|Village and Former Municipality|
Short canyon near Jostedalsbreen glacier
|County||Sogn og Fjordane|
|• Total||533 km2 (206 sq mi)|
|Created as||Formannskapsdistrikt in 1838|
|Merged into||Luster in 1963|
Jostedal is a village and a former municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county in Norway. It is located in the northern part of the present-day municipality of Luster, about 22 kilometres (14 mi) north of Gaupne. The village of Jostedal currently has around 410 inhabitants (2008).
The Old Norse form of the name was probably Jǫstrudalr. The first element is then the genitive of Jastra (the old name of the river Jostedøla) and the last element is dalr which means "valley" or "dale". The river name is probably derived from jǫstr which means "yeast". The water in the river comes from glaciers, and in summer time the river gets "frothy" or "foamy" due to all of the melting ice and the many waterfalls.
Jostedal was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). On 1 January 1963, Jostedal was merged with the neighboring municipality of Luster. Prior to the merger, Jostedal had a population of 796.
The former municipality consisted of Jostedal valley which empties into the Gaupnefjord at Gaupne. The Gaupnefjord is an arm of the Lustrafjord, which is an arm of the famous Sognefjord, the second largest fjord in the world. There are three major glacial lakes in the area: Turnsbergdalsvatn, Nigardsbrevatn, and Tyggevatn (vatn is Norwegian for lake). Other lakes in Jostdedal include Austdalsvatnet and Styggevatnet.
The river Jostedøla runs through the valley up to its headwaters at the Jostedalsbreen glacier, a plateau glacier which is the European mainland's largest with an area of 480 square kilometres (190 sq mi). Jostedalsbreen National Park and Breheimen National Park are located on either side of the Jostedalen valley.
The route through Jostedal, Norwegian highway 604, brings one directly to the foot of Nigardsbreen, a tongue of Jostedalsbreen glacier and the museum Breheimsenteret. There is also a bus connection to the glacier in summer.
The road through Jostedalen offers some of the most magnificent views of the Norwegian fjord landscape with towering mountains and spectacular waterfalls. At the end of the road is the breath-taking sight of the blue ice at the mouth of the Nigardsbreen glacial tongue.
Farms of Jostedal
Historically, and still occurring in present times, when owners of farms are no longer young enough to operate the farm, the title is either passed down to a younger family member or sold to a neighbour. Traditionally, the new operators of the farm assume the farm name as their new surname, and are often burdened with caring for the previous owners as part of the sale or transfer of title.
Most of the farms near the village of Jostedal have been in operation for centuries:
- Bruheim (Breum)
- Fåberg nedre
- Fåberg øvre
- Jostedal prestegard
- "Jostedal – tidligere kommune i Sogn og Fjordane" (in Norwegian). Store norske leksikon. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- "Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
- Rygh, Oluf (1919). Norske gaardnavne: Nordre Bergenhus amt (in Norwegian) (12 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 1.
- Jukvam, Dag (1999). Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.