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Giske kommune
View of Giske
View of Giske
Coat of arms of Giske kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Giske kommune
Møre og Romsdal within
Giske within Møre og Romsdal
Giske within Møre og Romsdal
Coordinates: 62°33′45″N 06°06′07″E / 62.56250°N 6.10194°E / 62.56250; 6.10194Coordinates: 62°33′45″N 06°06′07″E / 62.56250°N 6.10194°E / 62.56250; 6.10194
CountyMøre og Romsdal
Administrative centreGiske
 • Mayor (2015)Harry Valderhaug (KrF)
 • Total40.53 km2 (15.65 sq mi)
 • Land39.87 km2 (15.39 sq mi)
 • Water0.66 km2 (0.25 sq mi)
Area rank#413 in Norway
 • Total8,176
 • Rank#132 in Norway
 • Density205.1/km2 (531/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-1532
Official language formNynorsk

Giske is an island municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. The municipality lies north-northwest of the town of Ålesund in the traditional district of Sunnmøre. The municipal centre is Valderhaugstrand. Other population centres include the villages of Roald (on Vigra island) and Alnes and Leitebakk (both on Godøy island). The municipality is part of the Ålesund Region.

The 41-square-kilometre (16 sq mi) municipality is the 413th largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Giske is the 132nd most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 8,176. The municipality's population density is 205.1 inhabitants per square kilometre (531/sq mi) and its population has increased by 23% over the last decade.[1]

General information[edit]

View of the islands of Giske
View of Giske Church

Giske Municipality was established on 1 January 1908 when it was separated from the large municipality of Borgund. The initial population of the new municipality was 1,708 and it included the islands of Valderøya, Godøya, and Giske. Then on 1 January 1964, the neighbouring Vigra Municipality (on the island of Vigra was merged into Giske Municipality. The newly enlarged municipality had a population of 4,644.[2]


The municipality is named after the farm and island Giske (Old Norse: Gizki), since the first church (Giske Church) was built there. The name is (probably) identical with the word gizki which means "tablecloth" or "rag" (maybe because the island is small and flat).[3]


The coat-of-arms is from modern times. It was granted on 14 June 1985, but it has old roots. It is a gold lion rampant (i.e. in walking position) guardant (i.e. facing the viewer) on a blue shield. The arms are based on the old seal of Erling Vidkunsson, who already used the lion on his seal in 1355. His family was one of the most wealthy and influential families in the county, and had their origins and estate on Giske.[4]


The Church of Norway has three parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Giske. It is part of the Nordre Sunnmøre deanery in the Diocese of Møre.

Churches in Giske
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Giske Giske Church Giske 1170
Godøy Chapel Geilevika on Godøy 1953
Valderøy Valderøy Church Nordstrand 1961
Vigra Vigra Church Vigra 1894


All municipalities in Norway, including Giske, 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 Giske is made up of 23 representatives that are elected to four year terms. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[5]

Giske Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party Name Name in Norwegian Number of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet4
 Progress PartyFramstegspartiet2
 Conservative PartyHøgre3
 Christian Democratic PartyKristelig Folkeparti6
 Centre PartySenterpartiet1
 Liberal PartyVenstre4
 Local ListsLokale lister3
Total number of members:23


In the 2007 municipal elections, Giske recorded the highest vote for the Christian Democratic Party in Norway at 43.2 percent.


A beach in Giske on Valderøy island

The municipality is composed of four main islands: Giske, which gives its name to the municipality because of its historical importance, Vigra, which is where Ålesund's airport is located, Valderøya, where the municipal administration is located, and Godøya. There are also many smaller islands within its boundaries. The Alnes Lighthouse, Erkna Lighthouse, and Storholmen lighthouse are all located on islands in the municipality.

The main islands are all connected to the mainland of Norway by a network of tunnels and bridges. Godøy Tunnel connects Godøy to Giske island. Giske Bridge connects Giske island and Valderøy. A causeway connects Vigra island and Valderøy island. All islands are connected to Valderøy island which is where the main Valderøy Tunnel connects the whole municipality to Ellingsøya island in Ålesund Municipality. Finally, the Ellingsøy Tunnel connects that island to the town of Ålesund.


Giske is the site of Mjelthaugen, an ancient burial place dating from the Bronze Age. The site was the location of excavations in 1847, 1867 and 1878. Giske is also the place where, according to Snorre Sturlason, Harald Fairhair had his hair cut after uniting Norway. The historic Giske Church is also located on the island of Giske.[6]


  1. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2017). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  2. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  3. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1908). Norske gaardnavne: Romsdals amt (in Norwegian) (13 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 188.
  4. ^ Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 18 October 2008.
  5. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2015.
  6. ^ "Giske church and Mjelthaugen".

External links[edit]