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Trondheim is a city and municipality in the county of Sør-Trøndelag, Norway. Although the official population count, as of 2004, is slightly above 150,000, the large number of resident college and university students, roughly 30,000, makes the actual population more than 180,000 (in Norway, students are typically registered in their home towns/municipalities, and not in their place of study). Located in the geographical centre of Norway, Trondheim is the third largest city in the country. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is located here. The local newspaper is Adresseavisen, the oldest active newspaper in Norway (established 1767).


Concise history

Trondheim was founded as Kaupangen by Viking King Olav Tryggvason in 997 A.D, and getting the name Nidaros a short time after that. In the beginning it was the seat of the King, and therefore, for a time, the capital of Norway. Leif Ericson lived in Trondheim around 1000 A.D. as a Praetorian guardsman (Old Norse: "hird"-man) of King Olav. A statue of Leif, donated by the "Leif Ericsson Society" in Seattle, is located at the seaside, close to the old Customs Building, the cruise ship facilities and the new swimming Hall. The statue is a replica, the original being located at a Seattle marina.

Trondheim is located at the mouth of the river Nidelven, due to the favorable harbour and sheltered condition. The river used to be deep enough for most boats in the middle ages. An avalanche of mud and stones partly ruined these favorable harbour conditions in the mid-17th century.

View of the Nidelven river, seen downstream from the Old Town Bridge. Some storehouses shown to the left had , for hoisting goods from boats below.
View of the Nidelven river, seen downstream from the Old Town Bridge. Some storehouses shown to the left had cranes, for hoisting goods from boats below.

The city has experienced several major fires. Since its old parts are mainly build out of wood, this has led to severe damage every time. Infamous fires ravaged the city in 1598, 1651, 1681, 1708, 1717 (two fires that year), 1742, 1788, 1841, and 1842. It must be noted that these are only the worst cases. The 1651 fire destroyed 90% of all buildings within the city limits. The fire in 1681 (the "Horneman Fire") led to an almost total reconstruction of the city, overseen by General Johan Caspar von Cicignon (originally from Luxembourg). Broad boulevards like Munkegaten were made, with no regard for property rights, in order to stop the next fire. This gave the sleepy provincial town of roughly 8000 inhabitants a certain flair.
During World War II, Trondheim was occupied by German forces from April, 1940 (on the first day of the invasion of Norway, Operation Weserübung) until the war's end in Europe, in May, 1945.

Nidaros Cathedral

Two of Norway's greatest tourist attractions are the Nidaros Cathedral and Archbishop's Palace . They are located side by side, in the middle of historic Trondheim. The large gothic cathedral, built from 1070 on, was Northern Europe's most important Christian pilgrimage site during the middle ages, with pilgrimage roads via Oslo in southern Norway, and via the Jämtland and Värmland regions of neighbouring Sweden.

Traditionally, the Nidaros Cathedral has hosted the country's coronation ceremonies, where the heir to the throne is officially announced as the nation's new king following the death of the previous monarch. Starting with King Olav V in 1957, however, coronation was replaced by anointing. In 1991, present King Harald V and Queen Sonja were anointed in the cathedral. On May 24, 2002, their daughter Princess Märtha Louise married writer Ari Behn in the same cathedral.

Other landmarks


Trondheim is the home town of football team Rosenborg B.K. (colloquially known as RBK), a successful team nationally as well as internationally, playing in the Champions League for the 9th time in 2004. The team's name, and initially most of its players, came from an east end borough.

The city is also known for its active winter sports scene, with cross-country skiing and ski jumping arenas (Granåsen), as well as nearby alpine skiing facilities (Vassfjellet). The city hosted the 1997 Nordic skiing World Championships, and held World Cup ski sprint races in the city centre in February 2004.

The city's names

Originally given the name Kaupangen ("Marketplace") by Olav Tryggvason, Trondheim held for a long time the name Nidaros ("Mouth of the river Nid"). During the years as a provincial town in the united kingdoms of Denmark-Norway, the name was changed to Trondhjem. In 1930 the name Nidaros was restored in order to reaffirm the city's link with its glorious past. However, public outrage, even taking the form of riots, later in the same year forced the Storting to settle for the compromise Trondheim, a name that sounded slighly less Danish. Trondheimen historically indicates the area around the Trondheimsfjord. Today, most inhabitants still refer to their city in their local dialect as Trondhjæm ("æ" pronounced somewhat like "a" as in "hat").

During the Nazi German occupation, 1940–45, the city's official name was amended to the more "Germanic-sounding" Drontheim. The Nazis also contemplated a scheme to built a new 250,000 people city, Neu-Drontheim, centered 15 km (≈10 mi) southeast of Trondheim, near the village of Øysand in the outskirts of Melhus municipality. The new city—northern capital of a germanized Scandinavia—was meant to house the future German main naval base of the North Atlantic region, and would be the largest of all German naval bases.

External links

Last updated: 05-08-2005 02:06:29
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04