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[ ˈtɔu̯ʂhau̯n ]

( Danish Thorshavn )
Byskilt Færøerne black white.svg
Tórshavn on the Faroe Islands map
position 62 ° 1 ′  N , 6 ° 46 ′  W Coordinates: 62 ° 1 ′ 0 ″  N , 6 ° 46 ′ 0 ″  W
12.410 (2014)
Commune Tórshavn
Post Code FO 100
Markatal 21-00-00
dative (in / from ...)
genitive (after ...)

í / úr Tórshavn
til Tórshavnar
coat of arms

Tórshavn [ ˈtɔu̯ʂhau̯n ] ( German  Thorshaven , Old Norse Þórshǫfn ; Danish Thorshavn , Faroese for short: Havn ) is the capital of the Faroe Islands and is located on the east coast of Streymoy . It has an area of ​​158 km².

As the political, economic and intellectual center of the country, the city offers far more infrastructure than one would expect in a comparably large central European town . The city used to be called the smallest capital in the world , but that is not correct.

The city's best- known motto is Tann deiliga Havn ("The beautiful Thorshaven"), which is also a song title.



The theophore name of the city comes from the Germanic god of thunder and lightning Thor (Faroese: Tórur ) and the Scandinavian word for port , havn . Tórshavn literally means: "Thor's port". In the Faroese language, the voiceless dental fricative / þ / mostly changed to / t /. The old Norse name Þórshöfn still lives on in Icelandic today.

Tórshavn is mostly just called Havn [ haːu̯n ] by the Faroese , which means simply “harbor”.

The city coat of arms shows the Thorshammer Mjölnir and thus announces the pre-Christian founding time of the place .

Geography and climate

Tórshavn is geographically in the center of the archipelago on the south east coast of the largest island Streymoy at 62 ° north latitude and 6 ° 45 'west longitude. The island of Nólsoy offshore to the east provides additional protection for the city's natural harbor. It is said that Tórshavn's development into a port city would have been unthinkable without the “breakwater” Nólsoy.

On the already humid Faroe Islands, Tórshavn is particularly vulnerable to fog.

The contiguous urban settlement area of ​​the city includes the places Argir in the south and Hoyvík in the north and on December 31, 2002 had exactly 17,064 inhabitants with a population density of 116 people / km². The municipality of Tórshavn extends over various other neighboring towns with around 1,400 additional inhabitants ( see there ).

To the north-west of the city rises the 345-meter-high mountain Húsareyn , southwest of the 351-meter-high Kirkjubøreyn .

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: wetterkontor.de
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Tórshavn
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 5.3 5.5 5.9 7.2 9.1 11.3 12.5 12.8 11.2 9.4 6.7 5.8 O 8.6
Min. Temperature (° C) 1.2 1.5 1.5 2.6 4.8 7.0 8.3 8.5 7.1 5.4 2.7 1.6 O 4.4
Precipitation ( mm ) 153 113 137 93 72 67 81 88 142 177 143 171 Σ 1,437
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 0.5 1.3 2.3 3.5 4.0 4.2 3.6 3.2 2.7 1.6 0.7 0.2 O 2.3
Rainy days ( d ) 22nd 17th 21st 16 13 12 13 13 18th 22nd 21st 22nd Σ 210
Water temperature (° C) 6th 5 6th 6th 8th 9 10 11 10 9 8th 6th O 7.9
Humidity ( % ) 90 89 89 87 88 88 90 90 90 90 89 90 O 89.2
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: wetterkontor.de


Tórshavn 1782
Tórshavn 1839

The city was first mentioned in a document in 1075 and is therefore probably the oldest capital in Northern Europe after London. The thing on the Tinganes peninsula here probably goes back to around 850. Norwegian refugees fled the tyranny of Harald I of Norway and settled here. In the year 1000, Christianity was accepted on the Thing due to the missionary work of Sigmundur Brestisson , as the Faroese saga tells.

From 1271, Norwegian rule was established with a monopoly trade over the Faroe Islands . The commercial agents subsequently settled in Tórshavn. Ships from Bergen regularly brought salt, grain and wood. The Munkastovan was built here under Bishop Erlendur .

Protestant Christianity was introduced in 1539.

In 1580, Magnus Heinason had the Skansin fortress built at the northern end of the harbor to protect against pirates. In 1673, under the crushing fork time, a major fire destroyed large parts of Tinganes. Valuable documents fell victim to the flames.

In 1709 the Danish crown took over the monopoly trade. In the same year, a smallpox epidemic hit the city, killing 250 of the 300 residents. Only with the Rybergs trade did Tórshavn develop into a city in the true sense of the word at the end of the 18th century. In 1856 the monopoly trade was lifted and Løgting moved into its current headquarters.

