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Tromsdalen, Tromsø
The Tromsdalen Church which was designed by Jan Inge Hovig (1920-1977), is located on a magnificent site, situated above the Tromsø Bridge's connection point to the mainland. It is easily visible for sea travellers, both from the north and the south and from the town centre, on the east-side of Tromsø Island. The Tromsø Bridge, Church and the mountain Tromsdalstinden all protrude like a unified composition in the landscape. Due to its monumental character the Tromsdalen Church, stands out among the other buildings in the area. It quickly became referred to as the "Arctic Ocean Catherdral."

This sculptural form is modulated over a triangular structure where concrete slabs lean against one another forming a point. This forms an asymmetric form that starts lower in the middle, and ascends upwards towards the end walls. One construction structure forms the roof and the walls. The building form is comprised of 11 slabs with openings in-between that let in daylight. During the dark winter days, the building lights up from the inside. The main façade, the west-facing gable, is a glass wall with a centrally located concrete cross that spans the entire height of the triangular form. This bestows the church with a visual and constructive buttressing effect. A large stained glass window created by Victor Sparre was installed in 1972, on the east-facing gable wall. The concrete square structure that is annexed to the church contains the church office, the priest's quarters and the sacristy.

In contrast to its monumental outer form, the sanctuary room creates a surprisingly intimate atmosphere. In the interior, the architect took advantage of natural daylight to model the room. For example, the location and design of the organ is silhouetted by the glass wall. The architect, in collaboration with the interior architect Bitten Hopstock, designed the benches, altar area and remaining interior work. The interior of the sanctuary room is seen as a rarity, as its entire design is well implemented and unified. There is a seating capacity of 415 in the sanctuary room itself. In addition to 240 in the gallery and the congregation room which is located under the gallery.

New gallery and a new organ was established in the years 2005-2014. Architect for this work was BOARCH arkitekter AS.

Year of construction

Final draft plans were approved in 1960, the church was completed in 1965


Jan Inge Hovig MNAL


Tromsø Municipality

Building Type

Village hall

Construction System / Materials

Cast-in-place concrete
reinforced concrete


cast-in-place concrete
reinforced concrete


Norsk Arkitekturmuseum, "Tromsdalen kirke," Norsk arkitekturkalendar 1984-kirker, december. Oslo 1983.

Byggekunst 1996, pp. 210-215

Jakhelln, Gisle, "Hovig i nord," Byggekunst 7/1990, pp. 382-389


Tromsdalen kirke
Tromsdalen kirke
Tromsdalen kirke
Tromsdalen kirke
Tromsdalen kirke
Tromsdalen kirke