Molde kommune
—  Municipality  —
Eastward view of Molde. Molde Cathedral (left).

Coat of arms

Møre og Romsdal within
Molde within Møre og Romsdal
Coordinates: 62°45′23″N 7°14′19″E / 62.75639°N 7.23861°E / 62.75639; 7.23861Coordinates: 62°45′23″N 7°14′19″E / 62.75639°N 7.23861°E / 62.75639; 7.23861
Country Norway
County Møre og Romsdal
District Romsdal
Administrative centre Molde
 - Mayor (2003) Jan Petter Hammerø (H)
 - Total 363.12 km2 (140.2 sq mi)
 - Land 355.93 km2 (137.4 sq mi)
 - Water 7.19 km2 (2.8 sq mi)
Area rank 254 in Norway
Population (2010)
 - Total 24,795
 - Rank 35 in Norway
 - Density 69.7/km2 (180.5/sq mi)
 - Change (10 years) 4.6 %
Demonym Moldenser[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1502
Official language form Neutral
Data from Statistics Norway

About this sound Molde is a city and municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. It is part of the Romsdal region. The municipality is located on the Romsdal Peninsula, surrounding the Fannefjord and Moldefjord. The city is located on the northern shore of the Romsdalsfjord on the Romsdal Peninsula.

The city of Molde is the administrative center of Møre og Romsdal county, the administrative center of the municipality of Molde, the commercial hub of Romsdal, and the headquarters of the Diocese of Møre. Other main population centers in the municipality include Hjelset, Kleive, and Nesjestranda.

Molde has a maritime, temperate climate, with cool-to-warm summers, and relatively mild winters.

It is an old settlement which emerged as a trading post in the late Middle Ages. Formal trading rights were introduced in 1614, and the city was incorporated through a royal charter in 1742. Molde was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt)

The city continued to grow throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, becoming a center for Norwegian textile and garment industry, as well as the administrative center for the region, and a major tourist destination.

After World War II, Molde experienced accelerated growth, merging with Bolsøy and parts of Veøy on 1 January 1964, and has become a center for not only administrative and public services, but also academic resources and industrial output.



Illustration of Molde, painting by Nico Wilhelm Jungmann, 1904

The medieval township on Veøya, an island outside present day Molde, was first mentioned by the historian Snorri Sturluson as the location of the Battle of Sekken in 1162, where king Håkon the Broad-shouldered was killed fighting the aristocrat Erling Skakke, during the Norwegian civil wars.

However, settlement in the area can be traced much further back in time—evidence given by two rock slabs carved with petroglyphs found at Bjørset, west of the city centre.

At the eve of the 15th century, Veøy had lost most of its influence, and the island was eventually deserted. However, commercial life in the region was not dead, and originating from the two settlements at Reknes and Molde (later Moldegård), a minor port called Molde Fjære (Molde Landing) emerged, based on trade with timber and herring to foreign merchants.

Molde's main street and commercial center. Molde Cathedral (orange roof on far right) with its freestanding bell tower replaces the church that was destroyed during World War II

The town gained formal trading rights in 1614. During the Swedish occupation of Middle Norway, 1658–1660, after Denmark-Norway's devastating defeat in the Northern Wars, the town became a hub of resistance to the Swedes. After the rebellion and liberation in 1660, Molde became the administrative headquarter of Romsdalen Amt and was incorporated through a royal charter in 1742. Molde continued to grow throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries, becoming a center for Norwegian textile and garment industry. Tourism became a major industry: Molde saw notabilities such as the German emperor Wilhelm II of Germany and the Prince of Wales as regular summer visitors. Molde consisted of luxurious hotels surrounding an idyllic township with quaint, wooden houses, lush gardens and parks, esplanades and pavilions, earning it the nickname the Town of Roses. This was interrupted when one third of the city was destroyed in a fire on 21 January 1916. However, Molde recovered and continued to grow in the economically difficult interbellum period.

