Tromsø has been called the Gateway to the Arctic and the Paris of the North - two vastly yet fitting descriptions of the city. Clustered on the compact island of Tromsøya, this unique municipality of almost 70,000 is poised on the edge of the Arctic, and yet has an urbane, international feel. It's a place where lively city life blends seamlessly with spectacular natural surroundings, and where progressive social programmes and excellent international schooling options make it particularly welcoming to newcomers.
The city has long traditions being a main centre for the fishing industry, and today the town stands out as a knowledge and competence centre with a dynamic and cultural commercial life. Many activities are of a national and international character, aimed especially at the northern regions. Marine research associated with fisheries and fish farming enterprises are a cornerstone. However, marine biotechnology has become a steadily more important field together with other central research areas such as: geology, physics, medicine, and technology related to safety at sea.
With its reputation as the gateway to the High North, Tromsø is now home to the world’s northernmost university, established in 1968, the Norwegian Polar Institute and other important centres of research and education. Additionally, a new centre for international cooperation on climate and environmental research is being established, and the secretariat of the Arctic Council – which brings together all the Arctic states – is based in Tromsø. Since the beginning of the 1990s, Tromsø has played an active role in advancing cross-border cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region and has developed particularly close links to partners in Northwest Russia.
With the Barents Sea at its doorstep, the Norwegian government has made Tromsø its number one foreign policy priority. New opportunities are opening up in and around the Barents Sea, for example in the areas of petroleum and energy, marine bio-prospecting and life sciences, integrated, environmentally safe management of oceans, tourism and the utilization of new shipping lanes. Located 350 km north of the Arctic Circle, Tromsø’s research institutes and university features the kind of breath and expertise that have made the region a knowledge capital in the Arctic. The region’s vibrant business community is therefore well positioned to grasp these opportunities in cooperation with international partners.