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Selje kommune
View of the island of Barmen in Selje
View of the island of Barmen in Selje
Coat of arms of Selje kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Selje kommune
Sogn og Fjordane within
Selje within Sogn og Fjordane
Selje within Sogn og Fjordane
Coordinates: 62°08′14″N 05°13′23″E / 62.13722°N 5.22306°E / 62.13722; 5.22306Coordinates: 62°08′14″N 05°13′23″E / 62.13722°N 5.22306°E / 62.13722; 5.22306
Country Norway
County Sogn og Fjordane
District Nordfjord
Administrative centre Selje
 • Mayor (2015) Stein Robert Osdal (KrF)
 • Total 226.12 km2 (87.31 sq mi)
 • Land 219.88 km2 (84.90 sq mi)
 • Water 6.24 km2 (2.41 sq mi)
Area rank 318 in Norway
Population (2017)
 • Total 2,791
 • Rank 282 in Norway
 • Density 12.7/km2 (33/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) -4.1 %
Demonym(s) Seljeværing[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1441
Official language form Nynorsk
Data from Statistics Norway

Selje is a municipality in the county of Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Nordfjord. The village of Selje is the administrative center of Selje municipality.

Selje is located at the northwesternmost part of Sogn og Fjordane county. Most of the municipality is located on and around the Stadlandet peninsula as well as some small surrounding islands such as Selja and Barmøya. The Stad Ship Tunnel is a proposed tunnel/canal through a small isthmus connecting the Moldefjorden to the Vanylvsfjorden, and it would prevent the need for boats to travel around the Stad peninsula—a particularly dangerous sea route.

Selje was one of the first three Episcopal sees in Norway (Oslo, Nidaros, and Selje). After the diocese was moved to Bergen, monks took over the church in Selje, which was later destroyed by pirates in 1536. The municipality of Selje is also home to the Selje Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery located on the island of Selja. There are ruins of the abbey and church can still be seen on the island.[2]

The 226-square-kilometre (87 sq mi) municipality is the 318th largest by area out of the 426 municipalities in Norway. Selje is the 282nd most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 2,791. The municipality's population density is 12.7 inhabitants per square kilometre (33/sq mi) and its population has decreased by 4.1% over the last decade.[3]

General information[edit]

Some boat-houses at Selje
Ruins of the Selje Abbey on Selja

Selje was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The original municipality was identical to the historic Selje prestegjeld with the sub-parishes (sokn) of Hove and Vågsøy. The municipality originally included all of the Stadlandet peninsula, the island of Vågsøy and the mainland area north of the mouth of the Nordfjorden.

On 1 January 1910, the southwestern district of Vågsøy was separated from Selje to form two new municipalities: Nord-Vågsøy and Sør-Vågsøy. The sub-parish of Hove was renamed Selje at the same time. After the separation, Selje had a population of 3,367 residents.[4]

During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1964, the municipalities of Nord-Vågsøy and Sør-Vågsøy as well as a small part of southern Selje municipality were merged to form the new Vågsøy Municipality. The parts of Selje involved were the island of Silda, the Hagevik-Osmundsvåg area, and the farms of Sørpollen and Straumen.[5] There were 344 residents in those areas that were moved out of Selje.[4]

On 1 January 2020, the municipalities of Selje and Eid will merge to form the new municipality of Stad.[6] It is possible that the Bryggja area of Vågsøy Municipality will also be part of Stad municipality, but those discussions are ongoing with the Vågsøy council saying no, but the residents of that area saying yes.[7][8]


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the small island of Selja, since the first church (Selje Church) was built there. The meaning of the name is unknown. Prior to 1889, the name was written Selø or Selløe.[9]


Image of the coat of arms

The coat-of-arms is from modern times; they were granted on 5 April 1991. They are blue and silver, showing the upper half of a woman with raised arms and crown. The woman is a depiction of Saint Sunniva, the royal Irish missionary who died as a martyr on the island of Selja while trying to convert he locals to Christianity. Later, the Selje Abbey was built on the spot where she died. She was later named the patron saint of the Norwegian Diocese of Bjørgvin and all of Western Norway.[10][11]


The Church of Norway has three parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Selje. It is part of the Nordfjord deanery in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.[12][13]

Churches in Selje
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Ervik Ervik Church Ervik 1970
Leikanger Leikanger Church Leikanger 1866
Selje Selje Church Selje 1866

Also, the ruins of the Selje Abbey (built in 1100) are located on the island of Selja.


