Fun Facts About Trondheim

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Beautiful green panorama of Trondheim, Norway

Impress your family and friends or simply learn something new. Here are a handful of fun facts about Trondheim, the regional capital of central Norway.

Having written many of these style of articles including the epic fun facts about Norway article, I felt it time to turn my attention much closer to home!

Trondheim has been my adopted home city for many years now. Yet I don't write anywhere near as much about the city as I could. It's one of Norway's most historic big cities, yet it's enormous student population means it's constantly changing.

Historical facts about Trondheim

1. The city is more than one thousand years old. It was founded in the year 997 as a trading post given its strategic location on the Trondheim fjord and Nidelva river. Rock carvings in the surrounding region show that people have lived here for thousands of years.

2. The city’s founder was a Viking King. Viking King Olav Tryggvason founded the city as a trading post in the year 997. It was frequently used as the seat of the king, and therefore served as the capital of Norway.

3. Trondheim's original name was Nidaros. Named after the Nidelva river, the city was also known as Kaupangr í Þróndheimi (“the city in Trondheim/Trøndelag”). During the Middle Ages, people began to use Þróndheimi—becoming Trondhjem—a spelling that you still see to this day. Nidaros remains in use as the name of a diocese in the Lutheran Church of Norway, and in the name of several clubs and sports teams.

Snowy Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim
Trondheim's Nidaros Cathedral in central Norway

Facts about Trondheim's Nidaros Cathedral

It's the biggest tourist destination in Trondheim so it's fair to give the cathedral a section all to itself. If these facts aren't enough for you, head on over to our complete guide.

4. It is the world's northernmost medieval cathedral. It is considered the most important religious building in Norway, and is also the largest medieval building in the whole of Scandinavia.

5. There are elements of English influence. The octagon is the oldest part of the cathedral. Many believe it was inspired by the Corona of Canterbury Cathedral. Meanwhile, the choir shows English influence and could have been modelled on the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral.

6. It is the end point of a pilgrimage trail. Although not as well known as Spain's Camino de Santiago, hiking the various St. Olav's Ways across Scandinavia to the cathedral is a popular pilgrimage.

7. You can visit the crypt. It's easy to miss if you're not on a guided tour, but visitors are free to descend the claustrophobic staircase into the cathedral's crypt. Today it's home to a collection of marble gravestones.

8. The West Front restoration was Norway's largest ever art project. The eye-catching facade was fully restored by sculptors 1905 to 1983. The sculptures depict both historic and religious figures. They are based on historical records, a print from the 17th-century, and on simple guesswork and/or fantasy.

The sculptures on the west front of Nidaros Cathedral
The sculptures on the west front of Nidaros Cathedral

Facts about the Archbishop's Palace

9. The palace has had many uses. It has been the residence of Norway's most powerful people, and also a military installation. Today, the site is home to a museum telling the story of the site and the neighbouring Cathedral.

10. Norway's Royal Regalia is stored here. On display to the public, the collection includes the stunning crowns of the King and Queen of Norway.

11. The courtyard hosts some of Trondheim's biggest concerts. The annual St. Olav's Festival takes place in and around the palace courtyard. The main stage has hosted concerts by the likes of Sting and Patti Smith.

Facts about the Trondheim of today

12. Trondheim is considered the technology capital of Norway. The city is home to Norway's science and technology university NTNU and the research institute SINTEF. Many technologies are spun-off into companies that then base themselves in the city. There is also an impressive startup scene.

13. Trondheim has 13 sister cities. The city has friendship agreements with 13 cities around the world. Many are in fellow Nordic countries, although Vallejo, California, is also on the list! The cities signed the friendship agreement in 1956.

14. The city is not the capital of Trøndelag. Although Trondheim is by far the biggest city in Trøndelag, the county covering much of central Norway has its administrative functions in Steinkjer. This is to avoid concentrating too much power (and jobs, etc) in one place in what is a vast region.

Hiking in Bymarka, Trondheim
Walking in Bymarka, Trondheim

15. Trondheim is well connected by rail. The city's central station serves as something of a hub for the railway network. The Dovre line to Oslo, the alternative line to Oslo via Røros and Hamar, and the Nordland line to Bodø all start here. You can even catch a train to Östersund in Sweden, changing on to the Swedish network at Storlien just over the border.

The sporting side of Trondheim

16. The city is Norway's capital of cross-country skiing. So many of Norway's Olympians have come from Trondheim and the wider Trøndelag county. The region has a reputation for producing champions, although many of them train elsewhere!

17. Rosenborg are Norway's most successful football club. The Trondhiem-based club have won a record 26 titles in the Norwegian league. They've also picked up 12 Norwegian Cup victories and have played more games in European competition than any other Norwegian side.

18. Lerkendal Stadium is Norway's biggest club stadium. Rosenborg's home ground has an all-seater capacity of just over 21,000. Only Oslo's Ullevaal Stadium, which hosts national team matches and the Cup final, is bigger.

For Pinterest:

Fun Facts About Trondheim, Norway

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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3 thoughts on “Fun Facts About Trondheim”

  1. I believe that the cathedral organ has the largest pipe in the world. They do not play it very often, as they are afraid its vibrations may damage the wall structure. I believe it was called a 32′ bombard(height). I believe the diameter of the pipe was measured in feet. When we walked around it, I remember it being about 3′. Maybe you can check on it, and add it to your “fun facts about “Trondheim”. My choir was there in 1967

  2. Now a retired United States Marine Corps officer, I reflect back on my cold weather training in Norway. I’ve also traveled to Norway on a cruise with my family, and will be doing so again this coming July. While I was privileged to visit and see many great sites: The Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, beautiful fjords, a park full of beautiful sculptures in Oslo, a recoved centuries-old Viking ship, Northern lights…and much more. I must say, though, the thing that impressed me the most were the Norwegian people I encountered during my visits: always helpful, pleasant and kind. I very much look forward to our visit in July.


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