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Haugesund kommune
Smedasundet and parts of central Haugesund
Smedasundet and parts of central Haugesund
Coat of arms of Haugesund kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Haugesund kommune
Rogaland within
Haugesund within Rogaland
Haugesund within Rogaland
Coordinates: 59°26′47″N 5°17′54″E / 59.44639°N 5.29833°E / 59.44639; 5.29833Coordinates: 59°26′47″N 5°17′54″E / 59.44639°N 5.29833°E / 59.44639; 5.29833
Country Norway
County Rogaland
District Haugaland
Administrative centre Haugesund
 • Mayor (2012) Petter Steen jr. (H)
 • Total 73 km2 (28 sq mi)
 • Land 68 km2 (26 sq mi)
Area rank 403 in Norway
Population (2015)
 • Total 36,538
 • Rank 23 in Norway
 • Density 537/km2 (1,390/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 13.1 %
Demonym(s) Haugesundar/-er[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1106
Official language form Bokmål
Website www.haugesund.kommune.no
Data from Statistics Norway

About this sound Haugesund (HGSD)  is a town and municipality in the county of Rogaland, Norway. The town is the main population centre of the Haugaland and northern Rogaland area.


Haugesund was separated from Torvastad as a town and municipality of its own in 1855. The rural municipality of Skåre was merged with Haugesund on January 1, 1958.[2] Haugesund is a small municipality, only 73 km². The population is 36,538, giving the municipality a population density of 537 people per km².

The town is situated on a strategically important sound through which ships could pass without traversing heavy seas. In the early years the coastal waters off Haugesund were a huge source of herring, and the town grew accordingly. Despite being barely a village back then, King Harald Fairhair lived at Avaldsnes, very close to the modern town of Haugesund. In the last decades, the town, like its neighbours, has been turning towards the petroleum industry, the herring being long gone.

Haugesund is the main cultural centre for its region, and is home to several festivals, the largest being the Norwegian International Film Festival and Sildajazz, an international jazz festival with approximately 70 bands and close to 200 concerts.[citation needed]

As of 2009, Haugesund's urban agglomeration has a population of approximately 100,000, of which 34,000 live in Haugesund and 40,000 live on Karmøy.[3] The Haugesund Region, a statistical metropolitan area, consisting of the municipalities Karmøy, Haugesund, Tysvær, Sveio and Bokn, has a population of approx. 100,000 as of 2009.



Haugesund was founded in 1855 when it was divided from Torvastad, a former neighbouring municipality, consequently celebrating its 150-year anniversary in 2004. At the time of division, Haugesund had a population of 1,066.[2] The town is named after the strait Haugesundet. The first element is the genitive case of Hauge from the Old Norse word haugr meaning hill or mound. The last element is sund meaning strait or sound.

In the early years, the coastal waters of Haugesund were a huge source of herring, and the town grew accordingly. Despite being a fairly young town, the areas around Haugesund were lands of power during the Viking Age. Harald Fairhair, the first king of Norway, had his home at Avaldsnes, very close to the city. Fairhair was buried at Haraldshaugen, a burial mound adjacent to Karmsund. This site is the namesake of the town and municipality of Haugesund. The national monument at Haraldshaugen was raised in 1872, to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872. The Battle of Hafrsfjord has traditionally been regarded as when western Norway was unified under a single monarch for the first time.[4]

The protective sounds of Smedasund and Karmsund gave the town potential to grow in both fishing and shipping. Even to this day, Karmsund is one of Norway's busiest waterways. The town is still growing geographically even though the population has increased only moderately the last decade. Today the herring is long gone, and the town is turning more and more towards the petroleum industry, like its neighbour Stavanger.

The coat-of-arms is from 1929,[5] and shows three seagulls. It replaced the old coat-of-arms which showed a herring barrel, an anchor, and three seagulls. The current coat-of-arms was drawn by Hallvard Trætteberg.[5]


Karmøy pastures and St. Olav's church

Haugesund has a coastline with the North Sea, however, the island of Karmøy and the archipelago Røvær shelter most of the city from the rough waters of the ocean. The sound of Karmsund, located between Karmøy and Haugesund used to be very strategically important, since ships could pass without having to sail through heavy sea. Haugesund's city centre has a distinctive street layout, similar to those found in Kristiansand and Oslo. Haugesund has a typical maritime climate with mild winters, cool but pleasant springs, and mild summers lasting until the end of September. Monthly 24-hr average range from 1.1 °C in February to 14 °C in August. Mean annual precipitation is 1520 mm, with September – December as the wettest period.[6]

The population (as of July 2014) is 36,316, and with an area of only 73 km², this gives a population density of 497 people per km². As of 2007, Haugesund's agglomeration has a population of 44,183, of which 34,140 live in Haugesund and 10,043 live in Karmøy.[3] The Haugesund Region, a statistical metropolitan area, consisting of the municipalities Karmøy, Haugesund, Tysvær, Sveio and Bokn, has a population of approximately 100.000 as of 2009.

