|— County —|
|Official language form||Neutral|
|• Governor||Svein Ludvigsen
|• County Mayor||Terje Olsen
|Area(#4 in Norway, 8.18% of Norway's land area)|
|• Total||25,877 km2 (9,991 sq mi)|
|• Land||24,884 km2 (9,608 sq mi)|
|• Density||6/km2 (20/sq mi)|
|• Change (10 years)||2.0 %|
|• Rank in Norway||15 (3.33% of nation)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Income (per capita)||133,300 NOK|
|GDP (per capita)||211,955 NOK (2001)|
|National Rank:||15 (2.11% of nation)|
Troms (help·info) or Romsa (Sami language) is a county in North Norway, bordering Finnmark to the northeast and Nordland in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län in Sweden, and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in Finland. To the west is the Norwegian Sea (Atlantic Ocean). The entire county is located north of the Arctic circle. Until 1919 the county was formerly known as Tromsø amt. On 1 July 2006, the Northern Sami name for the county, Romsa, was granted official status along with Troms.
Troms has a very rugged and indented coastline facing the Norwegian Sea. However, the large and mountainous islands along the coast provide an excellent sheltered waterway on the inside. Starting in the south, the largest islands are: northeastern part of Hinnøya (the southern part is in Nordland), Grytøya, Senja, Kvaløya, Ringvassøya, Reinøy, Vannøy and Arnøy. Some of these islands, most noteworthy here are several large fjords that stretch quite far inland. Starting in the south, the largest fjords are Vågsfjord, Andfjord (shared with Nordland), Malangen, Balsfjord, Ullsfjord, Lyngen (the municipality has its name from the fjord) and Kvænangen (fjord). The largest lake is Altevatnet in the interior of the county.
There are mountains in all parts of Troms; the most alpine and striking are probably the Lyngen Alps (Lyngsalpene), with several small glaciers and the highest mountain in the county, Jiekkevarre (1833 m). Several glaciers are located in Kvænangen, including parts of the Øksfjordjøkelen, the last glacier in mainland Norway to drop icebergs directly into the sea (this ended around 1900), and Jøkelfjord, where this happened, still is a spectacular landscape. The largest river in Troms (waterflow) is Målselva (in Målselv), and the largest (not the highest) waterfall is Målselvfossen (600 m long, 20 m high).
Located at a latitude of nearly 70°N, Troms has short, cool summers, but fairly mild winters along the coast due to the temperate sea; Torsvåg lighthouse in Karlsøy has 24 January-hr average of -1°C. Tromsø averages -4°C in January with a daily high of -2°C, while July averages 12°C with high of 15°C. Temperatures are typically below freezing for about 5 months (8 months in the mountains), from early November to the beginning of April, but coastal areas are moderated by the sea: with more than 130 years of official weather recordings, the coldest winter temperature ever recorded in Tromsø is -18.4°C. Thaws can occur even in mid-winter. There is often snow in abundance, and avalanches are not uncommon in winter. With the prevailing westerlies, lowland areas east of mountain ranges have less precipitation than areas west of the mountains. Skibotn (46 m) in Storfjord is the location in Norway which has recorded the most days/year with clear skies (no clouds). Precipitation in Skibotn is only 300 mm/year (); while Tromsø, west of the Lyngen Alps, gets 1000 mm. However, Dividalen (228 m) in Målselv is the driest in Troms, with only 282 mm/year, and nearby Bardufoss (76 m) is one of the coldest locations in winter; January and 24 July-hr averages are -10.4°C (13°F) and 13°C (56°F). (). Winter temperatures in Målselv and Bardu can get down to -35°C (-32°F), while summer days can reach 30°C in inland valleys and the innermost fjord areas, but 16 - 22°C (65°F) is much more common. Along the outer seaboard, a summer day at 15°C is considered fairly warm. The mildest climate is in the south, Borkenes (36 m) in Kvæfjord (near Harstad) has January, July and year 24-hr averages -2.8°C (28°F), 12.6°C (55°F) and 4°C (39°F), with precipitation 820 mm/year ().
Elk, red fox, hare, stoat and small rodents are common in all Troms, and brown bears are sighted in the interior in the summer. Other animals are reindeer (interior mountain areas, with sami owners), wolverine (interior mountain areas) otter (along the coast and rivers), lynx (in the forests), and harbour porpoise in the fjords. Some of the common birds are ptarmigan, sea eagles, seagulls and cormorants (coast). The sheltered valleys in the interior of Troms have the highest tree line (summer warmth and length is the limiting factor), with Downy birch reaching 700 m on the southern slope of Njunis; in all Troms birch forms the tree line, often 200 m above other trees. Rowan, aspen, willow, grey alder, and bird cherry are common in the lower elevations. Scots Pine reaches an elevation of almost 400 m in Dividalen, where some of the largest trees are 500 years old. The upper part of the valley is protected by Øvre Dividal National Park (), which was enlarged in 2006 ().
