About Skien

Skien is a city and municipality in Telemark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Grenland. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Skien. Skien is also the administrative centre of Telemark county.

The municipality of Skien was established on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipalities of Gjerpen and Solum were merged into the municipality of Skien on 1 January 1964.

The conurbation of Skien and Porsgrunn is considered by Statistics Norway to be the seventh largest city in Norway straddling an area of three municipalities: Skien municipality (about 52% of the population), Porsgrunn (35%), and Bamble (11.5%). The area is home to more than 90,000 people.

Skien was historically Norway's most important port town for shipping timber. The city was the birthplace and boyhood home of playwright Henrik Ibsen, and many of his famous dramas are set in in places reminiscent of 19th century Skien.

The Old Norse form of the name was Ski�a (from the word ski�a which means "straight plank"), and the town is probably named after a brook (with a straight run) with this name

The coat-of-arms are derived from the oldest known seal of the city, dating back to 1609. The seal shows two skis and in the middle a cross, with a small star on the cross point. The skis are a semi-canting element (based on a misunderstanding of the meaning of the town's name) and the cross is a religious symbol. There have been several theories about the meaning of the cross, but its meaning is not clearly known. It has been suggested that it is a symbol for the main church in Skien, the Holy Cross church. The small star may be a symbol of St. Mary as the second medieval church of Skien was devoted to her. Besides the skis and cross, there are two meadow butter cupson each side.

In 1854, the arms were shown as two skis, but the cross was now made from ski poles, as another canting element. This remained so