|County||Sogn og Fjordane|
|• Mayor (2007)||Arne Sanden (Ap)|
|• Total||1,342.45 km2 (518.32 sq mi)|
|• Land||1,277.42 km2 (493.21 sq mi)|
|• Water||65.03 km2 (25.11 sq mi)|
|Area rank||66 in Norway|
|• Rank||331 in Norway|
|• Density||1.7/km2 (4/sq mi)|
|• Change (10 years)||-0.1 %|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|ISO 3166 code||NO-1422|
|Official language form||Nynorsk|
Lærdal is a municipality in the southwestern part of Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. It is part of the traditional district of Sogn. The administrative center of the municipality is the village of Lærdalsøyri. The area of the municipality is 1,342 square kilometres (518 sq mi), half of it consists of mountain areas, the rest is valleys.
The valley of Lærdal is long, running from Hemsedal (Høgeloft mountain) and Filefjell mountain in the east to the Sognefjord in the west. About 1200 of the 2200 inhabitants live in the main area of Lærdalsøyri; the rest in the small villages Borgund, Ljøsne, Tønjum, Erdal, Vindedalen, Ytre Frønningen, and Strendene. The Old Lærdalsøyri village has 161 protected buildings. Some of the houses there date back to the mid-18th century. The old Filefjell Kongevegen road passes through Lærdal on its way to Valdres and later to Oslo.
Lærdal was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). In the 19th century, the name was sometimes spelled Leerdahl or Leirdal. The municipality of 1838 was created to be identical to the Lærdal parish (prestegjeld) that included the sub-parishes (sokn) of Borgund, Tønjum, Hauge, and Årdal. In 1863, the sub-parish of Årdal (population: 1,791) was separated from Lærdal to form a separate municipality. In 1864, the sub-parish of Borgund (population: 963) was separated from Lærdal to form its own municipality. This left Lærdal with 2,777 residents.
On 1 January 1964, Lærdal (population: 1,755) was merged with the municipality of Borgund (population: 492) and the Muggeteigen, Luggenes, and Bergmål farms (population: 11) from Årdal. After the merger, Lærdal had a total of 2,258. On 1 January 1992, the Frønning region of Leikanger (population: 32) was transferred to Lærdal.
The Old Norse form of the name was Lærardalr. The first element is the genitive case of the old name of the river Lærr (now the river is called Lærdalselvi) and the last element is dalr which means "valley" or "dale." The meaning of the old river name is unknown.
|Church Name||Year Built||Location
of the Church
|Lærdal Parish||Borgund||Borgund kyrkje||1868||Borgund|
|Borgund stavkyrkje||c. 1150||Borgund|
All municipalities in Norway, including Lærdal, 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.
|Party Name||Name in Norwegian||Number of
|Socialist Left Party||Sosialistisk Venstreparti||2|
|Total number of members:||17|
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. The mayor for the 2007–2011 term is Arne Sanden of the Labour Party (Det Norske Arbeiderpartiet).
Twin towns - Sister cities
Lærdal is twinned with:
Lærdal is located southeast of the Sognefjord along the Lærdalselvi River with the Filefjell and Hemsedalsfjell mountain ranges on its east. Lærdal is bordered in Sogn og Fjordane county by the municipality of Aurland to the southwest, by Sogndal to the northwest, and by Årdal to the north. It is also bordered on the east by Vang (Oppland county) and Hemsedal (Buskerud county), and in the south by Ål and Hol (both in Buskerud county).
The Lærdalstunnelen was built through the mountains dividing Aurland from Lærdal. The tunnel is the worlds longest (as of 2008) at 24.5 kilometres (15.2 mi). Construction began in 1995 and was completed in 2000.
The River Lærdalselvi was traditionally one of the most exclusive salmon and sea trout rivers in Norway. Known by the Norwegian King Harald V as his second Queen, the river has established Lærdal as one of the meccas of salmon and sea trout fly fishing, among others for the unusual fact that the river offers daylight fishing and dry fly fishing for sea trout. The salmon population was drastically depleted after an infestation with the salmon parasite Gyrodactylus salaris in the fall of 1996. After several treatments with aluminium sulfate, there are still problems with the parasite. In fall 2007, a smolt was again found infected by the parasite, and new treatments started in late March 2008. Because of this parasite, the river will be closed to angling for the 2008 season.
The river has formed a large delta at Lærdalsøyri, where huge amounts of silt and sand have been deposited by the river. Although the area has been spoiled by some unfortunate landfills it is still a sight worth seeing.
Lærdal has long traditions in farming, with the lower region of the valley being great for vegetable crops. Because of its dry climate it was one of the first places in Norway to begin the use of artificial irrigation. Despite having an inland climate, the water in the fjord keeps the winters from getting too cold.
The local Western Norway Regional Health Authority hospital provides medical care for Lærdal itself and seven of the surrounding municipalities. The hospital, together with Opplysningen 1881 (directory assistance company), Østfold Energiproduksjon A/S and Norsk Hydro Aluminium Production Facilities in Årdal, are the major employers in Lærdal. The local government and health authority is trying to close this hospital due to cost cutting, which may have negative effects on the area.
- "Personnemningar til stadnamn i Noreg" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
- Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
- Natvik, Oddvar (9 February 2005). "Some historical data on the 26 Kommunes". Retrieved 15 June 2008.
- Rygh, Oluf (1919). Norske gaardnavne: Nordre Bergenhus amt (in Norwegian) (12 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. pp. 60–61.
- "Members of the local councils". Statistics Norway. 2007. Retrieved 19 June 2008.
- "The world's longest tunnel". Statens vegvesen. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2013.