The small one-hectare (three-acre) island just off of Trondheim has an incredibly bleak history. Munkholmen (Monk’s Islet) began life as an execution site in the age of the Vikings, before becoming home to Benedictine monks as Norway‘s first monastery. Later, a fort was built here in the 17th century to house prisoners. In the 20th century, Nazi Germany used the island as an armory and placed antiaircraft guns here during their occupation of Norway in WWII. Thankfully, the Munkholmen of today is a much more peaceful place. A popular summer destination for locals, the island also serves as a venue for concerts and events.

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