View of Sortland from Strandheia mountain.
Sortland within Nordland
|• Mayor (2011)||Grete Ellingsen (H)|
|• Total||722.37 km2 (278.91 sq mi)|
|• Land||698.22 km2 (269.58 sq mi)|
|• Water||24.15 km2 (9.32 sq mi)|
|Area rank||152 in Norway|
|• Rank||105 in Norway|
|• Density||14.3/km2 (37/sq mi)|
|• Change (10 years)||6.1 %|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|ISO 3166 code||NO-1870|
|Official language form||Neutral|
Sortland (help·info) is a town and municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Vesterålen. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Sortland. Other population centres in Sortland include Bø, Holand, Holmstad, Liland, Sigerfjord, and Strand. The Norwegian Coast Guard has its northern base in Sortland, called Kystvaktskvadron Nord.
In 1997, the municipality decided to declare "township" for Sortland. Sortland is the largest town and commercial centre in Vesterålen. Sortland is located close to the Sortland Bridge, connecting Langøya to Hinnøya by road. Since a lot of houses in the town are painted blue, Sortland is sometimes referred to as "the blue city". In January 2012, the number of citizens in Sortland reached 10,000.
The municipality of Sortland was established in 1841 when it was separated from the municipality of Hadsel. On 1 January 1963, the Holm area (population: 65) of Langenes and the area around the inner and western part of the Eidsfjorden (population: 1,360) was transferred to Sortland. On 1 January 2000, the area surrounding the Godfjorden was transferred from Kvæfjord (and Troms county) to Sortland (and Nordland county).
The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the old Sortland farm (Old Norse: Svortuland), since the first church (Sortland Church) was built there. The first element is the genitive case of a river name Svorta and the last element is land which means "land" or "farm". The river name is derived from svartr which means "black/dark".
The coat-of-arms is from modern times. It was granted on 15 March 1985. It shows a gold-colored castle gate on a blue background. The gate symbolizes Sortland as the gateway to the Vesterålen region with its many lakes. The arms were based on the seal used by the municipality since the 1960s, which also showed a (natural) gate in a landscape. The blue colour symbolises the blue sea.
|Parish (Sokn)||Church Name||Location of the Church||Year Built|
|Sortland||Indre Eidsfjord Church||Holmstad||1970|
The municipality of Sortland is located on the islands of Langøya and Hinnøya in the Vesterålen archipelago. The municipality surrounds the inner part of the Eidsfjorden and the Sortlandssundet strait. There are several bridges in the municipality including Djupfjordstraumen Bridge, Kvalsaukan Bridge, and Sortland Bridge. The Sortland Bridge is located just north of the town of Sortland. One of the main roads through the municipality is Norwegian County Road 82. The mountain Møysalen and part of Møysalen National Park are located in southern Sortland.
Midnight Sun and Aurora Borealis
The Midnight Sun occurs from May 23 to July 23. Great places to observe the Midnight Sun includes the Sortland Bridge, Ramnflauget, Godfjorden, Holm and Skytterhaugen in the Vestmarka residential area. Because of Sortland's high latitude, there is no real darkness between late April and mid-August.
From November 30 to January 12 the sun remains below the horizon and is not visible. The return of the sun is an occasion for celebration (pupils always claim to have spotted the sun before the actual return and hope to be given the day off in celebration). The Polar Night does not mean that it becomes totally dark. The experience of the winter with the uniqueness of the light, the northern lights and snow is fantastic. Especially beautiful is the blue light southwards where the sky can also be colored in pink, just before it becomes dark.
Sortland and the Vesterålen region are perfect for observing the spectacular Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) phenomenon. The aurora borealis trails its multi coloured banner across the sky and the moon lights the scene making it a breathtaking experience. Pictures taken here have been presented in National Geographic Magazine.
|Climate data for Kleiva, Sortland|
|Average high °C (°F)||0.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−2.1
|Average low °C (°F)||−4.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||135
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||17.0||15.2||14.4||13.9||11.2||11.7||13.2||12.0||16.3||19.0||17.2||17.5||178.6|
|Source: Norwegian Meteorological Institute|
Music and culture
Sortland has been regarded as one of the best music communities in Norway, and the local band Madrugada has been one of the best ones in the nation. Sortland Jazz Festival is an event organized by Sortland Jazz and Music Club, which takes place every autumn. Some of the world's leading jazz musicians have been participating.
Sortland is Vesterålen´s leading destination for shopping with several indoors shopping centers, a huge range of activities and offers an impressive amount of hairdressers. The retail turnover per inhabitant in Sortland is greater than in any other town in North Norway. Sortland is one of the few North Norwegian towns that have grown annually since the 70s, the result of a conscious decision to create a high standard of services in a pleasant place to live.
- Lars Saabye Christensen, a famous author and the receiver of The Nordic Council's Literature Prize.
- Sivert Høyem, famous singer best known as the vocalist of the rock band Madrugada
- The Nobel Prize–winning author Knut Hamsun (1859–1952) wrote his novel Den Sidste Glæde (The Last Joy) in Sortland Hotel in 1911/12.
- "Personnemningar til stadnamn i Noreg" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
- "Nyttårs-sortlending blir nr. 10.000" (in Norwegian). Bladet Vesterålen.
- Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
- Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nordlands amt (in Norwegian) (16 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 393.
- Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 2008-11-29.
- "eKlima Web Portal". Norwegian Meteorological Institute.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sortland.|
- Nordland travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Municipal fact sheet from Statistics Norway
- Information from Sortland Municipality (Norwegian)
- Vesterålen Tourist information
- Forfjorddalen nature reserve (the oldest pine trees in Norway) (Norwegian)