Mo i Rana is a town in Rana Municipality with a total of 25,900 inhabitants. Perhaps a small town compared to many others, but still large enough for those of us who live here because we have what we need to thrive and lead a good life. Mo i Rana is located near the Arctic Circle, where we experience significant variations in climate. There is a considerable difference between winter and summer here.
Rana Municipality is one of the 19 municipalities that make up the Helgeland region, stretching from Meløy in the north to Sømna in the south. The coastline of Helgeland is described as the “World’s Most Beautiful Coast.” Mo i Rana is characterized by a lot of industry, large state-owned enterprises, and a thriving business sector. Those of us who live here have good and interesting jobs, creating significant value for Norway in various industries. For example, the industry consists of more than 100 companies employing around 2,400 workers. These industrial companies have an annual turnover of approximately 7 billion Norwegian kroner, with a significant portion of it being export goods sold abroad. The immediate proximity to both mountains and the coast provides us with endless opportunities for outdoor activities throughout all seasons.
Mo i Rana is a relatively young town and was a small settlement until well into the 20th century. The real industrialization of Rana took off when Norway decided to build a state-owned ironworks in Mo i Rana. This decision was made in 1946, shortly after World War II, when only 8,000 people lived here. The reason for building the ironworks was to make Norway more self-sufficient in steel production after the war, but it was also to strengthen the region by creating new jobs. One crucial reason for building AS Norsk Jernverk in Mo i Rana was the rich iron ore deposits and abundant water resources, which provided excellent opportunities for hydroelectric power for the industry. AS Norsk Jernverk became the most important building block for the city of Mo i Rana as we know it today. The ironworks started production in 1955. In connection with its start, people moved to Mo i Rana from all over the country. Everything had to be built from scratch: houses, schools, roads, shops, hospitals, and sports facilities. A few years after the ironworks started, one-third of Rana’s population was under 13 years old, making the municipality have Europe’s youngest population at the time. However, mining has been conducted in this area for a long time. The first major mining operations started in the late 1800s, but it was known that many residents found gold and silver here as early as the 1600s. The area is rich in sulfur and copper ore, zinc blende, iron ore, and silver-bearing lead ore, all of which formed the basis for the industry in Mo i Rana.
Ole Tobias Olsen discovered an iron ore vein on his farm in Dunderland in 1879. He proposed building a railway from Dunderland to Mo, but Ole Tobias had even greater visions. He wanted the railway to extend all the way from Tromsø to Trondheim, with branches to Sweden, to be able to sell iron ore to Sweden and St. Petersburg in Russia. Unfortunately, Ole Tobias died before this part of the railway was completed, but he experienced the approval of the plans by the Norwegian Parliament the year before he died in 1924.
Mo i Rana has traditionally been a Sami core area. There are several historical traces and cultural heritage sites indicating that the Sami population lived here for a long time before the Norse population settled in the 14th-15th centuries. Instead of farming, the Sami people led a more nomadic life, hunting and harvesting from nature, and they could change their residence several times a year depending on the movement of reindeer, which they hunted. There was extensive trade between the Sami and the Norse population.
Mo Church, located further up in the city, was completed in 1724 with funds provided by the local Sami population, and in 1717, a missionary school for Sami children was opened on Moholmen. This happened 100 years before any other school was built in Mo i Rana.
Places to Stay: REMEMBER, these are recommended places, not all are listed here.
- Clarion Collection Hotel Helma, phone: +47 78 10 11 80
- Scandic Hotel Meyergården, phone: +47 75 13 40 00
- Best Western Hotel Ole Tobias, phone: +47 75 12 05 00
- Yttervik camping, phone: +47 75 16 45 65
- Mo I Rana camping, phone: +47 75 14 41 44
- Røssvoll camping, phone: +47 458 12 112
- Storli camping, phone: +47 906 18 921
- Svartisen camping, phone: +47 464 16 205
Places to Eat:
In the city:
- No3, phone: +47 73 18 83 33
- Osteria Kreo, phone: +47 75 14 00 00 REMEMBER! Make reservations up to 4 days in advance!
- Tanjas kjøkken, phone: +47 458 72 213
- MeyerCafeen, phone: +47 75 13 92 33
- The Lounge, phone: +47 455 05 842
- Spiseriet Mix, phone: +47 75 15 15 44
- Bakeribygget, phone: +47 75 14 45 50
Outside the city:
- Mama Rosa, phone: +47 75 15 84 00
- Stenneset Mat og Vin, phone: +47 476 16 890
- Til Elise fra Marius, phone: +47 958 95 308
Also, remember to visit Moment (Rana museum) and the Science Center while you’re here.
And for experiences, you should definitely choose one of the tours with ExploRana! Our strength is our local knowledge, sense of belonging, love for nature, and interest in culture and history. We always have some great stories to share, whether it’s about the places you visit or the people who have been here before us.
You can call us pearl divers, because that’s what we are! We dive into history and retell it to you, so you have memorable experiences. We’ll take you to the gems in our area!