Alta, Troms og Finnmark County, Norway

General information | Name | Churches | History | Government | Geography

🇳🇴 Alta is the most populated municipality in Finnmark in Troms og Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Alta. Some of the main villages in the municipality include Kåfjord, Komagfjord, Kvenvik, Langfjordbotn, Leirbotn, Rafsbotn, Talvik, and Tverrelvdalen.

Downtown Alta is located just below the 70th latitude and is closer to the North Pole than it is to much of Central Europe and the British Isles. The town is the northernmost settlement of urban significance in the European Economic Area, with municipalities north of it being sparsely populated. In spite of its high latitude the local climate is seldom severely cold thanks to Gulf Stream moderation in the prevailing wind. As a result of its shielded position leading to mild summers, the coastal areas of the municipality are warm enough to enable forestation. Due to Norway curving above its Nordic neighbours, Alta is located further east than almost all of Sweden and much of southern Finland. Being at a very high latitude, midnight sun and polar night are present for sizeable parts of the year.

The 3,850-square-kilometre (1,490 sq mi) municipality is the 7th largest municipality by area out of the 356 municipalities in Norway. Alta is the 60th most populous municipality in Norway. The municipality's population density is 5.8 inhabitants per square kilometre (15/sq mi) and its population has increased by 9.7% over the previous 10-year period.


General information The municipality of Alten-Talvig was established on 1 January 1838 . On 1 January 1863, the municipality was divided into two: Talvik to the north and Alta to the south. On 1 January 1964, the two municipalities were merged back together to form the new, larger municipality of Alta. The borders have not changed since that time.

On 1 January 2020, the municipality became part of the newly formed Troms og Finnmark county. Previously, it had been part of the old Finnmark county.


Name The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the local Altafjorden. The name possibly comes from the Old Norse words ǫlpt or alpt which refer to a swan. It could also be the Norwegianization of the Finnish word (alaattia) which refers to a "lowland". Prior to 1918, the name was written Alten.


Churches The Church of Norway has two parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Alta. It is part of the Alta prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Nord-Hålogaland.


History The rock carvings at Alta, located near the Jiepmaluokta bay, dating from c. 4200 BC to 500 BC, are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The Komsa culture was named after Komsa Mountain in Alta municipality, where the first archeological remains of this culture were discovered.

In the aftermath of the Sami Kautokeino rebellion of 1852, rebel leaders Mons Aslaksen Somby and Aslak Jacobsen Hætta were decapitated at Elvebakken in what is now the town of Alta on 14 October 1854.

Their bodies were buried in graves just outside the Kåfjord Church graveyard in the village of Kåfjord in Alta, but their heads were sent on to the Anatomisk Institute at the University of Oslo, where they were kept for more than a century as part of the university's skull collections. The two skulls were only relinquished by the university in 1985, following a controversy and protests by Sami activists, and were in November 1997 buried at the Kåfjord Church in Alta, at the same spot as their bodies were buried over 140 years earlier.

During World War II, the German battleship Tirpitz used the Kåfjorden, an arm of Altafjorden, as a harbour, and was damaged here by attacking Allied warplanes. The town Alta was seriously destroyed by fire near the end of the World War II. It was rebuilt in subsequent years.

The Altasaken in 1979 made headlines for weeks, as many people (especially Sami people and environmentalists) demonstrated and used civil disobedience to prevent the building of a dam on the river Altaelva in order to produce hydropower. The dam was built, however, and the river still offers good salmon fishing. The King of Norway usually visits the river once in the summer to fish.

The urban area made up of Bossekop, Elvebakken, and Bukta, also known collectively now as the town of Alta, became a town on 1 January 2000. The population has been growing steadily for many years.


Government All municipalities in Norway, including Alta, are responsible for primary education (through 10th grade), outpatient health services, senior citizen services, unemployment and other social services, zoning, economic development, and municipal roads. The municipality is governed by a municipal council of elected representatives, which in turn elect a mayor. The municipality falls under the Alta District Court and the Hålogaland Court of Appeal.


Geography Alta is the second northernmost city in the world surpassing 10,000 inhabitants. Alta municipality covers 3,845 square km (1,485 square miles), in the west of the county, mostly situated along the Altafjord, taking in large tracts of woodlands, as well as parts of the High Plateau of Finnmarksvidda. On its way from the plateau down to the fjord, the river Altaelva has carved out the Sautso canyon, one of the largest canyons in Europe. The large Altafjorden has several notable bays and fjord arms that branch off from it including Langfjorden, Jiepmaluokta, Kåfjorden, and Lille Kufjorden.

Alta is based on the mainland of Norway, but it also includes parts of the islands of Stjernøya and Seiland. Seiland is the home of Seiland National Park where the Seilandsjøkelen glacier and the mountain Seilandstuva are located.

Several of the notable lakes in Alta include Iešjávri, Juovvajávri, Kovvatnet, and Stuorajávri.


Alta has a population of over 20,789 people. Alta also forms the centre of the wider Troms og Finnmark County which has a population of over 242,168 people.

To set up a UBI Lab for Alta see: Twitter:

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Alta has links with:

🇷🇺 Apatity, Russia 🇸🇪 Boden, Sweden 🇫🇮 Oulu, Finland
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

Antipodal to Alta is: -156.729,-69.968

Locations Near: Alta 23.2715,69.9681

🇸🇪 Gällivare 20.66,67.13 d: 332.9  

🇳🇴 Tromsø 19.411,69.565 d: 155  

🇫🇮 Rovaniemi 25.725,66.497 d: 398.9  

🇫🇮 Kemi 24.562,65.735 d: 473.7  

🇸🇪 Luleå 22.15,65.583 d: 489.8  

🇫🇮 Oulu 25.478,65.016 d: 558.5  

🇸🇪 Skellefteå 20.95,64.75 d: 588.6  

🇫🇮 Ylivieska 24.533,64.067 d: 658.5  

🇫🇮 Kokkola 23.131,63.839 d: 681.6  

🇫🇮 Jakobstad 22.704,63.673 d: 700.4  

Antipodal to: Alta -156.729,-69.968

🇹🇴 Nuku'alofa -175.216,-21.136 d: 14447  

🇵🇫 Papeete -149.566,-17.537 d: 14164.6  

🇦🇸 Pago Pago -170.701,-14.279 d: 13747.3  

🇼🇸 Apia -171.76,-13.833 d: 13686.2  

🇨🇱 Punta Arenas -70.91,-53.162 d: 15575.7  

🇨🇱 Coyhaique -72.067,-45.567 d: 14887  

🇨🇱 Port Montt -72.933,-41.467 d: 14514.4  

🇨🇱 Puerto Montt -72.933,-41.467 d: 14514.4  

🇨🇱 Osorno -73.133,-40.567 d: 14432.3  

🇨🇱 Valdivia -73.233,-39.8 d: 14359.6  

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