In 1866 the municipality of Tórshavn was formed and with it the first citizens' assembly of the place. Since then, Havn has officially been the capital of the Faroe Islands. On January 1, 1909, the city was granted the status of a Danish trading town . In 1927 the Tórshavn Havn was expanded and provided with a large quay wall. Since then, Tórshavn has had a real seaport.

During the British occupation of the Faroe Islands in World War II , Tórshavn and Skansin Fortress were the headquarters of the Royal Navy . Two sea cannons still bear witness to this today.

1974 Hvítanes was incorporated. Hoyvík followed in 1978, Argir 1997, Kollafjørður 2001 and in 2005 the municipalities of Nólsoy, Hestur and Kirkjubøur .

Population development

Bringsnagøta Alley 1899

Development of the population of the city (from 1975 municipality) Tórshavn (from 1989 to December 31) :

year Residents
1709 300
1801 554
1854 approx. 900
1900 1,656
1925 2,896
1950 5,607
1975 11,329
1980 12,641
1985 13,507
1990 14,689
year Residents
1995 13,781
1997 15,844
1998 16,121
1999 16,469
2000 17,777
2001 18,067
2002 18,420
2004 19,348
2005 19,806
2015 20,227

Economy and Transport

Tórshavn is a service and administrative center.

Tórshavn Harbor

No house in Tórshavn is as big as the Norröna ferry, which lies here in its home port and connects the Faroe Islands with the rest of the world.

Tórshavn is the most important trading and ferry port in the Faroe Islands and thus an international transport hub.

It is the home port of Norröna , a modern car ferry that went to Denmark , Norway , Shetland , Scotland and Iceland immediately after it went into operation . Since the trips to Shetland and later to Scotland ( Scrabster ) as well as the detour to Bergen (Norway) turned out to be unprofitable, since January 2009 the Norröna has only served the Denmark – Faroe Islands – Iceland route. Between Denmark and the Faroe Islands, the line operates twice a week in summer and once a week to Iceland. In the winter months, the route between the port of Hirtshals in Denmark and Tórshavn is only served once a week. Cruise ships are often also moored in port for a short stay.

The regional ferry traffic to Nólsoy and Suðuroy is handled by Strandfaraskip Landsins . The traffic to Hestur and Sandoy now runs overland to Gamlarætt on the west coast, from where the passage to the sea has been considerably shortened.

The main location of the Faroese shipyard association Tórshavnar Skipasmiðja is located in the port .

Bus transport

Several city bus routes operate in Tórshavn, which extends over a relatively large area. Intercity buses also go from here, e.g. B. through the Vágar tunnel, which opened in 2002, to Vágar airport (travel time 1 hour). Since January 1, 2007, Tórshavner city buses have been running free of charge .


From the Bodanes Heliport ( ICAO code : EKTB), Atlantic Airways offers a helicopter line u. a. to Vágar Airport, Klaksvík ( ICAO code : EKKV ) and the island of Koltur . There is a helipad for rescue helicopters near Tórshavn Hospital .

Politics and administration

Tinganes Peninsula

In the middle of the harbor is the Tinganes peninsula with the Løgting , one of the oldest parliaments in the world, and the Faroese state government . Annika Olsen has been the city's mayor since January 1, 2017 .

The National Archive of the Faroe Islands has existed in Tórshavn since 1932 , initially a purely administrative archive.Today it also has the largest collection of literature in the Faroese language , the almost complete genealogical data of the island's population over the past 200 years, and takes on the task of training administrative staff. The Imperial Ombudsman in the Faroe Islands is based in the city center and represents the kingdom on site.

City administration

The Tórshavn City Council offers the following services relevant to visitors:

  • City library in the pedestrian zone,
  • Swimming pool at the Gundadalur sports center ,
  • Margarinfabrikkin youth center as a meeting point for making music and playing,
  • Gallery Smiðjan for hobby artists who would like to exhibit.

