Gáivuotna – Kåfjord – Kaivuono

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Kåfjord kommune

Gáivuona suohkan
Kaivuonon komuuni
View of Olderdalen
View of Olderdalen
Coat of arms of Kåfjord kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Kåfjord kommune
Troms within
Kåfjord within Troms
Kåfjord within Troms
Coordinates: 69°36′14″N 20°31′57″E / 69.60389°N 20.53250°E / 69.60389; 20.53250Coordinates: 69°36′14″N 20°31′57″E / 69.60389°N 20.53250°E / 69.60389; 20.53250
Administrative centreOlderdalen
 • Mayor (2015)Svein O. Leiros (Sp)
 • Total991.18 km2 (382.70 sq mi)
 • Land950.33 km2 (366.92 sq mi)
 • Water40.85 km2 (15.77 sq mi)  4.1%
Area rank107 in Norway
 • Total2,132
 • Rank318 in Norway
 • Density2.2/km2 (6/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Demonym(s)Kåfjording [1]
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-1940
Official language formBokmål and Sami [2]

Gáivuotna (Northern Sami), Kåfjord (Norwegian), or Kaivuono (Kven)[3] is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Olderdalen. Other villages include Løkvollen, Manndalen, Birtavarre, Trollvik, Samuelsberg, Nordmannvik, and Djupvik.

The 991-square-kilometre (383 sq mi) municipality is the 107th largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Kåfjord is the 318th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 2,132. The municipality's population density is 2.2 inhabitants per square kilometre (5.7/sq mi) and its population has decreased by 5.2% over the last decade.[4][5]

General information[edit]

The municipality of Kåfjord was established in 1929 when the large Lyngen Municipality was divided into three: Lyngen in the northwest, Kåfjord in the northeast, and Storfjord Municipality in the south. The initial population of Kåfjord was 2,482. Then on 1 January 1992, the Nordnes area along the Lyngen fjord in Lyngen Municipality (population: 38) was transferred to Kåfjord Municipality.[6]


Kåfjord is a Norwegianized form of the Sámi name Gáivuotna. The meaning of the first element is unknown and the last element is vuotna which means "fjord".

The name of the municipality was Kåfjord until 2 May 1994, when it was changed to Gáivuotna–Kåfjord.[6][7] It was the fifth municipality in Norway to get a Sami name. In 2005, the name was again changed such that either the Sami Gáivuotna or the Norwegian Kåfjord name can be used.[8]

In 2016 the name was changed again. This time the Kven language name was added to the list of official names. All three names are equal and parallel names for the municipality. The official names of the municipality are Gáivuotna – Kåfjord – Kaivuono, or more formally Gáivuona suohkan – Kåfjord kommune – Kaivuonon komuuni.[9]

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat of arms is from 1988. It shows a silver or white spinning wheel on a red background. This was chosen to reflect the crafts and traditions of the local community.[10][11]


The Church of Norway has one parish (sokn) within the municipality. It is part of the Nord-Troms prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Nord-Hålogaland.

Churches in Gáivuotna-Kåfjord-Kaivouno
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Kåfjord Kåfjord Church Olderdalen 1949
Birtavarre Chapel Birtavarre 1937


In 1945, the villages of Kåfjord were burned to the ground during the retreat of German forces from Finland and Finnmark. This was as far west as the Wehrmacht used their scorched earth tactics.


All municipalities in Norway, including Kåfjord, 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.[12] The municipality falls under the Nord-Troms District Court and the Hålogaland Court of Appeal.

Municipal council[edit]

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Kåfjord is made up of 17 representatives that are elected to four year terms. The party breakdown of the council is as follows:

Gáivuotna Kåfjord Kaivuono Kommunestyre 2020–2024 [13]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)8
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)1
 Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)1
 Conservative Party (Høyre)1
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)2
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)4
Total number of members:17
Gáivuotna Kåfjord Kaivuono Kommunestyre 2016–2019 [14]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)5
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)1
 Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)1
 Conservative Party (Høyre)2
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)2
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)4
 Manndalen, Skardalen, and Nordnes Common List (Manndalen, Skardalen og Nordnes bygdeliste)2
Total number of members:17
Gáivuotna Kåfjord Kommunestyre 2012–2015 [15]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)8
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)2
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)3
 Coastal Party (Kystpartiet)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)2
 Kåfjord Common List (Kåfjord bygdeliste)1
Total number of members:17


Kåfjord valley (Kåfjorddalen).

The municipality is situated on the eastern side of the Lyngen fjord, and around its eastern arm, the Kåfjord. The municipal centre is Olderdalen. Other villages include Birtavarre, Kåfjorddalen, Djupvik, Nordmannvik, and Manndalen, where the international indigenous peoples' festival Riddu Riđđu is hosted each year.

On the border with Finland, is the mountain Ráisduattarháldi which has a height of 1,365 m (4,478 ft).


Fishing and small-scale farming have been the most important sources of income. Now many people work in education and other public services. The population has declined for many years, but the decline is now less rapid than earlier. A new optimism has arisen among young people, largely due to the increasing cultural activities.


The majority of the population is of Sami origin. Due to assimilation pressure from the Norwegian State, the language was largely lost in the 20th century. Efforts are being made to reintroduce the Northern Sami language which is largely concentrated in the municipality's largest village, Manndalen/Olmmáivággi.

Notable residents[edit]

Erik Johnsen (1844–1941), a Laestadian preacher. He received the King's Medal of Merit (Kongens Fortjenstmedalje) in 1938 for his work for the salvation of the soul.[16]


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  2. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian). Lovdata.no.
  3. ^ "Stadnamn og rettskriving" (in Norwegian). Kartverket. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  4. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2018). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  5. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå. "09280: Area of land and fresh water (km²) (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  6. ^ a b Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  7. ^ "Ot.prp. nr. 111 (2001-2002)" (in Norwegian). regjeringen.no. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  8. ^ "Endring av skrivemåten for tospråklige kommunenavn" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  9. ^ "Stadnamn og rettskriving" (in Norwegian). Statens kartverk. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  10. ^ Store norske leksikon. "Gáivuotna/Kåfjord" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
  11. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  12. ^ Hansen, Tore, ed. (2016-05-12). "kommunestyre". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  13. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2019 - Troms og Finnmark". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  14. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
  15. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2011 - Troms Romsa". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  16. ^ "Biografi: Predikant Erik Johnsen, Manndalen". predikanterikjohnsenblog. Retrieved 2018-08-05.

External links[edit]

The dictionary definition of gáivuotna – kåfjord – kaivuono at Wiktionary Troms travel guide from Wikivoyage