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Kristiansand is a city, municipality and the county capital of Vest-Agder county in Southern Norway. Kristiansand municipality is the 5th largest in Norway with a population of 82,562 as of 1 April 2011. The Kristiansand urban area, entirely located in the municipality, had a population of 67,547 on 1 January 2009, and is thus the 8th largest urban area in Norway.In addition, the Statistics Norway (no:Statistisk Sentralbyra) counts that there are 4 other densely populated areas in the municipality: Skalevik (Flekkeroy) with a population of 2,635, Strai (Torridal) with a population of 1,332, Justvik with a population of 1,613 and Tveit with a population of 1,390 citizens (January 2009).

The city was named after its founder King Christian IV in 1641.The last element sand refers to the sandy headland the city was built on (see also Lillesand).The arms were granted on 8 December 1909 and are based on the oldest seal of the city, dating from 1643.In 1643 King Christian IV (of Denmark and Norway) granted the young city the right to use a seal with the Norwegian lion and the Royal crown.The crown indicates that the city was founded by the king.As the species of tree is not properly described, there are several images known with differently shaped trees.A second seal, from 1658, shows a tree with leaves and what looks like pine cones.

Kristiansand and the Agder counties usually have a lot of summer sunshine compared to most of Norway.There may be heavy snowfall in winter with south-southeasterly winds (snow record at Kjevik is 170 cm), but the snow rarely stays long at the coast; see climate.In the summer most locals go to the Fish Market, the Archipelago and Hamresanden Beach which is located near Kjevik airport (about 10 mins from the city centre).People from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the UK and other European countries also visit this beach in the summer during their travels.Near the city, there are deep woods.In Baneheia and at the previous Coastal artillery Fortress Odderoya, there are lighted ski trails and walking paths specially prepared for Wheelchair users.Two major rivers, Otra and Tovdalselva have the river mouths into Skagerak in Kristiansand.

Kristiansand is a home to many other festivals as well.A noteworthy example is the Protestfestival. It was launched in 2000 and takes place every September.Protestfestival aims to address apathy and indifference in politics, and is often referred to as "the small festival that asks the big questions". Debates, concerts and lectures are held at the festival combined with performance art and documentaries. Protestfestival claims to attract anarchists, communists, hippies as well as conservative Christians and capitalists and encourage communication among these radically different groups.The museum runs an extensive programme, which includes exhibitions of the permanent collection, temporary contemporary art-exhibitions and touring exhibitions to schools and child-care initiatives.

How to Reach

By Air

Kjevik Airport (IATA: KRS) is located 12 km (7 mi) north-east of the city. SAS runs 8 daily flights to Oslo, 6 to Bergen and 3 to Stavanger, as well as 3 daily flights to Copenhagen and a weekly flight to Alicante. Norwegian runs 3 daily flights to Oslo.Planes from Dutch airline KLM depart twice daily for Amsterdam.There are bus connections to the town centre for every arrival, both airport buses and local buses.The airport bus costs kr 80, kr 120 return.Local buses are to the left as you exit. No 35 and 36 to city centre Kvadraturen is kr 37 (Jun 08).Taxi to Kvadraturen is kr 280/350 in weekends.

By Train

Regional trains connect Kristiansand to other cities and towns along the Southern Railway Line (Sorlandsbanen).Up to 8 trains daily depart for Stavanger, while up to 6 daily trains leave for the country's capital, Oslo.The trip to Stavanger takes about 3 hours and the trip to Oslo between 4 1/2 to 5 hours.Trains both westwards towards Stavanger and eastwards to Oslo follow an inland route, meaning that travel to the towns along the coast is quite inconvenient by train.There are lots of nice forest views and rural settlements, though.The train station is situated right next to the town centre, the ferry terminal, and the bus terminal.

By Car

Kristiansand sits along the E18 highway from Oslo. The highway changes its name to E39 when it passes Kristiansand on its way to Stavanger. Route 9 starts in Kristiansand and takes you through the natural beauty of the Setesdal Valley to Haukeligrend on the Hardangervidda (Hardanger Plateau).

By Bus

The bus-connections to Oslo and the towns along the western shore of the Oslo Fjord is excellent. Nor-Way Bussexpress has 9 daily connections to Oslo, 4-7 buses while Lavprisekspressen runs twice daily. You are guaranteed a seat - if the bus is full, the bus company will add an extra bus. Lavsprisekpressen provides online ticketing only. These express busses are usually just as fast as the trains to Oslo. To towns such as Larvik, Tonsberg and Sandefjord you might arrive several hours later if you go by train. There's also infrequent express bus connections to Stavanger and up along the Setesdal, with connections to cities such as Bergen and Haugesund.

By Ferries

Ferry company Color Line operate car ferries to Denmark, 2 times each day (3 times on Saturday - Monday) to Hirtshals.The trip takes 3 hours and 15 minutes, with the brand new superspeed ferry services the route.Prices soar in the summer.

Key places to visit
Kristiansand Dyrepark, Agder Theatre, Quart Festival, Kristiansand Cannon Museum


Places to Visit

Kristiansand Dyrepark

The zoological garden just east of the city, has a wide selection of animals in, for the most part, natural habitats. This includes animals such as wolves, tigers, lions and the lynx.The Dyreparken draws many tourists and is the second most visited in Norway.The zoo is open 365 days while the amusement park is open during the summer season only.

Agder Theatre

Is a Norwegian theatre based in Kristiansand.It was established in 1991, and has been the regional theatre for Agder since 1995.Its first theatre director was Bentein Baardson, who led the theatre from 1991 to 1994.Alex Scherpf has been theatre director since 2005.

Quart Festival

The Quart Festival was an annual popular music festival that took place in Kristiansand, Norway in the beginning of July.It was the most visited music festival in Norway.It was first named Qvadradurmusivalen in 1991,but changed into the more ear-catching Quart Festival the following year. For several years Quart was the largest music festival in Norway, but went bankrupt in 2008 in part due to tough competition from the Hovefestivalen in Arendal and some Oslo-based festivals.

Kristiansand Cannon Museum

The Kristiansand Canon Museum is a large battery canon built by the Germans in WWII.It points over the sea to defend the coastline and was in service during World War 2 from 1940-45.It is the world's second largest land-based cannon (337 tonnes), with a 380 mm calibre and a range which extends half way to Denmark.The ammunition consisted of 3 parts. First the shell, 170 cm long and weighing 800 kg.Then a cartridge with 97.75 kg explosives, and then a charge of 114.25 kg explosives.The museum also has plenty of other material from WW II and even sell Norwegian military clothing.

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