Greetings from Tromsø

Storgata 95

31. May 2004 - 19. September 2010

Mari Hildung

City memories on old postcards

Tourism and postcards are well connected. Mass- produced pictures with local motifs are usually the easiest and cheapest form of souvenirs one can buy.

It is presumed that the first postcards with Tromsø motifs were produced in Germany in the early 1880s. They appeared simultaneously as the city became a popular destination for foreign travellers, and were sold onboard the tourist ships that dropped anchor in the harbour during the summer.

The interest for postcards spread quickly, and starting in the 1890s, Tromsø cards were also being published in Norway. The oldest cards usually consisted of several small pictures (vignettes) combined with the mandatory text, “Greetings from Tromsø”. Gradually, the choice of motifs was extended to include the city’s labour district and new buildings.

The classical “tourist motifs” still dominated. The most popular were the cards with overview photos of the city, Tromsø Harbour, Storgata (Main Street) and the Town Square, Samis dressed in their national costumes, Tromsø Cathedral and Claus Andersen’s company with arctic souvenirs. The 1960s saw the arrival of coloured cards with Tromsø Bridge and the Arctic Cathedral as motifs, important symbols of a modern Tromsø in growth.

The exhibition “Greetings from Tromsø” shows a small selection of the estimated 3000 different postcards that are found of the city.