|— Municipality —|
|• Mayor (2011)||Marianne Bremnes (Ap)|
|• Total||445.86 km2 (172.15 sq mi)|
|• Land||429.06 km2 (165.66 sq mi)|
|• Water||16.8 km2 (6.5 sq mi)|
|Area rank||249 in Norway|
|• Rank||38 in Norway|
|• Density||66.5/km2 (172/sq mi)|
|• Change (10 years)||2.4 %|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|ISO 3166 code||NO-1903|
|Official language form||Neutral|
Harstad (help·info) is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. It is mostly located on the large island of Hinnøya. With a population of 23,344, it is the second-most populated municipality in Troms county. The municipal center is the town of Harstad, the most populous town in Central Hålogaland and the third-largest in all of Northern Norway. The town was incorporated in 1904. Villages in the municipality include Elgsnes, Fauskevåg, Gausvik, Grøtavær, Kasfjord, Kilbotn, Lundenes, Nergården, and Sørvika.
The municipality is located on many islands in southern Troms county. Most of the municipality is located on the large island of Hinnøya, which is Norway's largest coastal island (three islands in the Svalbard archipelago are larger). The northern part of the municipality is located on the smaller islands of Grytøya, Bjarkøya, Sandsøya, and many smaller islands between the Andfjorden (to the west) and the Vågsfjorden (to the east). The municipality contains several small islands, including Arnøya, Gressholman, Helløya, Kjeøya, Kjøtta, Kjøttakalven, Flatøya, Meløyvær, Måga, Rogla, Lille Rogla and Åkerøya.
Harstad is bordered by the municipality Kvæfjord to the west and Tjeldsund (in Nordland county) to the south. To the southeast, the Tjeldsund Bridge connects Hinnøya with Skånland municipality and the mainland across Tjeldsundet, and to the northeast is the Vågsfjorden, where Harstad shares a water border with Ibestad municipality. The city itself is located on the northeastern part of on Hinnøya; it is the only city on the island, and is popularly known as Vågsfjordens perle (The pearl of Vågsfjorden).
The highest mountain in Harstad is Sætertinden, which is 1,095 m (3,593 ft) above sea level. It is located near the village of Sandtorg in southern Harstad. The 412-metre (1,352 ft) tall mountain, Nupen, is located in the northwestern part of the municipality on the border with Kvæfjord.
Climate and light
Despite being located north of the Arctic Circle, Harstad features a subpolar oceanic climate with relatively mild winters and cool summers. Harstad does not have the brutal winters that most locations north of the Arctic Circle experience, and is sheltered from Atlantic gales by a range of mountains to the west. The city actually experiences warmer winters than major cities located 25 to 30 degrees farther south in latitude in the northern hemisphere such as Beijing, Chicago and Toronto. Summers in Harstad are cool, with average high temperatures seldom breaking the 22 °C (72 °F) mark. Mean annual temperature is 3.9 °C (39.0 °F) (1961–90) and annual average precipitation is 850 millimetres (33.5 in). With high pressure weather, winter temperatures can get down to about −15 °C (5 °F), and in summer they can reach 27 °C (81 °F). 
The city enjoys the midnight sun during the summer months, from 22 May to 18 July. There is also a period from early May to early August with twilight for a few hours each night as the sun just dips below the horizon, so there is no darkness. The polar night, when the sun is always below the horizon, lasts from 30 November to 12 January. At this time, there are 3–4 hours of dawn and dusk around noon, sometimes with colourful skies towards the south. From late January, the period of daylight rapidly increases, reaching 12 hours by March and 18 hours in April. Harstad is located in the midst of the aurora borealis (a.k.a. the northern lights) zone, and the aurora can often be seen on clear nights, but not in summer due to the continuous daylight.
|Climate data for Harstad (10 last years)|
|Average high °C (°F)||0
|Average low °C (°F)||−4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||85
The town of Harstad was established as a municipality on 1 January 1904 when it was separated from the municipality of Trondenes. The initial population of the town of Harstad was 1,246. On 1 January 1964, the municipalities of Sandtorg, Trondenes, and Harstad were merged to form a new, combined municipality with a population of 17,882. Prior to the merger, Harstad had 3,808 residents. On 1 January 2013, the municipality of Bjarkøy (to the north) was merged with Harstad, forming a new, larger municipality of Harstad.
In recent years, a 3000-year-old bronze axe and a 2600-year-old bronze collar have been found at the Trondenes peninsula, just north of the city center. These, together with the burial cairns built close to the sea, are indications of a well-developed Bronze Age culture in the Harstad area.
There is also substantial archeological evidence of a well-developed Iron Age culture in the area, around 200 AD.
Trondenes Church, the world's northernmost medieval church, which dates back to the 13th–15th century, is situated just outside the town.
