Alta is the largest town in Finnmark County with its 19.000 inhabitants and some 1.800 students. Alta has a dry climate with sunny summers and plenty of snow in the winter, and is well suited for people with outdoor and sport interests. Average January temperature is -8,5° C, average July temperature is 13,5° C. Average annual precipitation is 400 mm, i.e. less than in the Sahara! Alta covers an area of 3840 square kilometres.
Mining and slate quarrying, fishing and agriculture provided the economic foundation of the municipality, although today the service sector is the largest employer. Alta has developed into the centre of Western Finnmark and North Troms. A good communication network is an important factor for such a development. There are several flights to Oslo daily, and the flight time is less than two hours.
Alta is a culturally rich municipality. The university college's 450-seat auditorium is often used for various cultural arrangements such as performances of plays, concerts and ballet. The auditorium is much used, for example during the Students' Week when there are student dramatic performances and rock shows.
Though much of student life is centred at the college, it's not more than a 5 minutes walk to Alta's new centre. Here you will find the shopping malls, the market place, cafés, restaurants and pubs. Alta’s students also have their own student house Studenthuset City, with several activities such as concerts, quiz, and discotheque and so on.
Places of interest
Hammerfest is the world's northernmost town, with a population of 9000. The town celebrated its 200th annivesary on the 17th of July 1987. It Covers an area of 884 square kilometres. Fishing has always been important for the community and many workers are employed by the industry. Tourism is another important industry and 350,000 tourists visit the town each year. Finnmark's central hospital is located in Hammerfest. Communications are well developed with an airport, and daily boat and bus services.
Hammerfest is a modern town with a rich and varied cultural life. There are sports clubs, an alpine centre, a choir, and a brass band. The college at Hammerfest is located near the hospital, about a 15 minutes walk from the towncentre, with a regular bus service. Hammerfest has a charming town centre with many shops, cafés, pubs, and restaurants. During the latest years Hammerfest has grown quickly. This is mainly due to Statoil's building of the Snøhvit plant for extraction, liquefaction and export of natural gas at Melkøya - the largest-ever industrial development in northern Norway.
Places of interest
Kirkenes, the “Capital of the Barents Region”, as it is called in Norway, is an old mining town with a population of some 6000 people, close to the Russian industrial settlement Nikel. The Norwegian government’s foreign policy, focusing on the High North areas, makes Kirkenes to a representative place of Norwegian-Russian co-operation. International institutions like the Barents Secretariat or the Barents Institute are located in Kirkenes, and the municipalities of South Varanger and Pechenga contracted a Twin Cities agreement in 2008. Taking into account time for crossing the border, it takes around four hours by car from Kirkenes to the city of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula.
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