is a town and municipality
in the county
, globally known for hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics
The town of Lillehammer was established as a municipality 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipality of Fåberg was merged with Lillehammer 1 January 1964.
The city centre is a well-preserved late 19th century concentration of wooden houses, which enjoys a picturesque location overlooking the northern part of lake Mjøsa and the river Lågen, surrounded by mountains. The main street is excellent for people-watching, shopping and dining.
The coat of arms
is from 1898. It shows a birkebeiner
. (See Birkebeinerrennet
Lillehammer is located to the south of Øyer, to the southeast of Gausdal, northeast of Nordre Land and to the north of Gjøvik, all municipalities in Oppland. To the southeast it is bordered by Ringsaker municipality in Hedmark county. Lillehammer has a relatively dry inland climate (1).
The area has been settled since the Norwegian Iron Age. It is mentioned in the old sagas as "Litlikaupangr" ('the small trading place') and as "Litlihamarr" ('the small Hamar' - to distinguish it from the town and the bishopric of Hamar
). It is also mentioned as a site for council in 1390. It had a lively market by the 1800s, and obtained rights as a merchant city
on 7 August 1827, at which point there were 50 registered residents within its boundaries.
Lillehammer was the site of the Lillehammer affair in 1973 where operatives of the Israeli Mossad shot and killed a Moroccan waiter they mistakenly thought was involved in the Munich Massacre.
Lillehammer was host city of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games. It is known for being a typical venue for winter sporting events. It is now bidding for the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics.
In 2005, the popular British automotive show Top Gear aired its "Winter Olympics" special, an episode of various Olympic event-themed challenges involving cars, set in the surrounding area of Lillehammer.
The basis for the city's commerce is its position as the northernmost point of the lake Mjøsa
and as the gateway for the Gudbrandsdal landscape
, through which the historical highway to Trondheim
passes. The Mesna
river has provided the basis for several small industries through the years.
One of the major Norwegian rail lines, the Dovrebanen runs from Hamar to the north through Lillehammer on its way up the Gudbrandsdal, to terminate in Trondheim.
The E6 highway passes through Lillehammer.
A number of schools are located in Lillehammer including:
In addition to the Olympic site, Lillehammer offers a number of other tourist attractions:
- Maihaugen, centrally located in Lillehammer, is the largest open-air museum in Norway, with 185 buildings, mostly from Lillehammer town and the valley of Gudbrandsdalen.
- Especially attractive are
- *Garmo stave church (built around 1150)
- Sigrid Undset lived in Lillehammer at her home 'Bjerkebæk' from 1919 through 1940. She brought her children with her for a short rest, planning on returning to Oslo. However, she chose to remain in Lillehammer. She wrote her most famous works there: the three-volume "Kristin Lavransdatter", the six-volume "Sverkholt tales", and the four-volume "Olav Audunssønn". In 1940, because she had expressed strong anti-Nazi sentiments since the early 30s, she fled Lillehammer before the German invasion of Norway reached there. She returned to Lillehammer after the war and died there in 1949. She is buried at the cemetery in Mesnali a nearby village.
- Toki Wartooth the rhythm guistarist of Dethklok from the Adult Swim show Metalocalypse fictionally hails from Lillehammer.
Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2004