Stavanger is a port city in South West Norway. Lying on the Stavanger Peninsula, it is the epicenter of the country’s expansive oil industry. Stavanger is contained within the county of Rogaland, and due to the booming industry, the area boasts an unemployment rate of just 2.2%, among the lowest of any Norwegian county.
As well as industry, the region also boasts some outstanding natural beauty sites, as well as some renown surfing spots, making Stavanger a great place for expats who enjoy play as well as work.
Stavanger and the surrounding area received the honor of being named the European Capital of Culture in 2008. While the huge hay bale poetry that greeted all incomers to Stavanger’s airport have now been put to different uses, and the various extra attractions and exhibitions are now but a memory, the entire region has received a boost that lives on through a cultural rejuvenation.
The people of Stavanger have been reminded of their cultural heritage before the oil, which is wood. The region has enjoyed a rich and prosperous history of woodwork and shipbuilding; a legacy that still continues strongly, and can be seen through the striking architecture and wooden structures that fill the streets. This is particularly evident in the picturesque Old Stavanger district, which is located just next to the city center.
There are a number of museums in Stavanger, including some that originally opened their doors as far back as the 19th century. The most visited museum in the city is the Norwegian National Petroleum Museum; one of the most recent additions, with a name that gives a huge clue to the content. The museum draws around 8,000 visitors per month.
Stavanger is home to soccer team Viking FK, who play in the Norwegian Premier League and have achieved considerable success in recent history. As well as other smaller soccer teams, the city is also home to a handball team and an elite ice hockey team. Volleyball is an extremely popular sport in the area.
Stavanger is host to its very own international jazz festival each May, which draws quite a crowd. Tourism is a big industry in the area, and cruise ships can almost always be found filling the harbor, especially in the summer months.
Driving in Norway is on the right hand side of the road. The roads in and around Stavanger are generally of a very good quality, and although congestion is not a huge issue, it is a large, industrious city; at peak times you can expect the roads to jam up. That said, a new tunnel called the Eiganes Tunnel is in the pipelines, and is projected to considerably ease congestion in the area.
A good bus service runs throughout the entire region. Rail links are plentiful between Stavanger and the rest of Norway, with trains for the capital, Oslo, departing at least four times on average per day. Local train links are plentiful, but don’t expect anything as extensive as in some other major cities.
There are numerous ferries and other ships that regularly depart Stavanger for various destinations, including the Faroe Islands. The link to Newcastle in the UK is expected to reopen in the near future, following its suspension in 2008.
Stavanger airport is located a short distance outside the city center, and offers an extensive travel network within Norway and beyond, with many major European cities as possible destinations.
The University of Stavanger is the lynchpin of the local education system, and offers a wide variety of opportunities for international students. The university's three main study areas are science, social science, and humanities. Useful contact details can be found on the institution’s website. Stavanger is also home to MHS, a research university specializing in theology.
There are many other schools in the area, such as the school of management, an art school, and of especial interest to expats moving to Stavanger with their family, the International School of Stavanger, an English language school for children.