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Ålesund is a city and municipality in the county of Møre og Romsdal, Norway. It is a sea port, 236 km north northeast of Bergen, and is noted for its unique concentration of Jugendstil architecture. (the German name of Art Nouveau)
Ålesund was established as a municipality January 1, 1838. Borgund was merged with Ålesund January 1, 1968. Sula was separated from Ålesund January 1, 1977


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The name

The Norse form of the name was Álasund. The first element is (probably) the plural genitive case of áll m 'eel', the last element is sund n 'strait, sound'.
Until 1921 the name was written Aalesund.


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Ålesund occupies seven of the outer islands of the west coast, Hessa, Aspøy and Nørvøy, Oksenøy, Ellingsøy, Humla and Tørla which enclose the picturesque town. Ålesund has a pronounced maritime climate with mild and windy winters; the coldest month of the year, January, has a mean temperature of 1.3°C; (34°F). The coldest temperature ever recorded at Ålesund Airport, Vigra is a mere -11 °C (12 °F). Ålesund received city rights in 1848. It is the administrative center as well as the principal shipping-place of the Sunnmøre district, and was one of the chief stations of the herring fishery in the 1950s and 1960s. Ålesund's conurbation have a population of 45.299.


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View from Aksla onto Ålesund.Legend has it that Gangerolf, outside of Norway better known as Rollo, the 10th century founder of the dynasty of the dukes of Normandy, comes from the community of Giske, north west of Ålesund.


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The town of Art Nouveau

In the night of January 23, 1904, the town was the scene of the Ålesund Fire, one of the most terrible of the many conflagrations to which Norwegian towns, once built largely of wood, have been subjected. Practically the whole town was destroyed, a gale aiding the flames, and the population had to leave the place in the middle of the night with only a few minutes' notice. Only one person died in the fire, but more than 10,000 people were left without shelter in the harsh Norwegian winter.

Jugendstilsenteret - The Art Nouveau Centre of Norway.Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany had often vacationed in Sunnmøre. After the fire, the Kaiser sent 4 ships with material to build temporary shelters and barracks. After a period of planning, the town was rebuilt in stone, brick and mortar in Jugendstil/Art Nouveau, the architectural style of the time, that is famous for its turrets, spires and decorative ornamentation. The structures were designed by approximately 20 masterbuilders and 30 Norwegian architects, mostly educated in Trondheim and Charlottenburg (Berlin), drawing inspiration from the style that varies much throughout Europe. The style was at its peak in Europe in 1895-1905 and visitors can enjoy a town with an unusually consistent architecture, mostly rebuilt between 1904-1907. At Jugendstilsenteret, a national interpretation centre, visitors can learn more about the town fire, the rebuilding of the town and the Art Nouveau style. Ålesund is a partner city of the Art nouveau network [1] a European network of co-operation created in 1999 for the study, safeguards and development of the Art nouveau.



Today Ålesund has one of the largest and important fishing harbors in Norway. Their fishing fleet is one of the most modern in Europe.
Ålesund and surroundings have a large furniture industry. Some well-known household items are manufactured here.
To the east of Ålesund is the village of Sykkylven. Here, Ekornes creates furniture such as the StressLess chair, sold all over the world.
At Håhjem, the Stokke group has its headquarters. Stokke has among other things created the chair TrippTrapp, an ingenious design built to last. It is easily changed to fit the child as it grows. Most homes in Norway have at least one.
Ålesund is also one of the harbours at which the Hurtigruten arrives two times per day. The Hurtigruten, once known as the post ship fleet of Norway, is a favorite way to travel along Norway's coast.


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Copyright © 2007, Hanspeter Hochuli, Ennetburgen, Switzerland
last updated:  20.07.2007


Send your e-mail with questions or suggestions about dreamlike to:
Copyright © 2007, Hanspeter Hochuli, Ennetburgen, Switzerland
last updated:  18.06.2016