Narvik, city in Norway, Europe

Narvik is a tiny city of < 20.000 inhabitants. Located in Northern Norway, the city has a cold climate. Yet it is not as cold as one could think - thanks to the Gulf Stream which gives Narvik a relatively mild winter climate (averages at around -5 degrees Celsius), and a rather warm summer climate (averaging at 12 degrees Celsius, peaking at 25-30 degrees Celsius).

The history of Narvik is short and action-packed: In the end of the 19th Century a Swedish mining corporation, LKAB, needed an export port for their iron ore. Having Luleå as their closest port didn't help them much during winter - as the port of Luleå is packed with ice for three or four months. Therefore, they looked to the west - and the innermost part of the Ofot fjord seemed like an excellent place. They built a railroad, a town and a port - and Narvik was founded. It is the same Gulf Stream that helps us keep our port ice-free.

During WWII, Narvik played an important role. The German forces got their first defeat in all of WWII during the battle for Narvik (now why did they need Narvik: well, we use iron ore to make weapons, ey?). The allied forces recaptured the city after very heavy naval, aerial and ground battling. There is something like 50 wrecks of ships all around the fjord. Later on, the allied forces left - more important tasks awaited. The Germans got the city back and governed it all the way until 1945.

Traditionally, LKAB (mining co.) employed a very large percentage of the population. Today, effectivization has diminished this percentage quite a lot - and Narvik is now a city where people live off industries like transportation and IT. The corporations and shops do very well economically - two new shopping malls with a total of more than 100 shops opened with a margin of just a year. The government does not do that well - cuts in welfare are done every year now. This is partly due to too much bureaucracy in the past, when LKAB made Narvik a rich city, and the parliament's wish to centralize all decisions.

Narvik is a sporty city, with a 2. division soccer team for men and the excellent slalom pist as the two highlights. The slalom pist has many times been called Europe's most spectacular, and many off-pist skiers enjoy a good time in the slopes that end straight in the middle of the city.

The homepages of the city are http://www.narvik-kommune.no/. However you better practice your Norwegian if you decide to go there.

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