Nærbø is the biggest village in the municipality of Hå, situated in the southern corner of the region of Rogaland. According to the Norwegian bureau of statistics the population of Nærbø was 5881 on January 1, 2009. The former municipality of Nærbø was merged with the municipality of Hå on January 1, 1964.
Nærbø is approximately 35 kilometers south of Norway’s fourth most populous city, Stavanger. It is bordered by the village of Varhaug in the south, by the North Sea to the west, the city of Bryne to the north, and hills and meadows to the east.
The municipality of Hå is one of the most important agricultural areas of Norway with almost half of the land in the municipality being used for agricultural purposes. The area is sometimes referred to as the breadbasket of Norway because of its large agricultural sector.
Archaeologists have found traces of human activity dating back as far as 6000 years B.C in the area. Most of these findings have been in the vicinity of the Hå River, which flows from the hills in the east of the municipality to the ocean in the west. These early inhabitants were mostly hunters that survived on fishing and small game hunting.
In 3000 B.C. the area was covered by large oak and pine forests. It is also during that time that people started to settle down and farm the land. The transition from hunting to agriculture led to the clearing of most of the forests.
The region also played an important part in the Viking age (eight to eleventh century). Nærbø is 35 kilometers south of Hafrsfjord, where In 872 the battle of Hafrsfjord took place. The western parts of Norway were unified under one monarch after this battle
In 950 Erik the Red, founder of the first Norse settlement in Greenland was born in øksnevad 17 kilometers north of Nærbø. Erik the Red was also the father of the famous Viking explorer Leiv Erikson, who was the first European to set foot on the American mainland in 1003.
In 968 Olav Trygvason, king of Norway from 995 to 1000 was born in Obrestad just outside the village of Nærbø. Olav Trygvason played a big part in bringing Christianity to Norway and is believed to have built the first church in Norway in 995. He also founded the city of Trondheim in 997.
In 1349 the black plague killed nearly 2/3 of the population in the area.
In 1834 the village was given its present day name, which coincided with the inauguration of the new church.
In 1878 the Jærbanen rail line was completed.
In 1940 the Germans invaded Norway and large areas of the coastline of Jæren was lined with high explosive mines. The Germans forced many of the Norwegian males in the area to work as laboures for the German occupying forces.
The region is an important agricultural area and subsequently a great proportion of the inhabitants are employed in the agricultural sector. The village has one of Norway's biggest dairies which produces 82,2 million litres of milk each year. The dairy also makes the famous Jarlsberg and Norvegia cheeses, in addition to other dairy products. The dairy employs 64 people.
The Risa group (formerly Brødrene Risa) is run from Nærbø and has several facilities in Nærbø.
The village also has an abattoir and local shopping centers.
Because of Nærbø close proximity to the cities of Sandnes and Stavanger, it has attracted many new inhabitants from these two cities. This is mainly due to more affordable real estate prices in Nærbø, and a relatively short commute between Nærbø and Sandnes/Stavanger. Stavanger is approximately 35 kilometers away from Nærbø, and Sandnes 25 kilometers.
There are four elementary schools in Nærbø (Motland skule, Bø skule, Vigre skule, Høyland skule), and a high school (Nærbø Ungdomsskule). There is also a private Christian high school & College (Tryggheim) in the village.
The village centre is located approximately 4 kilometers from the North Sea coasts. The climate is classified as maritime mild, and the flat open landscape makes the village a rather windy place. Up until the mid eighties the village experienced relatively heavy snowfalls, and the snow tended to stay on the ground throughout the winter months. But due to rising temperatures in the last two decades, heavy snowfalls have become less frequent.
One of the largest prisons in Norway, Åna Prison, which was originally built as a labor camp in 1912, but later converted into an ordinary prison, is located approximately 3 kilometers south of the village center. The prison has a total capacity of 164 inmates, including a low security wing with a capacity to house 24 inmates. The prison is surrounded by farmland and has one of Norway’s biggest farms.
Places of interest
The Hå Vicarage was built in 1637 and is located to the west of the village and overlooks the North Sea. It has been fully renovated and these days it’s used as an art gallery. There's also a museum on the ground floor. The landscape surrounding the Vicarage has several Viking burial mounds.
Grødelandstunet is located to the south west of Nærbø near the coast, and is a traditional farm house that has been turned into a museum. The purpose of the museum is to give visitors an idea of how people in the region used to live in earlier times.
Because of Nærbø close proximity to the North Sea the village is blessed with easy access to several beaches, which are popular destinations for the local population during the summer months. The largest beach in Norway, Brusand beach, is only a 15 minute drive away. The beaches are also popular with surfers and are considered to be some of the better spots in Europe for wave surfing due to the rough seas the area experiences in the autumn and the winter months.
The Nærbø Park is located about half a kilometer away from the village centre. It contains a big man-made pond, a pine forest and several footpaths. The park is known for its exotic bird population.
The Hå River which flows through the Hå municipality is one of the best salmon rivers in the country and attracts many visitors each year. Special fishing permits can be bought from the local farmers that own the various sections of the river. One also need to pay the National fishing licence to The Directorate for Nature Management.
Obrestad lighthouse is located to the south west of the village. It was built in 1873 and renovated in 1949. Today it is fully automated and owned by the Norwegian coastal administration. The lighthouse is protected by the Cultural Heritage Act. The lighthouse is open to the public through guided tours. There is also a marina in the area sheltered by a man-made jetty. There is also a weather station at the light house. On June 2, 1975, a minimum temperature of -0.9 °C was recorded. This is the lowest temperature recorded for the month of June in Rogaland.