Town twinning

Tórshavn maintains town twinning with

as well as with


In the city

Memorial in the city park
  • During Ólavsøka on July 28th and 29th of each year, it is the most important festival in the country. During this time, most of the visitors are in the city.
  • The Tinganes peninsula with its narrow streets forms the oldest part of the city.
  • On the east bank of the harbor is the old Skansin fortress with its characteristic lighthouse.
Tórshavn Cathedral
  • The Tórshavn cathedral was built in 1788 and houses an altarpiece from 1647.
  • In the city ​​center is the pedestrian zone Niels Finsensgøta as a row of shops. There are also the city library and some book shops. The town hall, built in 1894, is located at the beginning and the tourist information office opposite. After a 5–10 minute walk north, you will reach the SMS shopping center , which opened in 1977 and is a medium-sized shopping center in a major European city.
  • The Tórshavner City Park is the largest "forest" on the Faroe Islands. A memorial in Tórshavner Stadtpark commemorates the 132 fishermen and sailors killed in the Faroe Islands in World War II 1940–1945. The smaller Viðarlundin í Kerjum forest extends a little above the town in the northwest .
  • Directly at the city park is the Catholic Marienkirche , a modern gem made of stone, glass and copper with stained glass by Tróndur Patursson .
  • The Faroe Islands Art Museum is home to the largest collection of Faroese art .
  • A little further north is the House of the North , it is not only the Faroe Islands' culture and congress center, but also an architectural highlight.
  • The University of the Faroe Islands at Park Viðarlundin á Debesartrøð is also worth seeing .
  • West of the city center, the modern Vesturkirkjan Church, consecrated in 1975, is worth seeing. Opposite is the Viðarlundin úti í Grið park .
  • To the northeast of this one arrives at the Svartifossur waterfall in the Hoydalar valley .
  • Tórsvøllur is the stadium where Faroese football has its most famous place.
  • Bars in the usual form in Germany are rather rare. Alcohol was strictly regulated in the Faroe Islands until 1992. Light beer is freely available. Strong beer and other alcoholic beverages are only available in the state wine and spirits monopoly stores as well as in restaurants etc. with a license. The classics are the Klubbin and the (currently closed) Vertshúsið Restorff (own brewery).
Hotel Føroyar in Tórshavn
  • The best restaurants are the fish restaurant Barbara, the traditional Hotel Hafnia right in the center, and the Merlot . The Koks restaurant, which has been awarded two Michelin Guide stars, has moved to Leynar, approx. 25 kilometers northwest of Torshavn.


Á, tann deiliga havn - Oh, beautiful Tórshavn . Sunrise over Nólsoy, in the foreground the modern Vesturkirkan (Western Church)
  • The small island of Nólsoy with its harbor is right in front of Tórshavn. The Ternan ferry goes there several times a day .
  • West of Tórshavn (easy hiking trail or on weekdays by city bus) you can reach the most historically important place in the Faroe Islands: Kirkjubøur with its ruined cathedral and the oldest house dating from the Viking Age, now a museum.
  • The renowned Hotel Føroyar is located slightly above the city on the old arterial road 10 towards the north over the mountains. From here you can enjoy a view of the whole city.
  • Today, drivers who want to go north use the more convenient route 50 on the west coast via Hvítanes and the tunnel behind Kaldbaksbotnur .

In addition to the consulates of various countries, there are museums , theaters , libraries , the university, a pedagogical college, the central hospital, hotels , restaurants and - a park. This park is the only type of forest in the Faroe Islands.

The architectural masterpiece and cultural center of the Faroe Islands is the House of the North ( Norðurlandahúsið ) , which was inaugurated in 1983, with its characteristic sod roof and bold architecture. It is run by the Nordic Council and is one of the most popular meeting places in town. The people of Tórshavn are very proud of this building and the events that take place there, such as the concerts of the Faroese Symphony Orchestra .


Tórshavn is the seat of the University of the Faroe Islands .



  • William Heinesen and John Davidsen: Tann deiliga Havn . Drawings by Ingálvur av Reyni . Tórshavn: HN Jacobsens Bokahandil, 1953, 1986 2 (Faroese)
  • William Heinesen: Fortællinger from Thorshavn / i udvalg og med forord af Erik Vagn Jensen. Copenhagen: Gyldendal , 1974 2 ; ISBN 87-00-78402-8 (Danish)
  • Jákup Pauli Gregoriussen : Tórshavn vár miðstøð og borg II: tekningar úr Havn . Velbastað: Forlagið í Støplum, 2000. ISBN 99918-914-4-7 (summaries in Danish and English)
  • Jens Pauli A. Nolsøe: Havnar søga 1 . Tórshavn: Tórshavnar Býráð, 2004; ISBN 99918-62-01-3 (City History Volume 1)
  • Jens Pauli A. Nolsøe: Havnar søga 2 . Tórshavn: Tórshavnar Býráð, 2004: ISBN 99918-62-02-1 (town history volume 2)

Web links

Commons : Tórshavn  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. YOUR TIMETABLE 2018. In: smyrilline.de. Smyril Line, accessed March 12, 2018 .
  2. ^ Tórshavn Welcome Card. In: visittorshavn.fo. VisitTórshavn, accessed January 14, 2014 .
  3. Getting around. In: visittorshavn.fo. VisitTórshavn, accessed December 29, 2016 .
  4. Vina og Samstarvsbýir. In: torshavn.fo. Tórshavnar Kommuna, accessed October 6, 2016 (Faroese).
  5. ^ Vanorter. In: mariehamn.ax. Mariehamns Stad, accessed October 6, 2016 (se).