Trondheim enjoys a special place in the history of Norway
To learn more about the history of Trondheim, why not join one of our authorized city guides on a guided tour?
Experience Trondheim's rich history up close in Nidarosdomen Cathedral or in the Archbishop's Palace Museum. Here, you will also get the opportunity to see the Crown Regalia up close. Get a feeling of Trondheim's thousand year old long heritage by taking a walk down the old streets, «veiter», which will take you back to the Middle Ages.
The Trondheim Rose
The rose, in a variety of different designs, has been in use since the Middle Ages as a symbol of Trondheim. The five-leaf rose that we know today from the city flag, has been used as the seal of the city since the 18th century.
It all started with the Vikings
Trondheim was founded in the year 997 by the Viking king Olav Tryggvason. Archaeological excavations in the area have, however, proved there to have been settlements along the River Nidelven also before 997. Trondheim was the capital of Norway from 1030 to 1217. The city celebrated its millennium in 1997.
The city saw a number of important changes and developments at the end of the 1000s. A stone church was erected on the burial place of Saint Olav, where Nidarosdomen Cathedral is today. A bridge was later built to connect the two banks of the river Nidelven, where the Elgeseter Bridge is today.
When the Nidaros Archbishopric was established in 1152, the city experienced a considerable increase in size and population. There were around 20 churches in the city centre of Trondheim in the 13th century. The city also played host to a number of different monasteries, such as Elgeseter, Bakke and Munkholmen.
Trondheim and its buildings were devastated by two major fires in 1219 and later in 1295.
The city was marked by a stagnation of growth and another two fires, in 1481 and 1531, in the Late Middle Ages. This marked a decline in the city’s fortunes. Norway's last Archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson, was based in Trondheim and tried to prevent and limit the Danish influence on the country. This opposition eventually led to Danish troops setting fire to the Archbishop's Palace and Nidaros Cathedral in 1531. The Reformation in 1537 saw the end of Trondheim's time in the sun as the religious capital of Norway.
Johan Caspar de Cicignon – the city planner
Commerce played a central part in 17th century Trondheim. The city started to expand westwards and this led to the first settlements at Bakklandet. The great fire in 1681, the “Hornemann's fire”, left the majority of the city's buildings in ruins and led the king, Christian V, to order the development of a brand new planning for the city in order to prevent any more fires. The Luxembourgian Major General, Johan Caspar de Cicignon, was given this task. He created a plan of the city based on broad, straight streets and a great market place in the middle.
In spite of this new city plan, the city still saw a number of great fires throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. A decree ordering bricks to be the only building material in the city centre was suggested but remained undecided for quite a while. Consequently, a number of buildings were rebuilt in wood after the fires. Many of Trondheim's wooden buildings still standing today can be dated back to the middle of the 19th century.
After the Second World War, the city's older wooden buildings had to give room for new and modern commercial buildings. Cicignon's 17th century city plan is, however, still highly visible in today's Trondheim.
«The guide books are full of pictures of Trondheim's most important and well-known sights. But when I have visitors, however, I prefer to show them the hidden gems of the city. And they always appreciate it.» Trygve Bragstad