A second fire, or series of fires, struck from the German air-raids in April and May 1940, and destroyed about two thirds of the town. Molde was the capital of Norway for a week after King Haakon, Crown Prince Olav, and members of the government and parliament arrived at Molde on April 23, after a dramatic flight from Oslo. They were put up at Glomstua, at the western outskirt of the town. The Norwegian gold reserve was also conveyed to Molde, and was hidden in a clothing factory.

However, German intelligence was well aware of what was going on, and on April 25 the Luftwaffe started a series of intense attacks. For a week the air-raid siren on the chimney of the dairy building announced the repeated attacks. April 29 turned out to be the worst day in the history of Molde, as the remainder of the town was transformed into a sea of flames by incendiary bombs. Until then the church had escaped undamaged, but in the final sortie a firebomb got stuck high up in the tower, and beautiful wooden church was obliterated by fire.

After World War II, Molde experienced tremendous growth. As the modernization of the Norwegian society accelerated in the post-reconstruction years, Molde became a center for not only administrative and public services, but also academic resources and industrial output. After the consolidation of the town itself and its adjacent communities in 1964, Molde became a modern city, encompassing most branches of employment, from farming and fisheries, through industrial production, to banking, higher education, tourism, commerce, health care, and civil administration.


The city of Molde was established as a urban municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). It was surrounded by the rural municipality of Bolsøy. On 1 July 1915, a part of Bolsøy (population: 183) was transferred to Molde. On 1 January 1952, another part of Bolsøy (population: 1,913) was transferred to Molde. On 1 January 1964, the urban municipality of Molde (population: 8,289) was merged together with the Sekken, Veøya, and Nesjestranda part of Veøy (population: 756), all of Bolsøy municipality (population: 7,996), and the Mordal area of Nord-Aukra (population: 77) to form a new, larger Molde municipality.[2]


The city is named after the original settlement on the farmstead of Molde (Old Norse: Moldar). The name is the plural form of either mold which means "fertile soil" or moldr which means "skull" or "mold" (thus in reference to the rounded peaks in Moldemarka).[3]

Pronunciation varies between the standard Molde and the rural Molle. A person from Molde will refer to him/herself as a Moldenser.


The coat-of-arms was granted on 27 June 1742. The arms show a whale chasing herring into a barrel, symbolizing the founding industries of the city: the export of fish and timber. Molde was never a whaling port; the image is merely a repesentation of the whale chasing (and not following) the schools of fish into the fjords at certain times of the year.

Although the fjord outside Molde has schools of both pilot whales and orca, the whale depicted is a baleen whale, which is no longer found in the area.[4]


View of Molde from the Molde archipelago.

Molde proper consists of a 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) long and 1 to 2 kilometres (0.62 to 1.2 mi) wide strip of urban land running east-west along the north shore of the Moldefjord, an arm of the Romsdalsfjord, on the Romsdal peninsula. The town is sheltered by Bolsøya and the Molde archipelago, a chain of low-lying islands and islets, and the wood-clad hills to the south. The town center is located just west of the river Moldeelva, which runs into the town from the north, originating in the Moldevatnet lake, through the valley Moldedalen. Despite the river being minor and seasonal, it supported several sawmills in the 16th and 17th centuries. This gave rise to the town itself through a combination of a good harbor, proximity to the sea routes, vast timber resources, and a river capable of supporting mills. In 1909, the river housed the first hydro electric power plant capable of providing sufficient electricity for the town. The upper reaches of the river still provides drinking water for most of the city.

The panoramic view of some 222 partly snow-clad peaks, often called the Molde panorama, is famous, having been one of the attractions drawing tourists to the town in the 19th century. Molde is nicknamed the Town of Roses, a name which originated during Molde's era as a tourist destination of international fame in the late 19th century.

Neighboring municipalities are Aukra, Gjemnes, Nesset, Eide, Averøy, and Midsund, and neighboring towns and townships are Åndalsnes in Rauma, Elnesvågen in Fræna, and Vestnes.


