Flora, Norway

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Flora kommune
Municipality
Floro.jpg
Coat of arms of Flora kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Flora kommune
Sogn og Fjordane within
Norway
Flora within Sogn og Fjordane
Flora within Sogn og Fjordane
Coordinates: 61°35′15″N 05°16′38″E / 61.58750°N 5.27722°E / 61.58750; 5.27722Coordinates: 61°35′15″N 05°16′38″E / 61.58750°N 5.27722°E / 61.58750; 5.27722
Country Norway
County Sogn og Fjordane
District Sunnfjord
Administrative centre Florø
Government
 • Mayor (2011) Bengt Solheim-Olsen (H)
Area
 • Total 693.28 km2 (267.68 sq mi)
 • Land 647.73 km2 (250.09 sq mi)
 • Water 45.55 km2 (17.59 sq mi)
Area rank 161 in Norway
Population (2013)
 • Total 11,697
 • Rank 94 in Norway
 • Density 18.1/km2 (47/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 2.7 %
Demonym Floraværing[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1401
Official language form Nynorsk
Website www.flora.kommune.no
Data from Statistics Norway

Flora is a municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Sunnfjord. The administrative centre is the town of Florø, which was founded in 1860, has 8,642 inhabitants (2012). The Eikefjord area, which is the second largest settlement in Flora, has about 1000 inhabitants. Other village areas in the municipality include Rognaldsvåg, Stavang, Grov, Norddalsfjord, Nyttingnes, Steinhovden, and Brandsøy.

The municipality stretches from inner fjords where the mountains ascend to the Ålfotbreen glacier, to the outermost islands off the mainland coast. The town is today both a charming little community, and at the same time a town with busy industries that are developing continuously. Trade and industry in Flora is mainly fishing industry, shipyards, and supply for the oil and gas industry in the North Sea.

General information[edit]

Name[edit]

Sunset over Flora municipality
Stavang Church
Kinn Church

The municipality is named after the farm Flora (Old Norse Flóra) since the town of Florø was built on its ground in 1860. The name is probably derived from a Germanic root meaning “flat” or “even” (cf. English floor). Flora itself is the accusative/dative case form of “Flore” (Old Norse Flóri), from which the names Florø and Florelandet are derived. A common misunderstanding is that the name Florø is the Danish word ø (“island”) suffixed to Flora. Although not true, it almost lead to the town being renamed “Florøy” in the 1930s.[2][3]

Coat-of-arms[edit]

The coat-of-arms, originally made for the town of Florø, were granted on 19 February 1960. The arms show three silver colored herrings on a red background. The three herrings are a symbol for the great importance of herring fishing for the local development and economy.[4]

Background[edit]

The old municipality of Kinn was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The original municipality was identical to the Kinn parish (prestegjeld) with the sub-parishes (sokn) of Bru, Kinn, and Bremanger.[5]

On 3 January 1861, the village area of Florø (population: 846) was incorporated as a town by royal decree, which removed it from the rural municipality of Kinn. This left Kinn with 6,531 residents. In 1864, the northern district of Bremanger was separated from the Kinn parish and became a parish of its own. Then, on 1 January 1866, Bremanger (population: 1,852) became a separate municipality. After the split, Kinn was left with 4,679 inhabitants. On 1 January 1923, the municipality of Kinn was divided into three separate municipalities: the western (island) area was Kinn (population: 2,508); the central (mostly mainland) area was Bru (population: 1,560); and the southeasternmost inland area was Eikefjord (population: 929).[6]

On 1 January 1964, the new municipality of Flora was created upon the merger of the following areas:

  • the town of Florø (population: 2,040)
  • the parts of the municipality of Bru that were north of the Førdefjorden (population: 1,155)
  • the municipality of Eikefjord (population: 919)
  • the Steindal area of the municipality of Vevring (population: 25)
  • the Husefest and Breivik farms in Bremanger (population: 9)
  • the municipality of Kinn (population: 3,567)

After the merger, the new municipality of Flora had a total of 7,715 residents.[6]

Churches[edit]

The Church of Norway has four parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Flora. It is part of the Sunnfjord deanery in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.

Churches in Flora
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Bru Askrova Chapel Askrova 1957
Stavang Church Stavang 1957
Eikefjord Eikefjord Church Eikefjord 1812
Kinn Batalden Chapel Fanøya 1907
Florø Church Florø 1882
Kinn Church Kinn 12th century
Nordal Nordal Church Norddalsfjord 1898

Government[edit]

All municipalities in Norway, including Flora, 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.

