Munkholmen is an island in the Trondheim Harbour area, approximately 2 kilometres from the town centre. The island was originally named Nidarholm. During the Viking Age, this was a place where public executions were held. Munkholmen is also where Olav Tryggvason put Kark's and Håkon Earl's heads on poles, after battling for kingdom and Christianity in the year of 995.
A few years later, a Benedictine monastery was build on Nidarholm. The presence of monks lasted until the Protestant Reformation (in 1537), and this is why the island over time got it's new name, Monk's Island (Munkholmen).
In the following centuries, Norway was in union with Denmark, and were frequently at war with Sweden. After freeing Trøndelag from Swedish occupation in 1659, Munkholmen was reconstructed into the shape it has today, as a fort. This was done to build a better military defence of Trondheim and Trøndelag. Kristiansten Fort was built later in that same period. The architects behind these two forts in Trondheim were Willem Coucheron and Johan Caspar de Cicignon. They are also known for their involvement in other Norwegian forts and fortresses (Halden and Fredrikstad).
Munkholmen was later used as prison. Peder Schumacher Griffenfeld is the most famous prisoner held here. Griffenfeld came to Norway as chancellor, but had to serve life time imprisonment (18 years) after bringing himself in disgrace upon the king (Christian V).
During the second world war, Munkholmen once again was used as fort, this time by the Germans. There is still an anti-aircraft artillery gun at the island, left by the Germans.
Today, Munkholmen is a popular recreational attraction. The island has an open cafe and guide service in the summer season. There is also a small beach outside the fort. The fjord is relatively deep between Trondheim and Munkholmen, and you have to get there by boat. The boat service runs between Ravnkloa and Munkholmen at day time (between May and September), or when hired.
Adult: 95 NOK
Children: 50 NOK
All photos: Carl-Erik Eriksson