Grip, Norway

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Grip municipality

Grip kommune
Grip within Møre og Romsdal
Grip within Møre og Romsdal
Coordinates: 63°13′10″N 07°35′35″E / 63.21944°N 7.59306°E / 63.21944; 7.59306Coordinates: 63°13′10″N 07°35′35″E / 63.21944°N 7.59306°E / 63.21944; 7.59306
CountyMøre og Romsdal
Municipality IDNO-1555
Created fromUnincorporated before 1897
Merged withKristiansund in 1964
Adm. CenterGrip
 • Land0.48 km2 (0.19 sq mi)
 • Settled islet0.04 km2 (0.02 sq mi)
Highest elevation
10 m (30 ft)
 • Total104
 • Density217/km2 (560/sq mi)
 • Rank in Norway
744 (last)
 • Demonym

Grip (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈɡriːp]) is an archipelago, a deserted fishing village, and a former municipality about 14 km (9 mi) northwest of the city of Kristiansund. It is located in Kristiansund Municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. The Grip Lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in Norway, is located on one of the islands of Grip. The historic Grip Stave Church is located on Gripholmen.[1]


The Grip archipelago consists of 82 islets and skerries about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) into the Norwegian Sea northwest off Kristiansund. The fishing village is located on Gripholmen, which is the largest and only habitable islet. On the south side of the fishing village is the main harbor, protected by two breakwaters. The older and northern harbour is smaller and less protected. Other breakwaters protects the fishing village from large ocean waves. The highest point is just 10 metres (33 ft) above mean sea level.

The Inngripan group of skerries lies about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) closer to Kristiansund, where a small storm shelter offered protection for shipwrecked fishermen. The storm shelter has recently been restored.

As all the turf and vegetation on Gripholmen was removed to provide clean cliffs for drying cod there was little room for agriculture. Only a few tiny gardens remained. The inhabitants could keep one or two cows grazing on the close islet Grønningen, and a few hens and pigs. After being deserted in 1974, Grip is slowly revegetating.[2]

Fishing village[edit]

An islet with a village (1967)
From the fishing village (1967)

The first indications of settlement at Grip is from the ninth century, where fishermen settled close to the fishing grounds. Grip might because of that, be the oldest settlement in the Nordmøre district. Exports of fish from Norwegian fishing villages became important during the monopoly of the Hanseatic League. The Grip Stave Church is thought to have been constructed around 1470. The village belonged to the archbishop of Norway until the protestant reformation in 1537, when king Christian III seized all church properties in Norway.

Merchant Hans Horneman in Trondheim bought the islet from King Frederick IV in 1728 and the fishermen and their families became, in effect, vassals. The fishermen had to sell the catch to the merchants at a price decided by them later. This arrangement lasted until it was forbidden in 1893. The merchants, becoming landlords, also bought most of the private properties.

Storm surges destroyed most of the fishing village in 1796 and again in 1804, leaving only the church and a few other houses. The first breakwaters were constructed in 1882 and a harbor capable of landing small ships was not ready until 1950. The new harbour provided excessive materials which were used to create a small football pitch.

The population fluctuated for centuries, following the profitability of fishing, between 100 and 400 people. A now deserted village, it was once a busy place, when 2,000 fishermen could stay there during the height of the fishing season, when fishermen rowed and sailed to Grip from all over, to catch cod. Centralization led to a declining population after World War II, and Grip became deserted in 1974 when Hildur and Kasper Larsen left just before Christmas.

After being deserted, the old houses have become popular summer houses, and in the summer Grip has 150-250 residents in 44 housing units, primarily the earlier population and their descendants in Kristiansund. The harbour is still a popular dock for small fishing vessels, and the village is a popular destination for tourism in Kristiansund.

Beginning in 1895 public transportation between Grip and Kristiansund was established by steamship and in the period from 1914 to 1972 by motorboat. Today a passenger ferry connects Grip to Kristiansund in the summer season with one or two 30-minute crossings from the town centre every day.

When the diesel generator was started in 1950, the population was supplied with electric energy. The summer residents now get their electricity from 7:00 in the morning to 11:00 at night with two generators installed in the local power station, totaling 210 kVA power. The power station was privatized in 1992. The archipelago has mobile phone coverage from a radio tower in Kristiansund. There is no natural source of fresh water, so the residents collect rainwater, flush the toilets with seawater, and travel to town to do their laundry.

Infrared cameras with a complete view of the village are monitored from the fire station in Kristiansund as fire protection. In 2011 the world's smallest fire truck was delivered, and the summer residents were trained in operating the equipment.

The old schoolhouse has been turned into an inn and post office, and one of the boathouses in the harbour and the temperance movement's lodge serves as community houses.


View of Grip lighthouse

The formannskapsdistrikt law of 1837 required that every parish in Norway should be constituted as a municipality on 1 January 1838. It also required that parishes composed of a town with a rural district should be divided into two municipalities (a pure town - and a pure rural district). Grip was an annex to the parish of Kristiansund in 1837, but this annex had no men with the right to vote.

The right to vote was in Norway until 1884 mostly limited to men with property. In a fishing village where a merchant in the town owned all the houses, nobody had the right to vote. Through constitutional changes in 1884 the right to vote was extended to men who paid taxes, and the fishermen in Grip paid income taxes. Grip municipality was incorporated in 1897 with a population of 198.

Grip municipality bought the fishing village from Ludvig Williamsen in 1909. The entire community had previously been the property of a merchant in Kristiansund, not including the church, school and three private houses. The price of 110,000 kr was financed through a public loan to be paid back in 45 years. The municipality then began selling the houses to their inhabitants. A census in 1910 showed a population of 187.

With a land area of only 0.48 square kilometres (120 acres) and a population of 104, Grip was the smallest municipality in Norway until it merged with Kristiansund in 1964. Today Kvitsøy is the smallest municipality in Norway, and Utsira is the municipality with the smallest population, both small island communities.[3]


The name is first recorded in 1338 as "Gripar" (Old Norse: Grípar) which is a plural form (natural, since Grip is an archipelago). The etymology of the name is uncertain, but it is maybe related to the Norse verb grípa which means "catch", "seize", or "grip". If this is the case, then it probably refers to the catching of fish here.[4]

Media gallery[edit]


  1. ^ Store norske leksikon. "Grip. – tidl. kommune" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
  2. ^ Store norske leksikon. "Grip. – øygruppe i Kristiansund" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
  3. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  4. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1908). Norske gaardnavne: Romsdals amt (in Norwegian) (13 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 326.

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