Norwegian Language Blog

Kristiansand Posted by on Oct 18, 2010 in Culture

I´ve focused a lot of my writing energy on northern Norway lately since I was recently living there.  Thus, I feel called to hone in on southern Norway now that it´s starting to get real dark up north:)  My good friend from college is currently living in Kristiansand.  I was with her in Bergen right before I headed home to MN, so I find it appropriate to write about the city she lives in now.

You´ll have to bear with me here since far southern Norway is the only region of the country in which I have not been.  The information I provide you with about Kristiansand comes via word of mouth from friends.  I hope to visit someday myself and experience southern Norway in person.  The farthest south I´ve been is Arendal, which is not too far from Kristiansand.

The 8th largest urban area in Norway, Kristiansand is home to about 80,000 innbyggere (inhabitants).  It is located in the fylke (county) of Vest-Agder. Like the capital, the spelling of Kristiansand has changed several times since the city was established around 400 AD.  While Oslo used to be called Christiania, Kristiansand used to be Christianssand.  A national reform changed the Ch to K and later one of the ´s´in Kristianssand was removed.  Don´t ask me how Oslo came out of Krisitania.  I´ll save that for another post.

Kristiansand enjoys a mild coastal climate and therefore snø (snow) doesn´t stick around for very long.  Lucky for my friend who is also from MN where snøen (the snow) seems to stick around forever!  I remember looking at the værkart (weather map) for the entire country and Kristiansand seemed to always be the warmest with plenty of sunshine.  I do, however, remember my friend saying that it is a very windy city, so it never feels as warm as the thermometer reads.  Just outside the city is Baneheia, an area of deep woods that are used for recreation.  There are also 2 large elver (rivers) that run through Kristiansand, the Otra and the Tovdalselva.

As in most Norwegian cities, Kristiansand experienced several town fires in it´s more modern history, the first in 1734.  Norwegians were-are lucky to have so much wood for building materials, but it sure cost them throughout history to use such a fire-friendly product.  Like other fire-familiar cities in Norway, Kristiansand was built up again to remain a prominent city.

Kristiansand has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment and culture to those who live there as well as visitors.  The Quart Festival, one of Norway´s largest music festivals, lasts for five days and is a huge annual event.  The Protestfestival, which takes place every September addresses political issues between all different groups on the political front.  South Norway´s Art Museum is located in Kristiansand and the famous dyrepark (animal park) as well.

Kristiansand, from what my friend tells me, is a really neat city that I definitely want to visit soon!

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Steve Spencer:

    My son is on his mission in Norway. Originally he was in Trodheim, but he was transferred, and is now down in Kristiansand. He has been there since June (what a great time to be there.) He says it is a really beautiful, and warm area. He transfers again in two weeks however, so I don’t know where he’ll be next. He did get a chance for a brief trip to Svalbard. I am jealous 🙂