The biggest town close to Nordkapp is the small village of Honningsvåg. This is where you will find a small museum called Nordkapp Museum which gives a bit of the history of the area. It is a pretty standard small town museum with a mix of things on display. There are the different stuffed birds and some old items which have been in the town in the old days.
The most interesting part of the exhibition in my opinion was the one about World War II in the north of Norway. I wasn’t familiar with this rough history of the war which seems to have been unnoticed in the main books on the history of the war.
After the attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 the front line was a few hours’ drive away from North Cape at the eastern most Norwegian town Kirkenes. Here the Germans and the Soviets fought for years without any side making much progress in this area which was pretty road less with limited supply routes back to the mainland of Germany.
In 1944 Finland decided to leave the war and make a separate peace with the Soviet Union. This made the front in northern Norway exposed to attacks from the Soviets – and Hitler must have approved one of the few orderly retreats in during this face of the war. The Germans pulled back to some well-prepared positions a couple of hours drive to the west of North Cape.
When pulling out of the area the Germans decided to apply the scorched earth strategy. They burned anything which could be of use to the Soviets. So all the people living in the area were rounded up and evacuated further south for the remainder of the war. If people refused to be evacuated they would be considered enemy combatants and killed if seen. The Germans burned every major village in the area – and this is why there is not a single building in Honningsvåg older than 1945 when the war was over and the village was rebuilt.