|— Municipality —|
|County||Sogn og Fjordane|
|• Mayor (2002)||Arild Ingar Lægreid (Ap)|
|• Total||976.58 km2 (377.06 sq mi)|
|• Land||930.90 km2 (359.42 sq mi)|
|• Water||45.68 km2 (17.64 sq mi)|
|Area rank||108 in Norway|
|• Rank||175 in Norway|
|• Density||6/km2 (20/sq mi)|
|• Change (10 years)||-2.8 %|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|ISO 3166 code||NO-1424|
|Official language form||Nynorsk|
Årdal is a municipality in the county of Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Sogn. The village of Årdalstangen is the administrative center of the municipality. Årdal was separated from Lærdal in 1860.
Årdal is a modern industrial community, with ties to the old society of farming and fishing. It is surrounded by dramatic nature with high mountains and waterfalls. The climate is rather mild and with less rain than normal in the west part of Norway. Årdal is a good starting point to explore the wild nature of the national park Jotunheimen, and with summer and winter activities within its boundaries. The Vettisfossen waterfall (highest in Norway) is located within the municipality.
The group called Årdal Sogelag concerns itself with local history and serves as an information service for people with connections to Årdal.
General information 
Lærdal was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The original municipality was identical to the Lærdal parish (prestegjeld) including the sub-parish (sokn) of Aardal. In 1863, the sub-parish of Aardal (population: 1,791) was separated from Lærdal and became a municipality of its own. The spelling was later changed to Årdal. On 1 January 1964, the Muggeteigen, Luggenes, and Bergmål farms (population: 11) were transferred from Årdal to Lærdal.
The Old Norse form of the name was Árdalr. The first element is the genitive case of á which means "river" (referring to the Utla river) and the last element is dalr which means "valley" or "dale". Until 1921 the name was written Aardal.
Coat of arms 
The coat of arms was granted on 9 August 1957. The local economy at the time was mainly based on heavy industry, which needs a lot of electricity. The zig-zag lines in the arms symbolize both the electrical power and the industries. The colors were chosen randomly.
|Church Name||Year Built||Location
of the Church
|Årdal Parish||Nedre Årdal||Årdal kyrkje||1867||Årdalstangen|
|Øvre Årdal||Farnes kyrkje||1970||Øvre Årdal|
|*In 1970, the Årdal sokn was split into Øvre Årdal and Nedre Årdal.|
All municipalities in Norway, including Årdal, are responsible for primary education (through 10th grade), outpatient health services, senior citizen services, unemployment and other social services, zoning, economic development, and municipal roads. The municipality is governed by a municipal council of elected representatives, which in turn elect a mayor.
Municipal council 
|Party Name||Name in Norwegian||Number of
|Labour Party||Det Norske Arbeiderpartiet||16|
|Socialist Left Party||Sosialistisk Venstreparti||1|
The mayor (ordførar) of a municipality in Norway is a representative of the majority party of the municipal council who is elected to lead the council. Arild Ingar Lægreid of the Labour Party (Det Norske Arbeiderpartiet) was elected mayor for the 2007–2011 term.
The municipality is situated at the beginning of the Sognefjord and is a gateway to the mountain areas called Jotunheimen and Hurrungane, including the mountains Falketind, Store Austanbotntind, and Store Skagastølstind.
There are two urban areas in Årdal: Årdalstangen and Øvre Årdal, with a total population of approximately 5,700. There are also smaller village areas throughout the municipality: Naddvik (Vikadalen), Nundalen, Indre Offerdal, Ytre Offerdal, Seimsdalen, Fardalen, Avdalen, Utladalen, Vetti, and Vettismorki.
Årdal became a symbol of modern Norway after World War II. In the course of a few years, Årdal was transformed from a scarcely populated rural community into a small town situated around the aluminium plant Årdal og Sunndal Verk. Construction of the aluminium plant at Årdal started in 1941. The purpose was to build a large aluminium industry as a part of the German war effort. The Norwegian State confiscated the unfinished plant in Årdal in 1945 at the end of the war. The plant was finished by the government and production started in 1948.
At Årdal, the aluminium factory produced semi-finished aluminium that went on to be transformed into various products in other factories. During the early years most of the aluminium was exported. The car and airplane industries were big aluminium consumers. Some finished products were made in Norway, such as Høyang kitchen equipment, kettles, and pans.
The Vetti Gard og Turiststasjon, a farm rich in tradition dating from around 1120, is set in dramatic natural surroundings. The farm has been involved in tourism ever since the early 19th century and now serves as a café and tourist information office in the summer. The Vettismorki mountain farm is located nearby.
The Utladalen Landscape Protection Area (314 square kilometres or 121 square miles) was established in conjunction with the Jotunheimen National Park. It comprises large parts of the Utladalen valey and adjoining side valleys. The area contains several old farms and mountain pasture farmsteads of historical interest.
Utladalen Naturhus is a nature center situated at Skåri, an old farm. Farming here ceased in the early 1970s. In 1996 work commenced on the restoration of the old cultural landscape, and the Utladalen Naturhus center was opened in May 1998. Run by the Utladalen Naturhus foundation, the aim of the centre is to inform visitors about the natural and cultural history of Utladalen and Western Jotunheimen. The centre also includes the Slingsby Museum.
Avdalen Gård (Farm) 
The Avdalen farm is scenically situated on the mountainside above the beautiful Avdalen waterfall in the Utladalen valley. The land was cleared for farming in the 16th century. Abandoned in more recent times, the farm has now been restored to provide restaurant, accommodation and meeting facilities. The mill house can be seen in operation milling grain.
Jotunheimen National Park 
The Jotunheimen National Park, established in 1980, covers an area of approximately 1,145 square kilometres (442 sq mi) and comprises the Hurrungane, Fannaråki, and the Rauddalstind og Mjølkedalstind peaks. Jotunheimen is a popular area for hiking in summer and skiing in winter, and the Hurrungane massif is very popular with climbers.
Indre Offerdal Museum 
This old fjord-side settlement of Indre Offerdal "right down by the shore" is packed with interesting history about Årdal. Ten buildings, including a mill, sawmill, a shoreside warehouse, and farm buildings dating from the 19th century, provide insight into the beginnings of the extensive industrialization of this local community.
Scenic Views 
- Mountain Road from Årdal-Turtagrø: In the summer, this road from Øvre Årdal to Turtagrø links Årdal to the Sognefjell mountain road. On the drive across you will enjoy spectacular views of breath-taking scenery.
- Folkevegen road from Hjelle-Vetti: From Vetti you can walk to Europe's highest waterfall (275 metres or 902 feet high). The road/path leads through beautiful scenery and passes four waterfalls.
- "Personnemningar til stadnamn i Noreg" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
- "Welcome to Årdal". Årdal Kommune. 5 July 2004. Archived from the original on 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
- Natvik, Oddvar (9 February 2005). "Some historical data on the 26 Kommunes". Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- Rygh, Oluf (1919). Norske gaardnavne: Nordre Bergenhus amt (in Norwegian) (12 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 53.
- Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 3 August 2008.
- "Members of the local councils". Statistics Norway. 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
- Årdal Kommune (12 August 2005). "Ordføraren" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-06-24.[dead link]
- Karlsen, Anne Marit. "Årdal Aluminium plant". Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- Heimatt (Norwegian)
- Årdal kommune (Norwegian)
- Årdalsportalen (Norwegian)
- Tindevegen (Norwegian)
- Opplev Utladalen (Norwegian)
- Årdal Sogelag (Norwegian)
- Avdalen farm in Utladalen (Norwegian)