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Lillehammer kommune
Coat of arms of Lillehammer kommune
Coat of arms
Lillehammer within Oppland
Lillehammer within Oppland
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Country Norway
County Oppland
District Gudbrandsdal
Administrative centre Lillehammer
 • Mayor (2012) Espen Johnsen
 • Total 477 km2 (184 sq mi)
 • Land 450 km2 (170 sq mi)
Area rank 211 in Norway
Population (2011)
 • Total 26,639
 • Rank 33 in Norway
 • Density 56/km2 (150/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 5.0 %
Demonym(s) Lillehamring[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-0501
Official language form Bokmål
Data from Statistics Norway

Lillehammer (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈlɪl̥əhɔmɔr]) is a town and municipality in Oppland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Gudbrandsdal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Lillehammer. As of May 2011, the population of the town of Lillehammer was 26,639. The city centre is a late 19th-century concentration of wooden houses, which enjoys a picturesque location overlooking the northern part of lake Mjøsa and the river Lågen, surrounded by mountains. Lillehammer hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics and will host the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics.[2] Before Oslo's withdrawal from consideration, it was included as part of a bid to host events in the 2022 Winter Olympics if Oslo were to win the rights to hold the Games.


The municipality (originally the parish) was named after the old Hamar (Norse Hamarr) farm, since the first church was built there. The name is identical with the word hamarr (rocky hill). To distinguish it from the nearby town and bishopric, both called Hamar, it began to be called "little Hamar": Lilþlæ Hamar and Litlihamarr, and finally Lillehammer. It is also mentioned in the Old Norse sagas as Litlikaupangr ("Little Trading Place").[3][4]


The coat-of-arms was granted in 1898 and shows a birkebeiner, carrying a spear and a shield, who is skiing down a mountainside. It symbolizes the historical importance of when the Birkebeiners carried the to-be-King Haakon from Lillehammer to Rena on skis.[5]


Lillehammer Church

The area has been settled since the Norwegian Iron Age; it is also mentioned as a site for council in 1390. Lillehammer had a lively market by the 1800s and obtained rights as a merchant city on 7 August 1827, at which point there were 50 registered residents within its boundaries.[citation needed]

The town of Lillehammer was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838.

The rural municipality of Fåberg was merged into the municipality of Lillehammer on 1 January 1964.[citation needed]

Lillehammer was the site of the Lillehammer affair in 1973, wherein operatives of the Israeli Mossad shot and killed a Moroccan waiter they mistakenly thought was Ali Hassan Salameh, who was involved in the Munich Massacre.

Lillehammer is known as a typical venue for winter sporting events; it was host city of the 1994 Winter Olympics, will host the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics, and was part of a joint bid with applicant host city Oslo to host events part of the 2022 Winter Olympics until Oslo withdrew its bid on 1 October 2014.


A number of schools are located in Lillehammer including the Hammartun Lower Secondary School. Lillehammer High School, Mesna High School and Vargstad High School are the three public high schools in Lillehammer, in addition to the private Norges Toppidrettsgymnas. Lillehammer University College is situated just north of the town itself.

Lillehammer is also the home of the Nansen Academy - the Norwegian Humanistic Academy. The Nansen Academy is an educational institution for adult students with varied political, religious, and cultural backgrounds. The Academy was founded on the core principles of humanism and aims at strengthening the knowledge of these principles.

The 14th World Scout Jamboree was held from July 29 to August 7, 1975 and was hosted by Norway at Lillehammer.


Lillehammer is located to the south of the municipality of Øyer, to the southeast of Gausdal, northeast of Nordre Land, and to the north of Gjøvik, all in Oppland county. To the southeast, it is bordered by Ringsaker municipality in Hedmark county. Lillehammer has a subarctic inland climate. It has moderate precipitation, higher in summer and autumn. To the northwest is the mountain Spåtind.


Climate data for Lillehammer
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −6
Daily mean °C (°F) −9
Average low °C (°F) −12
Average precipitation mm (inches) 46
Average precipitation days 16 13 13 11 14 16 18 17 16 16 16 16 182
Source: World Weather Information Service[6]


The basis for the city's commerce is its position as the northernmost point of the lake Mjøsa and as the gateway for the Gudbrandsdal region, through which the historical highway to Trondheim passes. The Mesna river has provided the basis for several small industries through the years, but Lillehammer is now all but industry-less.


One of the major Norwegian rail lines, the Dovrebanen, runs from Hamar to the north through Lillehammer on its way up the Gudbrandsdal, to terminate in Trondheim.

European route E6 passes through Lillehammer.


Storgata shopping area

In addition to the Olympic site, Lillehammer offers a number of other tourist attractions:

The official tourist information for the Lillehammer-region provides more information about activities and attractions in the region


Olympic ski jump


Notable residents

  • Atle Antonsen, a Norwegian comic and actor, was born in Lillehammer.[citation needed]
  • Sigrid Undset lived in Lillehammer at her home "Bjerkebæk" from 1919 through 1940. She brought her children with her for a short rest, planning on returning to Oslo but chose to remain in Lillehammer. She wrote her most famous works there: the three-volume Kristin Lavransdatter, the six-volume Sverkholt tales, and the four-volume Olav Audunssønn. In 1940, because she had expressed strong anti-Nazi sentiments since the early 1930s, she fled Lillehammer before the invading German army reached the town. She returned to Lillehammer after the war and died there in 1949. She is buried at the cemetery in Mesnali, a nearby village.[citation needed]

In popular culture

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

The following cities are twinned with Lillehammer:[7]

Lillehammer has also friendly connections with

See also


  1. "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Lillehammer awarded 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games
  3. Rygh, Oluf (1900). Norske gaardnavne: Kristians amt (in norsk bokmål) (4 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 219.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Lillehammers historie" (in norsk bokmål). Lillehammer kommune. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Historiske Linjer" (in norsk bokmål). National Archives of Norway. Retrieved 4 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Weather Information for Lillehammer". World Weather Information Service. Retrieved 19 September 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Lillehammers vennskapsbyer" (Microsoft Word) (in norsk bokmål). Lillehammer kommune. Retrieved 31 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Radviliskis". Radviliskis. Retrieved 3 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links