Adjacent to the church is the Trondenes Historical Center and nearby is the Adolf Gun, an enormous land-based cannon from World War II, and the last of four cannons originally constructed by the Nazis. Harstad is one of the few towns in this part of Norway which were left largely undamaged by World War II.
Origin of the name
The city is most likely named after the old Harstad farm (Old Norse: Harðarstaðir), since it is built on its ground. The first element is (probably) the genitive case of the male name Hörðr, and the last element is staðir which means "homestead" or "farm".
The oil industry of North Norway is centered in Harstad; including Statoils main office for a new operational area for Northern Norway, the DNV office for Northern Norway, as well as other regional offices including Total E&P, Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA and Aibel. Harstad also has shipyards and other industries that are important for the economy. Harstad and the surrounding area have traditionally been among the most productive agricultural regions in Northern Norway,. The old seabed, now dry land due to isostatic rebound (up to 60 to 80 metres or 200 to 260 feet above sea level), creating fertile soil that is well-suited for farming.
Institutions and culture
Harstad University College, with approximately 1,100 students, has a thriving foreign exchange program with students from all over the world. The hospital in Harstad is part of the University Hospital of North Norway.
Harstad Camping is a campsite located in the municipality.
|Parish (Sokn)||Church Name||Location of the Church||Year Built|
|Bjarkøy og Sandsøy||Bjarkøy Church||Nergården||1766|
Harstad traditionally has strong ties with the Norwegian Armed Forces. Kystjegerkommandoen (Coastal Ranger Command) has its home base at Trondenes, Harstad. Marinejegerkommandoen is based in Ramsund in Tjeldsund on the mainland south of Harstad. General Carl Gustav Fleischer led the field operations of the Norwegian Armed Forces in WW2, among them the 7,500 soldiers which from the north pushed the Nazi Germans back to Narvik and participated in retaking Narvik on 28 May 1940. A street in Harstad is named Gen. Fleischers Gate in his honour.
Harstad is also the hometown of the Norwegian army band "Forsvarets Musikkorps Nord Norge" with professional musicians.
Every morning a northbound and a southbound Hurtigruten ship stop in Harstad.
There are several ferries and buses in the district, and in Harstad there are local buses.
|Villages north/west of the city|
|Villages south of the city|
- Knut Andersen (1931–), director
- Bjarne Berg-Sæther (1919–), mayor, county mayor, parliament politician
- Trygve Bornø (1942–), former national football player
- Kristin Clemet (1957–), politician, former minister of education
- Hans Egede (1686–1758), priest
- Karl Erik Harr (1940–), painter, anthropologist
- Kine Hellebust (1954–), singer
- Leif Arne Heløe (1932–), minister of social affairs
- Jon Lech Johansen (1983–), hacker
- Hanna Kvanmo (1926–2005), politician
- Runar Normann (1978–), football player
- Iren Reppen (1965–), actress, playwright
- Iselin Steiro (1985–), supermodel
- Ketil Stokkan (1956–), singer
- Even Kenneth Weines (1980–), country singer
- Unni Wikan (1944–), professor of social
Twin towns — Sister cities
- "Personnemningar til stadnamn i Noreg" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
- Municipality second largest in Troms county
- City second largest in Troms county; third largest in North Norway
- Harstad climate statistics 1961-90
- "yr.no:Harstad statistics for last 12 months".
- "Harstad average conditions - base period 10 last years". Storm Weather Center. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
- "Bronze axe".
- "Bronze collar".
- Rygh, Oluf (1911). Norske gaardnavne: Troms amt (in Norwegian) (17 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 21.
- "Harstad kommunes byvåpen" (in Norwegian). Harstad kommune. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
- "Festspillene i Nord-Norge".
- "Harstad University College".
- "HIL" (in Norwegian).
- "Harstad Vikings" (in Norwegian).
- "Anna Rogde" (in Norwegian).
- Harstad/Narvik Lufthavn Evenes. supersaver.no. Accessed 2011-06-11.
- Coastal Express. hurtigruten.com. Accessed 2011-10-14.
- Tromskortet > Ruter > Rutetabeller. tromskortet.no. Accessed 2011-06-30.
- Heli-Team. heliteam.no.
- "Twin towns". Choose English > Political info > Friendship cities
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Harstad|
- Harstad travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Information in English Harstad municipality
- Visit Harstad
- Old history of Harstad
- Harstad pictures
- Green and black aurora over Harstad NASA astronomy picture of the day
- Particularly rare purple auroral corona over Harstad NASA astronomy picture of the day
- Web-cam Showing various parts of the town
- Photo presentation on YouTube
- The Adolf Cannon
- Art of the States: Frozen Horizon Musical work inspired by the Harstad landscape
- Harstad Tidende (Harstad Times) Newspaper for the district (Norwegian)
- iHarstad.no Information portal (Norwegian)
- Live weather station located in Harstad (Norwegian)
- About Hinnøy (Norwegian)
- Magnars garden at 69 degrees north (Norwegian)