Molde has a maritime, temperate climate, with cool-to-warm summers, and relatively mild winters. The annual precipitation is medium high, with an average of 1,640 millimetres (65 in) per year. The warmest season is late summer. Molde holds the national high for the month of October, with 25.6 °C / 78.1 °F (on 11 October 2005). The driest season is May–June.[5] Due to its geographic location, Molde experiences frequent snowfalls in winter, but this snow is usually wet as the winters are usually mild.

A natural phenomenon occurring in Molde and the adjacent district, are frequent winter days with temperatures above 10 °C (50 °F), sometimes even above 15 °C (59 °F). This is due to foehn wind from south and south-east. Combined with a steady influx of warm, moist south-westerly winds from the Atlantic Ocean, warmed by the Gulf stream, it gives Molde a climate much warmer than its latitude would indicate. The sheltered location of the city, facing south with hills to the north, mountains to the east and mountainous islands to the west, contributes to Molde's climate and unusually rich plant life, especially among species naturally growing on far lower latitudes, like maple, chestnut, oak, tilia (lime or linden), beech, yew, and others.

Points of interest

Salmon, sea trout and sea char are found in the rivers of the area, especially the Rauma, Driva, and Eira, already legendary among the British gentry in the mid-19th century.[citation needed] Trout is abundant in most lakes. Cod, pollock, saithe, mackerel and other species of saltwater fish are commonly caught in the Romsdalsfjord, both from land and from boat. Skiing is a popular activity among the inhabitants of Molde in the winter, on groomed tracks, in resorts or by own trail. There are several popular rock climbing, ice climbing, bouldering, glacier and basejumping areas in the immediate surroundings of Molde.

The Atlantic road was voted the Norwegian Construction of the Century in 2005. It is built on bridges and landfills across small islands and skerries, and spans from the small communities of Vikan and Vevang to Averøy, an island with several historic landmarks, such as the Bremsnes cave with Mesolithic findings from the Fosna culture, the medieval Kvernes stave church, and Langøysund, now a remote fishing community, but once a bustling port along the main coastal route. Langøysund was the site of the compromise between King Magnus I and the farmers along the coast in 1040. The compromise is regarded as Norway's Magna Carta, and is commemorated though the Pilespisser (English: Arrowheads) monument.

Trollkirka (English: lit. Troll Church) is a marble grotto leading up to an underground waterfall. The grotto is situated 30 minutes outside Molde, followed by a 1 hour hike up a steep trail. Trollveggen is Europe’s tallest vertical, overhanging mountain face,[citation needed] with several very difficult climbing routes. Trollstigen is the most visited tourist road in Norway. The road twists and turns its way up an almost vertical mountainside through 11 hairpin bends to an altitude of 858 m (2,814.96 ft). Mardalsfossen is the highest waterfall in Northern Europe and the fourth highest waterfall in the world, cascading 297 metres down into the valley. The total height of the waterfall is 655 m (2,148.95 ft).

Bud is a fishing village on the very tip of the Romsdal peninsula. It gained importance during the Middle Ages as a trading post, and hosted the last free Privy Council of Norway in 1533, a desperate attempt to save the country's independence and stave off the Protestant Reformation, led by Olav Engelbrektsson, archbishop of Nidaros (today Trondheim). The massive Ergan coastal defences, a restored German coastal fort from World War II, and a part of the Atlantic Wall, is situated in Bud. The fishing communities of Ona, Bjørnsund and Håholmen are located on remote islands off the coast, only accessible by boat or ferry.

View from the top of Varden


Moldemarka, the hilly woodland area north of the city, is public land. The area has a network of paths, walking trails and skiing tracks. Forest roads enter the area from several directions. There are bulletin boards with maps and information about local plants and wildlife, as well as signposts along the trails. Marked trails lead to a number of peaks, sites and fishing lakes and rivers. A fishing permit is required to fish in the lakes.

Varden, 407 metres (1,335 ft) above sea level is a viewpoint directly above Molde, with a good view of the city, the fjord with the Molde archipelago and the Molde panorama.


Hurtigruta visits Molde every day, on its journey between Bergen and Kirkenes. The closest railway station is Åndalsnes, the terminus for Raumabanen.