Local politics[edit]

The municipal council of Flora is made up of 35 representatives that are elected to every four years. For 2011–2015, the party breakdown is as follows:[7]

Flora Kommunestyre 2011–2015
Party Name Name in Norwegian Number of
representatives
  Labour Party Arbeiderpartiet 12
  Progress Party Framstegspartiet 2
  Conservative Party Høgre 13
  Christian Democratic Party Kristelig Folkeparti 1
  Centre Party Senterpartiet 1
  Socialist Left Party Sosialistisk Venstreparti 1
  Liberal Party Venstre 5
Total number of members: 35

The mayor of a municipality in Norway is a representative of the majority party of the municipal council who is elected to lead the council. Bengt Solheim-Olsen of the Conservative Party was elected mayor for the 2011-2015 term.[8]

Geography[edit]

Botnafjorden
Eikefjorden

Flora is located in the western central part of Sogn og Fjordane county. To the west, it is bordered by the North Sea, to the north it is bordered by Bremanger Municipality, to the east by Gloppen Municipality, and to the south by Naustdal Municipality and Askvoll Municipality. Flora includes many islands, including Reksta, Askrova, Svanøya, Skorpa, Fanøya, Hovden, and Kinn. The municipality also includes the large lakes of Endestadvatnet, Lykkjebøvatnet, and Vassetevatnet. The Norddalsfjorden runs through the northern part of the municipality, and it is crossed by the Norddalsfjord Bridge.

Attractions[edit]

Kinn[edit]

Right out in the sea lies the green, grass-covered island of Kinn. The area around Kinn was the central herring area in Norway for the most part of the 19th century. At the height, there lived approximately 15,000 people on Kinn and the surrounding islands in the herring season. Today, there are 15 inhabitants on Kinn.

On the island of Kinn, on the very edge of the ocean lies the historic Kinn Church from the 12th century. The church, built in Romanesque style, is the oldest church in the Sunnfjord region. The church has long been associated with the legend of St. Sunniva. The church choir is the oldest part of the church, and the lectern is the only preserved example of its kind in Scandinavia.

Every year during the third weekend in June, the Kinna Pageant is an historical play about love, hate, fidelity and loyalty to the church and humankind. About 150 actors take part and audiences of several thousand tourists visit the island to watch this beautiful play.[9]

Svanøy[edit]

View of the island of Svanøya

Svanøya is the southernmost and greenest island in the district of Flora. The island was the district's most important trade centre last century, and exports and shipping were major activities. A stone cross memorial commemorating King Olav the Holy and a sacrificial site from the viking era can be found here.

The Svanøy Estate is an old seat of nobility from 1685. It includes 62 acres (250,000 m2) of cultivated land and 30 acres (120,000 m2) of woodland. It has an impressive main building and an old garden full of beautiful trees.[9]

Eirikstad Farm[edit]

The Saga says that the Viking King Eirik Blodøks grew up here, hence the name. Contains a museum with old farming tools. The famous Fjord horses are bred and trained here.[9]

Batalden Boathouse[edit]

Norway's westernmost art gallery is housed in a restored fishing building. Regular painting and drawing courses are held.[9]

Troll Cave[edit]

Trollhola, a prehistoric cave, is located on the island of Askrova. The main cavern is the size of a cathedral, has several passages leading from it and it is a fascinating natural phenomenon. The highest point of the island, 233 metres (764 ft) above sea level, provides a sweeping view of the archipelago.[9]

Rock Carvings[edit]

In Ausevika, which is 41 kilometres (25 mi) south of Florø, lies one of the largest rock carving sites in Norway. There are 3000-year old carvings here. The site boasts over 300 carvings depicting both animal and human figures.[9]

Coastal Museum[edit]

View of the town of Florø

The Coastal Museum in Sogn og Fjordane county was established in 1980. The aim was to concentrate on coastal nature and culture both past and present. Old boat houses and domestic dwellings were moved from various places in the district and re-erected in Florø near the museum. It includes many beautiful boats. The 250-year old Holmedalsjekta (coastal freighter) is Norway's oldest non-Viking ship. A large exhibition on North Sea oil, Snorreankeret, based on the Snorre platform is located in the museum.[9]

Lighthouses[edit]

Stabben lighthouse

The waters around Florø are dangerous and exposed. Three lighthouses were built in the fairways to the town at an early date. Two of them, Stabben Lighthouse and Kvanhovden Lighthouse are now automated and unmanned. The third and largest, Ytterøyane Lighthouse, is still manned. There is a lot of shallow areas in the waters west of Florø, which makes the coast around Florø ideal for diving most of the year. An abundance of shipwrecks are located beneath these waters, which attract divers from all over.[9]

Sports[edit]

Local sport teams include Florø TIF and Florø SK.

Notable residents[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Personnemningar til stadnamn i Noreg" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. 
  2. ^ http://www.flora150.no/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9:kvifor-heitte-byen-floro&catid=1:historia&Itemid=8
  3. ^ http://www.floraskulen.no/fagsider/samf_fag/nordre_bergenhus.htm
  4. ^ Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  5. ^ Natvik, Oddvar (9 February 2005). "Some historical data on the 26 Kommunes". 
  6. ^ a b Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 
  7. ^ "Members of the local councils". Statistics Norway. 2011. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  8. ^ "Politisk styring" (in Norwegian). Flora Kommune. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "Flora Municipality in Norway". Retrieved 10 August 2008.