During the Norwegian week, we host a delegation from the gorgeous Kristiansand region in Norway. But what exactly is Kristiansand and what does it have to offer?
Kristiansand is a region in Southern Norway that comprises the seven municipalities of Søgne, Songdalen, Iveland, Vennesla, Birkenes, Lillesand and Kristiansand. The latter is both a municipality and a city and this city in particular is the heart of the region.
Humans have lived in the Kristiansand region for thousands of year and archaeologists have even found signs of Stone Age settlements there. The modern city of Kristiansand was founded by king Christian IV on July 5, 1641. The city was named after the king and the sandy area it was built on. Kristiansand was laid out in a grid style characteristic of the Renaissance and today, this central area is known as Kvadraturen AKA The Quarters.
Historically, Kristiansand was a port town as it was the first port of call for sailing ships that arrived from the Netherlands, Denmark, England and the Baltic countries. In the beginning of the 19th century, the town had one of the world’s largest sailing ship fleets. Today, the city is well-connected with both major Norwegian cities as well as European cities: people can travel via the sea and the air and the roads, highways and train tracks that are constantly being built in and around the region.
Today, the region is known for its diversity and green thinking. The region is surrounded by beautiful scenery, which includes both rocky little islands and snow-covered mountains. Visitors to Kristiansand can enjoy fishing, sailing, hiking, skiing, elk safaris and much more. The city itself offers visits to art museums and flavour experiences in its various cafés and restaurants.
Kristiansand has also actively worked on developing cultural activities for years: Southern Norway is where multiple big festivals are held and in 2012, the Kilden concert and theatre house was opened in Kristiansand which seats 2200 people and hosts different types of cultural events. One of Kristiansand’s best known, and Norway’s most visited attractions is the Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park. It is visited by around 900 000 people every year and in addition to a zoo with wild animals, it boasts an amusement park, a water park, a theatre and other entertaining attractions.
Kristiansand has been a green city for decades. The municipality is at the forefront in waste recycling, public transportation development and taking action on climate change. The private sector is also contributing more into sustainable developments. The city has worked significantly on cleaning its river and bay, which has been a successful endeavour as the Kristiansand city bay is one of the cleanest compared to other major cities.
The Kristiansand region also boasts active education and research work. One of the University of Agder’s two campuses is located in Kristiansand and it has more than 12 000 students studying there. The region’s various research facilities work closely with the university, above all in creating sustainable developments.