Nærbø is the only place in Norway which hosts an annual Formula 3 race. The race takes place on the streets of the village centre. The track is approximately 1200 meters long and ranges from 6 to 8 meters in width. The festival started in 1997 and has been a popular event ever since, attracting people from all over the country. Speeds in excess of 200 kilometers an hour has been reached on several occasions. The event has been referred to by the locals as a miniature version of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix.
In 2006 one of the formula 3 cars came crashing over one of the concrete guard blocks lining the outer perimeter of the track and smashed into the crowd, killing a 16 year old spectator. Many feared that this would be the end of the event, but stricter security measures have been introduced and approvals have been granted for future festivals.
Sport is very popular in Nærbø, and the village has top of the range sports facilities. The village boasts two indoor handball fields, one ice hockey rink, a swimming pool and several outdoor football pitches. In 1993 the sports administration centre in Loen burnt down to the ground, and an effort to rebuild it was immediately undertaken. The rebuilding process was mainly achieved by voluntary work by the local population, commonly known as dugnad. More than 850 locals were involved in the building process and almost 15 000 working hours were invested to achieve this goal. Two years later the new administration centre was finally inaugurated.
Notable people from/living/lived in Nærbø
- Audun Skeidsvoll - Consumer Politics Director of Norwegian Consumer Council
- Georg Fredrik Rieber-Mohn - Former National Attorney.
- Kjell Arild Pollestad - Former catholic priest, author and travel guide.
- Gunnar Torvund - Artist.
- Helge Torvund - Poet, author, translator, critic and psychologist. Teaches creative writing for Dagbladet. Several collections of poetry, children's books, book on therapy, poetry and hypnosis. Has translated Robert Bly and Songs by North American Natives.
- Svein Inge Aarrestad - Entertainer, musician, composer, builder and writer.
- Søren Sviland - Award-winning photographer.
- Øyvind Sviland - Photographer. Did some acting on stage and in a movie as a child and a teenager. Website.
- Norodd Torland - Strong-man that did some guest appearances at the Torkel Ravndal shows. TorkelRavndal.com.
- Trond Are - Guitarist in Sea of Dreams SeaOfDreams - A melodic metal band.
- Kenneth Eidsaunet - Former trainer for Klepp women's football team. Has done a lot of volunteer work for little league teams and teen football in the region.
- Kjetil Vigre - Fitness trainer for the Norwegian National alpine skiing team.
- Egil Bjørløw - MD that worked as regional doctor for Finnmark. Works now for Stavanger county where he has gotten attention enforcing the smoking ban.
- Frank Lervik - Local basketball star. Played for Bryne Basket Klubb for many years, and was famous for his frequent three-pointers. Is still active as a coach for troubled youngsters at Møllerhaugen Center.
- Henriette Henriksen - Handball player that has played for the national handball team.
- Jostein Goa - Local missionary. Lived and preached in Bolivia from 1990 to 1999.
- Egil Ø Nærland - Editor of news and Sportswriter at Stavanger Aftenblad.
- Heidi Netland Berge - Leader for the Gladmat Festival 
- Tore Nærland - Blind cyclist who works hard for world peace.
- Anders Midttun - Artist (paint and lito). Deceased.
- Ragnvald Skjærpe - Famous entrepreneur and supervisor of the Skjærpe plow: A specialized plow made for breaking new ground into farmland using a bulldozer.
- Gabriel Underhaug - Award-winning designer of potato machinery
- Ådne Underhaug - Inventor of the famous DRYGOLIN house paint at Fleischers
- Bob Mellomstrand(aka Kiwi-Bob) - Has risen to fame through making a living on returning expired groceries for money. He's been featured in several TV shows.
- Kjell Gudmestad - Among Norway's highest regarded guitar technicians. Builds and repairs guitars for a variety of notable artists. Plays several instruments in local bands like Jærrock.Coordinates:
- Tønnes Lode - A famous shopkeeper before and after the second World War. He was the brain behind "Lode Bygget" (Beige building on the right in the first picture on this page) in down town of Nærbø. In 1942 during the Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany he was arrested by the Schutzstaffel. He was imprisoned in Grini concentration camp until December 8, 1942 when he was shipped out of Norway to Sachsenhausen concentration camp where he was a prisoner for two years and nine months.
- Statistics Norway (2009). "Urban settlements. Population and area, by municipality. 1 January 2009".
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- Krossen på kyrregarden. http://helgeland.nu/Slekt/Slektsnamn/Slektsnamnet_Njerheim.htm. Missing or empty
- Jærens Historie. http://www.kjelletrot.com/Photo/Jaeren/jaerens_historie.htm. Missing or empty
- Tine Meieri. http://www.tine.no/page?id=154&key=9583&rid=108. Missing or empty
- Åna fengsel. http://www.aanafengsel.no/. Missing or empty
- Olavsrosa.no. http://www.olavsrosa.no/objektinfo.aspx?id=27088. Missing or empty
- Norsk fyrhistorisk Forening. http://www.fyr.no/fyra/obrestad/obre-e.html. Missing or empty
- Bernt Lie. "Kaldest Rogaland".
- Stavanger Aftenblad. http://web3.aftenbladet.no/lokalt/article332777.ece. Missing or empty
- Nye Loen. http://www.nyeloen.no/. Missing or empty
- Stavanger Aftenblad. http://www.aftenbladet.no/magasin/963664/Erling_slapp_aa_bli_henretta.html. Missing or empty