit into the White Sea in the north of European Russia. The city spreads for over along the banks of the river...

 in northern 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...

 . Trondenes
Trondenes
Trondenes is a parish and a former municipality in Troms county in Norway. It is located along the Vågsfjorden in the present-day municipality of Harstad. Trondenes includes the majority of the island of Grytøya and part of the island of Hinnøya as well as some smaller islands...

 (today's Harstad) was also a central Viking power centre, and seems to have been a gathering place.

Demographics


The Kven residents of Troms are largely descendants of Finnish
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...

 immigrants who arrived in the area before the 19th century from 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...

 because of war and famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

. They settled mainly in the northeastern part of Troms, in the municipalities of Kvænangen
Kvænangen
Kvænangen is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Burfjord. The European route E6 highway goes through the municipality and over the Sørstraumen Bridge, and most people stop at the mountain pass of Kvænangsfjellet to view the...

, Nordreisa
Nordreisa
Nordreisa is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Storslett.The municipality consists of the valley of Reisadalen, with the Reisa river and deep pine forests, surrounded by mountains and high plateaus. Most people live in...

, Skjervøy
Skjervøy
Skjervøy is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Skjervøy on the island of Skjervøya, where most of the inhabitants live. The main industries are fishing and ship building....

, Gáivuotna - Kåfjord and Storfjord
Storfjord
Storfjord is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Hatteng.- General information :...

, and some also reached Balsfjord
Balsfjord
Balsfjord is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Storsteinnes, while Nordkjosbotn at the head of the fjord is another village....

 and Lyngen
Lyngen
Lyngen is a municipality and a fjord in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Lyngseidet.- General information :...

.

Municipalities



Troms county currently has a total of 25 municipalities:
Municipalities of Troms
Key

  1. Balsfjord
    Balsfjord
    Balsfjord is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Storsteinnes, while Nordkjosbotn at the head of the fjord is another village....


  2. 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...


  3. Berg
    Berg, Norway
    Berg is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Skaland. The municipality faces the Atlantic Ocean on the west side of the island of Senja. The largest urban area in Berg is the village of Senjahopen...


  4. Bjarkøy
    Bjarkøy
    Bjarkøy is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Bjarkøy. The municipality is spread across several smaller islands, the biggest being the northern side of Grytøya...


  5. Dyrøy
    Dyrøy
    Dyrøy is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Brøstadbotn. The municipality is named after the island of Dyrøya, which is connected with the mainland with the modern Dyrøy Bridge...


  6. 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...


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


  8. Ibestad
    Ibestad
    Ibestad 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 Hamnvik. Some of the larger villages in Ibestad include Sørvika, Å, and Laupstad....


  9. Gáivuotna - Kåfjord
  10. Karlsøy
    Karlsøy
    Karlsøy is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Hansnes. Karlsøy is also the name of a village on Karlsøya island in the municipality of Karlsøy. The village of Karlsøy had a population of 70.- General information :Karlsøy was...


  11. Kvæfjord
    Kvæfjord
    Kvæfjord 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 Borkenes....


  12. Kvænangen
    Kvænangen
    Kvænangen is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Burfjord. The European route E6 highway goes through the municipality and over the Sørstraumen Bridge, and most people stop at the mountain pass of Kvænangsfjellet to view the...


  13. Lavangen
    Lavangen
    Lavangen is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Tennevoll. The municipality is situated around the area of the river Spansdalelva og Lavangen fjord...


  1. Lenvik
    Lenvik
    Lenvik is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The municipality is partly situated on the mainland, partly on the island of Senja. The administrative center is the town of Finnsnes, where the Gisund Bridge connects Senja to the mainland by road. Other settlements include Aglapsvik, Gibostad,...


  2. Lyngen
    Lyngen
    Lyngen is a municipality and a fjord in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Lyngseidet.- General information :...


  3. Målselv
    Målselv
    Målselv is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Moen. Some other villages include Andslimoen, Bardufoss, Alappmoen, Holmen, Fossmoen, and Heggelia...


  4. Nordreisa
    Nordreisa
    Nordreisa is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Storslett.The municipality consists of the valley of Reisadalen, with the Reisa river and deep pine forests, surrounded by mountains and high plateaus. Most people live in...


  5. Salangen
    Salangen
    Salangen is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Sjøvegan, where most of the people in the municipality live. The municipality is situated along the Sagfjord, and also includes some inland valleys...


  6. Skånland
    Skånland
    Skånland is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Evenskjer.- General information :...


  7. Skjervøy
    Skjervøy
    Skjervøy is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Skjervøy on the island of Skjervøya, where most of the inhabitants live. The main industries are fishing and ship building....


  8. Sørreisa
    Sørreisa
    Sørreisa is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Sørreisa.- General information :...


  9. Storfjord
    Storfjord
    Storfjord is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Hatteng.- General information :...


  10. Torsken
    Torsken
    Torsken is a municipality on the western coast of Senja island in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Gryllefjord. The church of Torsken dates back to the 18th century...


  11. Tranøy
    Tranøy
    Tranøy is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The municipality is situated on the southern coast of the island Senja. The municipal centre is the village of Vangsvik in the east. Stonglandseidet and Å in the west are other population centers. The now abandoned island of Tranøya, with its 18th...


  12. 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...



External links