Hoddevik village on the Stad peninsula
Honningsvåg lake on the Stad peninsula

All municipalities in Norway, including Selje, 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.

Municipal council[edit]

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Selje is made up of 17 representatives that are elected to four year terms. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[14]

Selje Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party Name Name in Norwegian Number of
  Labour Party Arbeiderpartiet 1
  Progress Party Framstegspartiet 4
  Conservative Party Høgre 2
  Christian Democratic Party Kristelig Folkeparti 2
  Centre Party Senterpartiet 3
  Local Lists Lokale lister 5
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. Stein Robert Osdal of the Christian People's Party was elected mayor for the 2015–2019 term.

Many previous mayors have later entered national or regional politics: Ottar Nygård, Julius Fure, Magne Aarøen, Åge Starheim, and Sverre J. Hoddevik.


The village of Årvik on the Stad peninsula
The village of Drage on the Stad peninsula

Selje is located in the northwesternmost part of Sogn og Fjordane county, in the Nordfjord region. It includes the Stad peninsula and the islands of Barmøya, Venøya, and Selja. Selje is surrounded by water on three sides. The Sildagapet bay on the west, the North Sea to the north, and the Vanylvsfjorden to the northeast. Selje municipality is bordered to the south and west by Vågsøy Municipality and to the east by Vanylven and Sande municipalities (in Møre og Romsdal county).


The main industries in the municipality of Selje have been fishing and farming. These industries are still present in Selje, with the addition of new industries such as fish breeding, boat building, ready-made clothing manufacturing, and service industries.[2]

Villages and neighborhoods[edit]

Villages and neighborhoods in the municipality include Barmen, Ervik, Flatraket, Hoddevik, Hoddevika, Håvik, and Leikanger.



On the island of Selja, a 15-minute boat trip from the village of Selje, lie the ruins of the Selje Abbey, its tower still intact. The abbey was built by Benedictine monks early in the 12th century in honour of St. Sunniva. The legend of St. Sunniva who was martyred here lives on. Norway has two male saints (St. Olav and St. Hallvard) and one female one, St. Sunniva, the guardian saint of Western Norway. According to legend, Sunniva, daughter of an Irish king, fled when her country was conquered by heathens and the new king wanted to marry her. She came ashore on the island of Selja. The St. Sunniva cave where Sunniva is said to have died is a large cavern containing remains of walls and traces of the first church dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

The island of Selja is also home to the following sites:


The part of Norway's mainland that is farthest west is in Selje. The West Cape (Vestkapp) is 496 metres (1,627 ft) above sea level at the northwestern end of the Stad peninsula. It is a precipitous rocky plateau, almost flat on top, that drops steeply down to the sea. In good weather, there is a panoramic view in all directions. It is immediately north of the village of Ervik.[2]


Ervik is located by the ocean near the West Cape at the end of the Stad peninsula. The Ervik Church is located here in memory of those who died when the coastal express ship Sanct Svithun was wrecked here after being mistakenly bombed in 1943 by Canadian planes. Ervik has a fine sandy beach which is popular for surfing, and a river rich in trout and salmon.[2]


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Selje Municipality in Norway". Retrieved 20 July 2008. 
  3. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2017). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-10-22. 
  4. ^ a b Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå. 
  5. ^ "The municipality of Selje". 19 March 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2008. 
  6. ^ {{cite web|url= 2020: Eid og Selje i ny kommune|language=Norwegian|accessdate=2017-10-22}
  7. ^ Wuttudal, Anna (2017-10-20). "Vågsøy vil ikkje gje slepp". Fjordabladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-10-22. 
  8. ^ Gytri, Anna; Blaalid Oldeide, Erlend (2017-09-23). "Vil la folk på Bryggja skifte kommune". NRK Sogn og Fjordane (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-10-22. 
  9. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1919). Norske gaardnavne: Nordre Bergenhus amt (in Norwegian) (12 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 384. 
  10. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2017-10-22. 
  11. ^ "Kommunevåpen" (in Norwegian). Store norske leksikon. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  12. ^ "Selje kirkelige fellesråd" (in Norwegian). Den Norske Kirke. 
  13. ^ Natvik, Oddvar (9 February 2005). "Some historical data on the 26 Kommunes". 
  14. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2015. 

External links[edit]