The city's airport at Årø has several daily flights to Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim, as well as weekly flights to other domestic and international destinations.


The seaward approach to Molde is dominated by the sixteen-storied Rica Seilet Hotel.

Three of the four great Norwegian authors spent time, stayed or lived in Molde. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson spent his childhood years at Nesset outside Molde, and attended school in the city. Henrik Ibsen frequently spent his vacations at the mansion Moldegård, visiting the family Møller, and Alexander Kielland resided in the city as the governor of Romsdals amt. Ibsen's play Rosmersholm is inspired by the life at Moldegård, and The Lady from the Sea is also set in the city of Molde, although never being mentioned by name. Other authors from or with ties to Molde include Edvard Hoem, Jo Nesbø, Knut Ødegård, and Nini Roll Anker, a friend of Sigrid Undset.

The Romsdal Museum, one of Norway's largest folk museums, was established in 1912. Old buildings originating from all over the region have been moved here to form a typical cluster of farm buildings including "open hearth" houses, sheds, outhouses, smokehouses and a small chapel. The "town street" with Mali's Café shows typical Molde town houses from the pre-World War I period. The Museum of the Fisheries is an open air museum located on the island of Hjertøya, 10 minutes from the center of Molde. A small fishing village with authentic buildings, boats and fishing equipment, the museum shows local coastal culture from 1850 onwards.

The local newspaper is Romsdals Budstikke.[6]


The Church of Norway has five parishes within the municipality of Molde. It is part of the Diocese of Møre and the Molde domprosti (Deanery).

Churches in Molde
Church Name Year Built Location
of the Church
Molde Molde domkirke 1957 Molde
Bolsøy Røbekk kirke 1898 Røbekk
Nordbyen kirke 2006 Molde
Bergmo kirke 1982 Molde
Kleive Kleive kirke 1858 Kleive
Røvik og Veøy Røvik kirke 1905 Røvika
Veøy kirke 1907 Sølsnes
Veøy gamle kirke c. 1200 Veøya
Sekken Sekken kyrkje 1908 Sekken


The Moldejazz jazz festival is held in Molde every July. Moldejazz is the largest and oldest jazz festival in Europe, and one of the most important. An estimated 40,000 tickets are sold for the more than a hundred events during the festival. Between 80,000 and 100,000 visitors visit the city during the one-week long festival.

Every August, Molde and Nesset are hosts to the Bjørnson Festival, an international literature festival. Established by the poet Knut Ødegård in connection with the 250-year anniversary of Molde, the festival is named in honour of the Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832–1910). It is the oldest and the most internationally acclaimed literature festival in Norway.

In addition to the two major events, a number of minor festivals are held annually. Byfest, the city's celebration of itself, is an arrangement by local artists, coinciding with the anniversary of the royal charter of 29 June 1742.


Molde University College offers a wide range of academic opportunities, from nursing and health related studies, to economics and administrative courses. The school is one of Norway's leading colleges in research and academic programs in information technology,[citation needed] logistics and transport economics,[citation needed] with degrees up to and including PhD.

Molde University College is also one of the country's leading institutions in international student exchange and programs conducted in English.[citation needed]


Molde hosts a variety of sports teams, most notably the football team, Molde FK, which is playing in the Norwegian Premier League. Home matches are played at Aker stadion, inaugurated in 1998, which holds a record attendance of 13,308. The team are the reigning league champions, are two-time Norwegian Cup winners (1994 and 2005), and has numerous appearances in European tournaments, including the UEFA Champions League. The club was founded in 1911, during Molde's period of great British and Continental influx, and was first named "International", since it predominantly played teams made up from crews of foreign vessels visiting the city. Ole Gunnar Solskjær is their current manager and they captured the league title in 2011 for the first time in their history.

In addition to a number of international players, the city has also produced several ski jumpers, cross-country and alpine skiers of international merit.

Other sports include the accomplished team handball clubs (SK Træff, SK Rival), athletics teams (IL Molde-Olymp), skiing clubs, basketball and volleyball teams.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Molde has five sister cities. They are:

Notable residents

International footballers/soccer players



External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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