| Finnmark University College|
Alta, Hammerfest, Kirkenes, Vadsø, Kautokeino
Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society, World Heritage Rock Art Centre - Alta Museum, Tirpitz Museum, Vardøhus Fortress, Stabbursdalen National Park
Finnmark (Northern Sami: , Finnish: ) is a county in the extreme northeastern part of Norway. By land, it borders Troms county to the west, Finland (Lapland region) to the south, and Russia (Murmansk Oblast) to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea (Atlantic Ocean) to the northwest, and the Barents Sea (Arctic Ocean) to the north and northeast.
The county was formerly known as Finmarkens amt or Vardøhus amt. Since 2002, it has had two official names: Finnmark (Norwegian) and Finnmárku (Sami language). It is part of the Sápmi region, which spans four countries, as well as the Barents Region, and is the largest and least populated county of Norway.
Situated at the northernmost part of continental Europe, where the Norwegian coastline swings eastward, Finnmark has always been an area where East meets West, in culture as well as in nature and geography. Vardø, the easternmost municipality in Norway, is located farther east than the cities of St. Petersburg and Istanbul.
In 1576, the King of Norway established Vardøhus len as a new administrative unit for the kingdom. In 1660, it became Vardøhus amt, a subordinate to the large Trondhjems stiftamt, based in Trondheim. In 1787, the island of Senja and the Troms area were transferred from Nordlandenes amt to Vardøhus amt. In 1866, the island of Senja and the Troms area were separated from Vardøhus to form the new Tromsø amt. In 1919, the name was again changed to Finnmark fylke. In 2002, the Sami language name, Finnmárku, was added as a co-official name for the county.
Per Fugelli has said that World War Two resulted in many persons acquiring psychiatric disorders (psykiske senskadene) which could be from experiencing "bombing, accidents involving mines, burning down of homes, forcible evacuation, illness and starvation during the war and liberation. But it was maybe in particular the treatment of Russian prisoners that left marks on the local population."
Finnmark is the northernmost and easternmost county in Norway (Svalbard is not considered a county). By area, Finnmark is Norways largest county; even larger than the neighboring country of Denmark. However, with a population of about 75,000, it is also the least populated of all Norwegian counties. Finnmark has a total coastline of 6,844 kilometres (4,253 mi), including 3,155 kilometres (1,960 mi) of coastline on the islands. Nearly 12,300 people or 16.6 percent of the countys population in 2000 was living in the 100-meter belt along the coastline.
Knivskjellodden in Nordkapp Municipality (on the island of Magerøya) sometimes considered the northernmost point of Europe (on an island); Kinnarodden on Nordkinn Peninsula in Lebesby Municipality is the northernmost point on the European mainland. Honningsvåg in Finnmark claims to be the northernmost city of the world, and Vardø is the easternmost town in Norway and is farther east than Istanbul.
The coast is indented by large fjords, many of which (in a strict sense) are false fjords, as they are not carved out by glaciers. Some of Norways largest sea bird colonies can be seen on the northern coast, the largest are Hjelmsøystauran on the island of Hjelmsøya in Måsøy Municipality and Gjesværstappan in Nordkapp Municipality. The highest point is located on the top of the glacier Øksfjordjøkelen, which has an area of 45 square kilometres (17 sq mi), and it is located in Loppa Municipality. Both Øksfjordjøkelen and Seilandsjøkelen (Seiland glacier) are located in the western part of Finnmark.
The Øksfjord plateau glacier calved directly into the sea (Jøkelfjorden) until 1900, the last glacier in mainland Norway to do so. The central and eastern part of Finnmark is generally less mountainous, and has no glaciers. The land east of Nordkapp is mostly below 300 m (980 ft).
The nature varies from barren coastal areas facing the Barents Sea, to more sheltered fjord areas and river valleys with gullies and tree vegetation. About half of the county is above the tree line, and large parts of the other half is covered with small Downy birch.
The most lush areas are the Alta area and the Tana valleys, and in the east is the lowland area in the Pasvik valley in Sør-Varanger, where the pine and Siberian spruce forest is considered part of the Russian taiga vegetation. This valley has the highest density of Brown bears in Norway, and is the only location in the country with a population of musk-rats. Lynx and moose are common in large parts of Finnmark, but rare on the coast.
The interior parts of the county are part of the great Finnmarksvidda plateau, with an elevation of 300 to 400 m (980 to 1,310 ft), with numerous lakes and river valleys. The plateau is famous for its tens of thousands of reindeer owned by the Sami, and swarms of mosquitos in mid-summer. Finnmarksvidda makes up 36% of the countys area. Stabbursdalen National Park ensures protection for the worlds most northern pine forest.
The river Tanaelva, which partly defines the border with Finland, gives the largest catch of salmon of all rivers in Europe, and also has the world record for Atlantic salmon, 36 kg (79 lb). In the east, the Pasvikelva defines the border with Russia.
Fisheries have traditionally been the most important way of living along the coast, where the majority of the Norwegian population live. The red king crab, originally from the northern Pacific ocean but brought to the Barents sea by the Russians, have invaded from the east and are now being exploited commercially (especially in the Varangerfjord). To prevent the crab from spreading too far south, crab fishing west of Nordkapp is totally unregulated.
People have lived in Finnmark for at least 10,000 years (see Komsa, Pit-Comb Ware culture and Rock carvings at Alta). The destiny of these early cultures is unknown. Three ethnic groups have a long history in Finnmark: the Sami people, the Norwegian people, and the Kven people. Of these, the Sami probably were the first people to explore Finnmark. Ohthere of Hålogaland was an adventurous Norwegian (Norseman) from Hålogaland, the area roughly corresponding to todays Nordland county. Around 890 AD, he claimed, according to historical sources (see Ohthere of Hålogaland) that he lived "north-most of all the Northmen", and that "no one [lived] to the north of him." Later, Norwegians in the 14th century, and Kvens in the 16th century, settled along the coast. See the articles on Kven people and Vardøhus Fortress for more details.