Nordland Røde Kors Krigsminnemuseum is the full name, in Norwegian, of this museum themed on World War II. Of course much of it is devoted to the battles in the Narvik Fjord of 1940, however there are many exhibits also about the German occupation of Norway, prisoner camps and other aspects of those terrible years. Here you will see lots of photographs, uniforms, weapons and various objects, including one of the famous Enigma machines that the German navy used to encrypt its messages and orders.
The museum is owned and run by the regional district of the Red Cross. Opening time is from 10:00 to 16:00
Entrance fee (adults): NOK 50.00, it is possible to pay in SEK as well
This small wood building you see in my picture dates back to the time when the town of Narvik was still named Viktorahavn and was not even a town yet. In the years when the railway was being built, i.e. in the 1890s, this was the post office.
My impression is that it looks as if it belonged to the American Far West, an impression I had also while looking at pictures of Narvik and its people during the years of the railway construction. I am referring to the pictures shown at the Ofoten Museum, which by the way is now the owner of the Old Post Office and is in charge of its preservation.
Watching the port of Narvik is like watching an enormous industrial machine at work. You see the trains arrive, with the iron ore from Kiruna, be efficiently emptied and go back to the iron mines. You see also the cargo ships that, loaded with the iron pellets, leave for all parts of the world.
Each train carries 4100 tons of mineral and there are 20 trains a day. At least these were the figures at the time of my visit to Narvik. A new storage system and other major changes in the port have been done in 2009 and 2010 increasing the quantity of iron ore handled on each day. Moreover, the construction of underground deposits and the new process should have a good effect on the environment by reducing considerably the noise and the dust.
In 1946 the Norwegian government drew a plan for the creation of war cemeteries and founded the War Graves Office to take care of the considerable number of bodies of foreign war dead on Norwegian territory, as well as of the graves of Norwegian combatants who had lost their lives abroad.
Narvik was one of the selected locations for war cemeteries because of the many deaths in this area, due to the terrible battles of 1940.
Soldiers and sailors from Britain and the British Commonwealth, from Poland, France and Germany now lie here, their tombs grouped by nationality. Among those buried in the French sector there are also men of other nationalities, because they were soldiers of the Foreign Legion, especially from a unit consisting of men who had joined the Legion after fighting as volunteers against Franco in Spain.
This small museum shows how Narvik developed from a small fishermen’s village into a small city with an important port. It happened mainly in the late 1800s and early 1900s with the construction of the railway to connect this seaport and the mines of iron ore in Kiruna.
Visitors can see models, pictures, old working tools and a documentary film about the construction of the railway. The building itself where the museum is situated is nice and interesting to see: it was built in 1902 as the administration building of the railway.
It is open all year round, from 10:00 to 15:00, closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Entrance fee (adults): NOK 40.00. It is possible to pay in SEK as well.
Narvik had a very tough time during the war. Because of its strategic port and access to Swedish iron ore mines, Narvik was highly contested at the outset of World War II. When the Germans invaded Norway in 1940, the Norwegians (with their British, French and Polish allies) fought a pitched battle to hold Narvik. After some initial success, France surrendered to Germany, the British were driven out, and the Norwegians were forced to capitulate. During the conflict, the British destroyed Narvik's port and railway with air attacks and Naval gunfire, destroying much of the town with them. Narvik was all but destroyed again in 1945, this time by the Germans as they retreated.
In the museum, you can follow Narvik's fate through the war, from the initial days of German "protection of Norwegian neutrality," to the brief liberation of Narvik, to the days of the Quisling regime, and finally to the triumphant return of Norwegian sovereignty in 1945. Most exhibits are in Norwegian, but you can borrow descriptions in English or German from the front desk.
Entry costs NOK 50 for adults, NOK 25 for children. The museum is open daily during the summer, until 9PM Monday-Saturday, until 6PM on Sunday. Hours are shorter off-season.
While most locals are very friendly, some are downright stone-faced. :)
To get answers to your questions, a good place to get started is the tourist office. It's located on Kongensgate, the main road -- not at all far from the train station, bus station, or ferry dock. Opening hours vary with season, but when it is open, you can get maps and good information about the town. You can access the Internet there, too -- it costs NOK 10 for 15 minutes.
A bit of an archaeological find in Narvik: a 3000 year old carving in rock just outside of a residential neighborhood of Narvik. The footing can be a bit slippery, but it is quite a fun walk to try and find it. You can get exact walking directions from the tourist office. If you're less adventurous, you can look at a replica of it in the Ofoten Museum.
One of the most amazing stories of World War II was the participation of the Polish Navy in the Battle of Narvik in 1940. Their homeland already overrun by the Nazis, the Polish sailors risked, and in many cases sacrificed, their lives in the vain effort to keep Norway from suffering the same fate as Poland.
One of the more noteworthy contributions of the Polish Navy was in the form of the Destroyer ORP Grom. The uncannily precise attacks by Grom gunners gave the invading Germans fits. Finally, to end the harassing bombardment once and for all, the Germans called in an air strike on the Polish vessel. The ship sank within minutes, taking 59 sailors with her. This statue and plaque are dedicated to the Grom crew, as well as to the bravery of all Polish sailors during the Battle of Narvik.
War Museum - like many other of this kind in Norway - has very rich exhibition concentrated on the mostly involved participants of the battle of Narvik - German, Polish, French forces. It is worth to plan at least 2-3 hour visit to see all exhibits. Some exhibitions have it's descriptions in the language of described force (like Polish / French / German).
If the weather is bad or if you do not want to hike visiting the War Museum is the best way to spend your day.
A good thing to do on a rainy day is to visit the Ofoten Museum, a member of the Museum Nord consortium. The museum has an eclectic collection of photos and memorobilia relating to Narvik and the construction of the Ofoten Railway. The exhibits are in Norwegian, but you can borrow booklets with descriptions in English or German.
Entry to the museum is NOK 40 for adults, NOK 20 for seniors and students. Children under 15 may enter free.
Opening hours are Monday - Friday 10AM - 3PM. During summer, the museum is also open Saturday and Sunday Noon - 3PM.
After all that walking, have tea, scones and strawberry jam in the living room at Breidablikk Gjestgiveri. You'll get an astounding view of Narvik from there..
For more details on how to get there, go to my Narvik webpage
As you walk down from the Central, you'll notice a row of colourful warehouses at the port side. Backed against a majestic mountain backdrop , it makes a pretty picture.
Check out my Narvik Webpage
As you walk through Narvik's Central Area, you'll notice a shiny memorial. It serves as reminder of her brave past during WWII. Yes this ice-free port was once a point of contention for the Nasty Nazis who couldn't wait to stop the supply of iron to the Allies. Well, they stormed in but the Allies kicked their asses out in a single day after 3 days of Nazi occupation. Other than this, there are war memorials in Narvik, erected to honour this heroic Allied effort.
Bpacker's Narvik Webpage
This building was originally a work-shed on the former Narvik farm. It was probably built during the second half of the 19th century. After the coming of the Ofoten Railway, the shed was used as post office for ten years from around 1888. The post office was known as Viktorahavn, in honor of Crown princess Viktoria of Sweden and the British Queen Victoria, The building, which is all the remains of the old Narvik farm, was pulled down in the mid-50s when LKAB's office block was about to be built. The building, which is owned by Ofoten Museum, was restored in 1991-92 by Narvik Adult Education Centre.
Text was written on the door of the old post office