Kragerø is an urban municipality in Vestfold and Telemark county.
It borders in the southwest to Risør, in the west to Gjerstad, in
the northwest to Drangedal and in the northeast to Bamble. As of 1
January 2020, the city of Kragerø has a total of 5,382 inhabitants,
while the municipality has almost 11,000.
Kragerø is referred to as "the pearl among the coastal towns" by Edvard Munch. "This city should be painted!" said Christian Krohg when he visited Kragerø.
Kragerø has 495 islands, islets and reefs and 4,000 holiday homes. There are also 190 fresh water within the municipality's boundaries. Kragerø grew up as a loading point for timber exports under Skien, but was granted market town privileges in 1666. During the sailing ship era, the town was one of Norway's largest maritime towns. The oldest settlement was on both sides of Bysundet between the mainland and an island that is now only called Øya, but previously must have been called Kragerø and has given its name to the town. This name is most likely a Danish spelling for Kråkerøy, after the bird species kråke.
In 1960, Kragerø was merged with Skåtøy in the east and Sannidal in the west. The other settlements in the municipality are Kil and Helle.
Nature and geography
This part of Telemark belongs to the Svekonorvegian bedrock shield, and consists of two main geological formations of Proterozoic rocks formed during the Gothic and later Svekonorvegian mountain range ancestors, with a strong metamorphosis below the latter. A substrate of 1,600 - 1,450 million years old slate, quartzite, marble and amphibolite with some hornblende gneiss, and on top of this acidic surface structures of both granite and granodiorite (respectively 1,250 - 1,000 million years old, and in places 1,550 - 1,480 million years old). The youngest Sveconorvegian formations are witnessed by larger formations of granite. There are also some cases of gabbro and diorite, less often eclogite. The Caledonian mountain range fold did not reach down here. The faults go in a southwest-northeast direction.
Over the years, there has been extensive mining in and around the areas in Kragerø. Perhaps the most famous is the Rutil mine at Storkollen, where rutile was mined.