The inland valleys, like Østerdalen (with Altevatnet), Kirkesdalen, Dividalen, Rostadalen, Signaldalen and Skibotndalen, are perfect for summer hiking, with their varied nature, mostly dry climate and not too difficult terrain, although there are many accessible mountains for energetic hikers. Reisadalen (, ) is one of the most idyllic river valleys in Norway; from Storslett in Nordreisa the valley stretches south-southeast, covered with birch, pine, grey alder, and willow. The northern part of the valley is 5 km wide, with 1200 m high mountains on both sides; the southern part of the valley narrows to a few hundred metres (canyon), with increasingly dry climate. The valley floor is fairly flat with little height difference for 70 km (to Bilto); the Reisa river can be navigated by canoe or river boat for much of this distance. The salmon swim 90 km up the river, and some 137 different species of birds have been observed. Several rivers cascade down into the valley; the Mollisfossen waterfall is 269 m (). The valley ends 120 km southeast of Storslett, as the vast and more barren Finnmarksvidda plateau takes over. Reisa National Park () protects the upper part of the valley.
The city of Tromsø, in the north central part, is the county seat and an Arctic seaport, and seat of the world's northernmost university, renowned for research about the aurora borealis. The University of Tromsø has an astrophysical observatory located in Skibotn (). Tromsø is the only municipality with a strong population growth; most of the smaller municipalities experience decreasing populations as the young and educated move to the cities, often in the southern part of Norway. Harstad is a commercial centre for the southern part of the county. Along the coast and on the islands, fishing is dominant. Important ports for the fishing fleet are Skjervøy, Tromsø and Harstad. There is also some agriculture, especially in the southern part, which has a longer growing season (150 days in Harstad). Balsfjord is often regarded to be the most northern municipality with substantial agricultural activity in Norway, although there is also agriculture further north.
The Norwegian armed forces is a vital employer in Troms, having the seat of the 6th army division, Bardufoss Air Station, helicopter wings and radar stations in the county. There are hospitals in Tromsø (university hospital and main hospital for North Norway) and Harstad.
The busiest airport is Tromsø Airport, Langnes. The southern part of Troms is served by Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes. The E6 cuts through the county from Nordland into Gratangen in the south to Kvænangen in the north and then into Finnmark. The E8 road runs from Tromsø to Finland via Nordkjosbotn and the Skibotn valley. There are several large bridges; some of the largest are Tjeldsund Bridge, Mjøsund Bridge, Gisund Bridge, Tromsø Bridge and Sandnessund Bridge. There are several undersea road tunnels; Rolla to Andørja (in Ibestad), Tromsøya to the mainland (Tromsø), Kvaløya to Ringvassøya, and Skjervøy to the mainland.
Troms has been settled since the early stone age, and there are prehistoric rock carvings at several locations (for instance Ibestad and Balsfjord). These people made their living from hunting, fishing and gathering.
The first of the current ethnic groups to settle in the county were the Sami people (inhabiting Finnmork an area much larger than today's Finnmark covering most of Troms). Archeological evidence has shown that a Norse iron-based culture in the late Roman Iron Age (200 - 400 AD), reaches as far north as Karlsøy (near today's Tromsø), but not further northeast.The Norse with their iron and agriculture settled along the coast and in some of the larger fjords, while the Saami lived in the same fjord areas (usually just slightly further into the fjord ) and in the interior. From the 10th century, Norse settlements start to appear along the coast further north, reaching into what is today the county of Finnmark.
Southern and mid-Troms was a petty kingdom in the Viking age, and considered part of Hålogaland. Ottar from Hålogaland met King Alfred the Great around 890. The Viking leader Tore Hund, who according to the sagas speared King Olav Haraldsson at the Battle of Stiklestad and traded and fought in Bjarmaland, had his seat at Bjarkøy. The nearby Trondenes (today's Harstad) was also a central Viking power centre, and seems to have been a gathering place.
The county was established in 1866.
The Kven residents of Troms are largely descendants of Finnish immigrants who arrived in the area before the 19th century from Finland because of war and famine. They settled mainly in the northeastern part of Troms, in the municipalities of Kvænangen, Nordreisa, Skjervøy, Gáivuotna - Kåfjord, and Storfjord, and some also reached Balsfjord and Lyngen.
Coat of armsEdit
Troms County has a total of 25 municipalities: