Hammerfest (town)

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View of the town
View of the town
Hammerfest is located in Finnmark
Location in Finnmark
Coordinates: 70°39′48″N 23°40′55″E / 70.66333°N 23.68194°E / 70.66333; 23.68194Coordinates: 70°39′48″N 23°40′55″E / 70.66333°N 23.68194°E / 70.66333; 23.68194
Country Norway
Region Northern Norway
County Finnmark
District Vest-Finnmark
Municipality Hammerfest
 • Total 2.94 km2 (1.14 sq mi)
Elevation[2] 2 m (7 ft)
Population (2013)[1]
 • Total 7,568
 • Density 2,574/km2 (6,670/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+01:00)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+02:00)
Post Code 9600 Hammerfest

Hammerfest is a town in Hammerfest Municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. It is located on the northwestern coast of the island of Kvaløya, just north of Rypefjord and southwest of the village of Forsøl. The 2.94-square-kilometre (730-acre) town has a population (2013) of 7,568, which gives it a population density of 2,574 inhabitants per square kilometre (6,670/sq mi).[1]

The town has an ice-free harbor, including the nearby island of Melkøya which is home to a natural gas processing station. It processes gas from the Snøhvit gas field in the Barents Sea. Rypefjord is a suburb to the south of the town. The main church for the town and municipality is Hammerfest Church. The "midnight sun" is above the horizon from 15 May to 31 July, and the period with continuous daylight lasts a bit longer. Polar night, on the other hand, lasts from 23 November to 19 January.


  • 1684: Hammerfest gets its first church: Hammerfest Church. The population is around 60 people.
  • 1764: Russia begins to send ships with grain to Hammerfest, the so-called Pomor trade
  • 17 July 1789: Hammerfest receives "town status"
  • 1792: The first doctor arrives in Hammerfest
  • 1807–1814: The city is ravaged by plague and wars. The blockade by the British vessels during the Napoleonic Wars lead to major food shortages.
  • 1809: The city is looted by two British brigs.
  • 1839: Hammerfest's first fire-fighter is employed
  • 1859: The first lighthouse in Finnmark is constructed: Fuglenes Lighthouse.
  • 1868: The first water plant in the town is built.
  • 1870: A telegraph station, which is used by all of Finnmark, is built.
  • 1890: Two-thirds of the city is destroyed by fire.
  • 1891: Reconstruction of the city begins. A Methodist chapel is opened.
  • 1891: Hammerfest becomes the first town in Norway and Northern Europe with electric streetlights.
  • 1940: After the German occupation of Norway the German Navy used the harbor of the city as a base.
  • 14 February 1944: A Soviet aircraft bombed the city for the first time, but the damage was small.
  • 29 August 1944: A similar, but far more powerful air assault, a number of buildings and streets in the city and ships on the harbour were destroyed. When the Germans retreated, they finalized the destruction.
  • November 1944: the Germans began systematically burning all the settlements in Finnmark, including Hammerfest
  • February 1945: citizens are forcibly evacuated by the German authorities. Only one building was left standing, a burial chapel. This was built in 1937 and is the oldest house still existing in the town.
  • 1989: Hammerfest celebrates its 200th anniversary as a city.
  • 2003: Melkøysund Tunnel is completed connecting the town to the island of Melkøya
  • 2007: Snøhvit plant on Melkøya becomes operational in September. It is the biggest industrial development in Northern Norway.

Municipal history[edit]

The municipality of Hammerfest (known as Hammerfest by og landdistrikt / "Hammerfest town and rural municipality") was established on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). In 1839, the northern district (population: 498) was separated to become the new municipality of Maasø. In 1852, the town and rural municipality were separated to form two separate municipalities: Hammerfest town (population: 1,125) and Hammerfest landdistrikt (population: 1,256). On 1 January 1875, a small area of Hammerfest landdistrikt (population: 20) was transferred to the town of Hammerfest. Again, on 1 January 1963, a small area of Sørøysund (population: 33) was transferred to the town of Hammerfest. On 1 January 1992, the town of Hammerfest was merged with the neighboring municipality of Sørøysund, creating a new, larger Hammerfest Municipality. Prior to the merger, the town of Hammerfest had 6,909 residents.[3]