In 1641 King Christian stood on the southernmost point of Norway's coastline and proclaimed 'here shall stand the town'. Thus Kristiansand was born. Today the city is the region's administrative, commercial and recreational centre and has Norway's fifth largest population, of around 75,000. The city is at the forefront of Norway's technology industry, led by a strong IT sector with links to the local Agder University. On what some have dubbed 'the Scandinavian Riveria' the city has become a popular destination for business and tourism within Norway. Being the southernmost tip of the country, Kristiansand has more hours of sunshine per year than any other city in Norway. In the summer, temperatures often approach Mediterranean levels, but are never accompanied by oppressive humidity. The clean air and sunshine mean that Kristiansand has a climate enviable within Northern Europe.

One of Europe's best preserved renaissance cities; almost all houses in Kristiansand are one floor, painted white and in immaculate condition. The streets are always clean, crime and antisocial behaviour are very low and the public services in good condition. The locals are friendly and the popular Norwegian myth that the locals have webbed feet is evidently untrue. As within most of the larger cosmopolitan cities in Scandinavia, you will find many of the locals (including most shopkeepers) speak very good English. The pristine condition of the buildings means this is a city of great architectural interest. Kvadraturen (The Square) is an early example of urban planning. It is a city centre area with a strict grid formation and wide streets. Posebyen is the oldest section of the town, and contains a matrix of small but picturesque housing that used to billet soldiers.


[ The Kristiansand Cannon Museum] commemorates the German occupation of the city between 1940 and 1945. A large coastal artillery battery was built to defend the Waterway between Norway, Sweden and Denmark. This proved to be one of the Wehrmacht's greatest concentrations of Artillery units, and much of the original hardware, along with guns from other historical periods, can be found in this museum.

To protect the city from Pirates, Christianholm Fort was finished in 1672 and remains in more or less the same condition to this day. It overlooks the harbour, which itself provides a pleasant diversion for the visitor with an interest in yachts. Many Norwegians enjoy sailing, and take boats out to the many beautiful islands surrounding Kristiansand for day trips. If not a sailor yourself, ferries run occasionally between the islands and mainland, particularly in the summer. The Islands of Ny-Hellsund, Skarpoy, and Hollen come particularly recommended.

The City takes its culture very seriously, and a municipal fund exists to encourage local artists and provide grants for cultural projects within the community.

The Kristiansand International Church Music Festival has been held every June since 1972 and has become renowned among the world's musicians, composers and other church music enthusiasts. The concerts are held in Kristiansand's beautiful churches, but it is not an exclusively Lutherian or Christian festival. All are welcome to the performances, or the many talks and workshops that compliment the concerts.

[ The Quart Music festival] is Norway's biggest musical event, attracting tens of thousands over 6 days packed with some of the biggest acts pop, rock, and hip hop has to offer. This year headliners included Tool, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Muse and Depeche Mode. It takes place in Kristiansand in a beautiful location on the coast.

[ Kristiansand Dyreparken] is a zoo 11 km outside the city and perhaps southern Norway's prime recreational attraction, popular among both locals and visitors. It houses collections of Scandinavian wildlife including dear, wolves, bears, elk, Nordic wolverine and the like, in 150 hectares of typically stunning Norwegian scenery. There are also enclosures featuring monkeys, giraffes, apes and the endangered red panda. In total there are over 800 animals, and the park aims to give them as much freedom as possible. Cardamom Town is a themed area of the park based on a well-known Norwegian children's story by Thorbjorn Egner. This area contains a petting zoo, refreshment huts and a heated bathing pool.


Small, specialised shops line the streets from the seafront right up to the start of the woods. Here you will find grocers, butchers hardware and stationery shops. Every Saturday in the Summer months a street market is held in the Posebyen district. Many people from Kristiansand drive the 12 km to Sørlandssenteret to do their shopping. Here you will find many large stores and eateries, similar to out of town shopping centres in other parts of Europe.

Nightlife and Eating Out

You will find a variety of restaurants serving traditional Norwegian Fresh fish dishes around the sea front and the small streets leading off it. Chinese restaurants are also popular, and usually a better quality than those typically found in the UK. You will also find small fast food outlets and take-outs. In Norway, clubs and late night revelling are not common sights. Beer is expensive and clubs are rare. It is more common for people to organise private gatherings than go out into town. However, there are of course traditional Northern European Beer Halls and clubs catering for the younger, trendy market.

Tourist Information

Destination Sørlandet, Vestre Strandgt. 32, 4612 KristiansandTel. (47) 38 12 13 14, fax (47) 38 02 52 55


Kjevik airport is 7 miles away and has connections to several Northern European cities (including London Stansted) and many within Norway.

Ferry routes operate to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gothenburg (although these routes are under threat and may be discontinued) and Hanstholm in Denmark.

5 trains run between Kristiansand and the Norwegian Capital everyday, and there are highways connecting to the other main Norwegian cities.

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