Ålesund, or "The town of Art Nouveau" was given city rights in 1848. In 1904 the city was completly destroyed in one of the largest city fires in Norwegian history. German Emperor William II and local Norwegian businessmen founded the reconstruction of the city. The city was reconstructed in three years using Art Nouveau architecture.
The city is the administrative center as well as the principal shipping-place in the county of Møre og Romsdal.