governor=Per Arne Olsen (FrP)
lat_deg=59| lat_min=17| lat_sec=53| lon_deg=10| lon_min=25| lon_sec=25
utm_zone=32V| utm_northing=6574122 |utm_easting=0581092| geo_cat=adm2nd

audio|Tonsberg.ogg|Tønsberg is a town and municipality in the county of Vestfold, Norway.

The town of Tønsberg was established as a municipality 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipality of Sem was merged with Tønsberg 1 January 1988.

The population of the entire urban area, regardless of municipality borders, and following the guidelines set by the national statistician agency, the SSB, was 46,862 as of 1 January 2008, making Tønsberg the tenth most populated city in Norway. Tønsberg is generally regarded as the oldest town in Norway.


According to Snorri Sturluson, Tønsberg was founded before the Battle of Hafrsfjord, which, according to Snorri, took place in 871. What year the battle took place is disputed, however, and most current historians believe the battle took place closer to 900. However, if the battle did in fact take place in 871, this would make Tønsberg the oldest present Scandinavian town.

Slottsfjellet (lit. "the Castle Mountain"), north of the city centre, makes for a near impregnable natural fortress. During the civil war of the 12th century, it was fortified by the Baglers. The Birkebeiners besieged it for 20 weeks in the winter of 1201 before the Baglers surrendered. In the 13th century, King Haakon Haakonson set up a castle in Tønsberg, Tønsberg Fortress. The town was destroyed by fire in 1536, but Tønsberg remained one of the most important harbour towns in Norway.

During the German occupation of Norway in World War II, the Berg concentration camp was constructed near Tønsberg. In 1948, Tønsberg became the cathedral city of the Diocese of Tunsberg ("Tunsberg bispedømme"), created when the counties of Buskerud and Vestfold were separated from the Diocese of Oslo.

The Norse form of the name was "Túnsberg". The first element is the genitive case of "tún" (n), meaning "fenced area". The last element is "berg" (n), meaning "mountain". The name originally referred to the fortifications on Slottsfjellet. The old spelling has been retained in the name of the diocese, "Tunsberg bispedømme". Tønsberg's coat-of-arms is a seal from the Middle Ages, and shows Tønsberg Fortress.


Tønsberg is still an industrial and maritime centre, with such diverse concerns as metal shops, shipyards, paper mills, leather processing, and breweries. It is noted especially for its silverware.

Tourist sites include ruins of the Tønsberghus, St. Michael's Church, the Royal Castle, Sem Church, and the Vestfold Museum. The Oseberg ship was found near the city in 1904. The longship is now in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. Perhaps the most important landmark in the town is the tower standing on the hill. It was erected in 1888 as a memorial to the old fortress, of which just fragmentary ruins remain today. Several streets in the town are named after old kings of Norway.

The city is served by the railway line Vestfoldbanen, which runs in a loop through the city before reaching Tønsberg Station.


footnote=Source: [http://www.ssb.no/english/subjects/02/02/folkendrhist_en/tables/tab/0704.html Statistics Norway] The municipality of Sem was merged with Tønsberg 1 January 1988.
As of 1 January 2007, the population of Tønsberg municipality was 37,493.Cite web|url=http://www.ssb.no/english/subjects/02/02/folkendrhist_en/tables/tab/0704.html|title=0704 Tønsberg og 0705 Tønsberg. Population 1 January and population changes during the year. 1951-|accessdate=2007-11-30|publisher=Statistics Norway|language=Norwegian] The population of the urban area, Norway's tenth most populous, was 46,091. 30,061 lived in Tønsberg municipality, while 16,030 lived in Nøtterøy municipality. The urban area extends from Eik in the north, to Tolvsrød, Vallø and Ringshaug in the east and Borgheim on Nøtterøy in the south. Tønsberg municipality contains four additional urban areas; Sem, with 2,147 inhabitants of which 2,100 live in Tønsberg and 47 live in Stokke, Barkåker, with 1,292 inhabitants, Åsgårdstrand, with 2,847 inhabitants - 2,794 in Horten and 53 in Tønsberg, and Vear, with a population of 3,502 of which 2,263 live in Stokke and 1,239 live in Tønsberg.Cite web|url=http://www.ssb.no/english/subjects/02/01/10/beftett_en/tab-2007-06-07-01-en.html|title=Urban settlements. Population and area, by municipality. 1 January 2007|accessdate=2007-11-30|publisher=Statistics Norway|language=Norwegian]

Famous residents

*Anders Aukland, the six-time winner of the world championship in cross country skiing, was born in the Husvik area in Tønsberg in 1972.Fact|date=October 2007
*Jahn Teigen, the lead singer of Popol Ace (formerly Popol Vuh), came from Tønsberg.
*Lene Nystrøm, formerly of Aqua, was born here.
*Seigmen, a Norwegian alternative rock band, comes from Tønsberg.
*DJ Ravi is born and raised in the town.
*Odd Børretzen, a Norwegian writer and artist lives outside Tønsberg.
*Marion Raven, a Norwegian singer, lives outside Tønsberg.
*Lise Karlsnes, a Norwegian singer from the band Briskeby
*Hjalmar Andersen, Winter Olympic champion in speedskating 1952
*Ronny Johnsen, professional footballplayer (Manchester United), lives in Tønsberg

Twin towns

Tønsberg and Covarrubias in Spain have entered a friendship agreement as the result of an old connection through Princess Kristina of Norway. In addition, Tønsberg has four twin towns, all in the Nordic region:
* Joensuu, Finland
* Ísafjörður, Iceland
* Roskilde, Denmark
* Linköping, Sweden


External links

* [http://www.tonsberg.kommune.no/cms/cms.nsf/pages/english.html Municipality website] en icon
* [http://www.ssb.no/kommuner/0704 Statistics from Statistics Norway] no icon

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