View of the Kåja island with Torsvåg Lighthouse off Vanna
Karlsøy within Troms
|• Mayor (2011)||Hanny Ditlefsen (Ap)|
|• Total||1,090.04 km2 (420.87 sq mi)|
|• Land||1,049.22 km2 (405.11 sq mi)|
|• Water||40.82 km2 (15.76 sq mi)|
|Area rank||97 in Norway|
|• Rank||308 in Norway|
|• Density||2.3/km2 (6/sq mi)|
|• Change (10 years)||-5.0 %|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|ISO 3166 code||NO-1936|
|Official language form||Neutral|
Karlsøy (Northern Sami: Gálssa suohkan) is an island municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Hansnes. Other villages include Dåfjord, Hessfjord, Karlsøya, Torsvåg, Vannvåg, and Vannareid. The municipality is made up of many islands including Ringvassøya, Reinøya, Vannøya, Karlsøya, and Rebbenesøya plus several uninhabited islands (many of which were formerly inhabited). Some of the currently uninhabited islands include Helgøya, Nordkvaløya, Grøtøya, and Nord-Fugløya.
Karlsøy was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). On 1 January 1867, the district of Ullsfjord (population: 862) was transferred from Karlsøy to the neighboring municipality of Lyngen. On 1 September 1886, Helgøy was separated from Karlsøy to become a municipality of its own. This left Karlsøy with 1,334 inhabitants. Then on 1 January 1964, the municipality of Helgøy was merged back into the municipality of Karlsøy. At the same time, all of the mainland areas of Karlsøy (the northern part of the Lyngen peninsula, with 1,001 inhabitants) was transferred from Karlsøy to neighboring Lyngen municipality. After all the changes, the new Karlsøy had 3,414 residents. On 1 January 2008, the southern part of the island of Reinøya was transferred from Tromsø to Karlsøy.
The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the small Karlsøya island (Old Norse: Kalsøe), since the first church (Karlsøy Church) was built there. The first element is the genitive case of the male name Karl and the last element is øy which means "island". Prior to 1909, the name was spelled Karlsø.
The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted on 12 December 1980. The arms show the head of a White-tailed Eagle on a blue background, since one of Europe's largest colonies of these birds is found on the island of Nord-Fugløya in the municipality. Furthermore the eagle symbolizes the importance of fishing for the municipality.
|Parish (Sokn)||Church Name||Location of the Church||Year Built|
Karlsøy is among the world's most important exporters of dried and salted cod, with Portugal, Spain, and Brazil among the main markets. The population is almost totally dependent on fishing. There are also goat herding businesses and some music professionals that live on the island community. There is an increasing amount of tourism, mostly as a result of the festival that runs in the Summer promoting the isle and the alternative history there. As a result there are plans for 50 holiday homes to be built on the isle.
Geography and nature
The municipality consists of islands only. Ringvassøya, Norway's sixth largest island, is the largest island in the municipality. Nordkvaløya, Helgøya, Karlsøya, Vanna (Vannøya), Reinøya, and Rebbenesøya are the other major islands.
The islands of Rebbenesøy and Ringvassøy are split (as was Reinøya before 2008), with the southern part belonging to neighboring Tromsø municipality. The reason is that the borders were drawn when boat was the only means of transportation; then it made sense that the southern parts of the islands belonged to Tromsø while the northern parts belonged to Karlsøy. Today, when roads have replaced the boats, the situation is awkward, which is why the Norwegian government transferred all of Reinøy to the municipality of Karlsøy on 1 January 2008. Soltindan is the highest mountain on the island of Ringvassøy at 1,051 m (3,448 ft) above sea level.
Karlsøya, the little island after which the municipality is named, has a picturesque village with the stately 19th century Karlsøy Church. The inhabitants are an interesting and welcoming mix of the original inhabitants, hippies, and Norwegian Muslims. The flora on the island is also interesting.
Helgøya, the former seat of the independent municipality of Helgøy in the western part of present Karlsøy, is today a more or less abandoned village of picturesque wooden houses and the old Helgøy Church. The island can only be reached when services are celebrated in the church, and ferry rides are organized.
Lake Skogsfjordvatn, in the centre of Ringvassøy, is a beautiful lake with good fishing, surrounded by lush, sub-Arctic forests. This is Norway's largest lake in an island. The island of Vannøya has several picturesque villages, notably Burøysund and Torsvåg, the latter offering a wonderful view of the Atlantic from the Torsvåg Lighthouse.
|Climate data for Torsvåg|
|Average high °C (°F)||0.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−1.1
|Average low °C (°F)||−2.9
|Precipitation mm (inches)||73
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||14.5||12.5||12.1||11.9||10.5||11.0||10.9||11.7||15.0||17.4||16.3||15.9||159.7|
|Source: Norwegian Meteorological Institute|
The pretty, nondescript municipal centre is at Hansnes, which can be reached through an undersea tunnel from Tromsø, and the drive is about one hour. From here ferries depart to Vannøy, Reinøy, and Karlsøy. The Langsund Tunnel is under construction and was planned to be completed by 2015, but it is currently on hiatus. It will connect the islands of Reinøya and Ringvassøy. The few inhabitants of Rebbenesøy are served by a ferry from Mikkelvik on the western side of Ringvassøy.
Karlsøy is full of interesting places:
- The island of Nord-Fugløya, one of Norway's major bird cliffs, including puffin colonies.
- Fugløykalven Lighthouse, northwest of Nord-Fugløya
- There is a flat high plateau on Nord-Fugløya, 600 m (2,000 ft) above sea level, where Arctic cloudberries grow. The island can only be reached in the cloudberry season, when picking expeditions are organized from Burøysund.
- "Personnemningar til stadnamn i Noreg" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
- Store norske leksikon. "Karlsøy" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
- "Søndre del av Reinøy i Troms overføres til Karlsøy kommune" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- Rygh, Oluf (1911). Norske gaardnavne: Troms amt (in Norwegian) (17 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 162.
- Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- "eKlima Web Portal". Norwegian Meteorological Institute.
- Media related to Karlsøy at Wikimedia Commons
- The dictionary definition of karlsøy at Wiktionary
- Municipal fact sheet from Statistics Norway
- Troms travel guide from Wikivoyage