The municipality includes several islands. Risøy and Hasseløy are densely built, and connected to the mainland by bridges. Røvær which lies further out and consists of a number of islands, is also populated and connected to the mainland by ferry. Vibrandsøy and its neighboring islands are now mainly a recreational area.


Haugesund from the Risøy bridge
The city hall, designed by Gudolf Blakstad and Herman Munthe-Kaas

Haugesund's town hall was built in 1931, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2006.[7] The pink city hall, designed by Gudolf Blakstad and Herman Munthe-Kaas,[8] is one of the finest neo-classical buildings in Norway, and has been elected the most beautiful building in Haugesund.[9] It is also included in the new Norwegian edition of monopoly after it was successful in a national vote. The building may not be altered in any way without permission from the national preservation agency. It overlooks the town square and a park which was inaugurated on 28 August 1949.[9]

The town has during the last 20 years established its position as the main trading centre for Haugaland and southern parts of Hordaland. It has several relatively large shopping centres, considering the size of the town. However, this has led to a decline of the trade and shopping activity in the town centre.[10]

Risøybrua seen from Risøy. Photo: Knut Arne Gjertsen
Risøybrua seen from Haugesund. Photo: Knut Arne Gjertsen
Hasseløy bru. Photo: Knut Arne Gjertsen
Haugesund docks, with bridge to Risøy


MS Draupner, one of the catamaran ferries on the former route Bergen – Haugesund – Stavanger

Haugesund Airport, located on the island of Karmøy to the southwest of Haugesund, is connected to Oslo, Bergen, London, Gdańsk and Copenhagen amongst other destinations.[11] The Norwegian airline Coast Air was based at Haugesund airport, but filed for bankruptcy on 23 January 2008.[12]

The European Route E39 bypasses Haugesund to the east, passing through Aksdal. The European Route E134 leads eastwords to Drammen outside Oslo.

The bus station in Haugesund is located at Flotmyr on the east cide of the downtoen area. Long distance bus services are available to Stavanger, Bergen and Oslo. The local bus transport is operated by Tide, on a contract with Kolumbus lasting to 2017.[13]

The town is connected to Utsira by car ferry, and Røvær and Feøy by passenger ferry.

Local government[edit]

Haugesund has a mayor and a city council with 49 members. The mayor since 2001 is Petter Steen jr. of the Conservative Party. The distribution of council seats is summarized in the following table:[14]

Haugesund Kommunestyre 2011–2015
Party Name Name in Norwegian Number of
  Labour Party Arbeiderpartiet 14
  Progress Party Fremskrittspartiet 6
  Conservative Party Høyre 19
  Christian Democratic Party Kristelig Folkeparti 3
  Pensioners' Party Pensjonistpartiet 3
  Socialist Left Party Sosialistisk Venstreparti 1
  Liberal Party Venstre 3
Total number of members: 49


Earth dwellings in Ørpetveit Museum Farm

Haugesund has a strong historical bond to the sea and especially the herring. Every August, The Norwegian Trad-jazz festival, the Sildajazz is held. Both local and international musicians are presented at the Sildajazz.

In the summer of 2004, the annual rock festival, ""RockFest"" started. It attracted local, national and international pop and rock bands, such as Elton John, Madcon, DumDum Boys and Kaizers Orchestra. The festival started as a part of the celebration of Haugesund's 150 year anniversary. In 2009, the last Rockfest was held, and got replaced by an new concept in 2010; Haugesund Live. Haugesund Live is a series of individual concerts, and has featured bands such as The Baseballs, Kim Larsen and Mötley Crüe.

The soccer team from Haugesund, FK Haugesund is playing in the Norway's highest league, Tippeligaen.

The Norwegian International Film Festival has since 1973 been held in Haugesund, premiering and showing international and Norwegian films. The Amanda Award, Norway's variation of the Oscars, has been held in Haugesund since 1985[citation needed] in concurrence with the film festival.

Haugesunds Avis is a daily newspaper published in Haugesund, but with branches in Bømlo, Kopervik, Odda, Sauda and Stord. Founded in 1895, it is today owned by the investment group Mecom Group, and is as such part of the media group Edda Media. In 2006, Haugesunds Avis had a circulation of 33 448.[15] As of 2007, the executive editor is Tonny Nundal. The newspaper owns the local radio channel Radio 102.


The main campus of Stord/Haugesund University College is located in Haugesund. Established as recently as 1994, it is the result of the merger between Haugesund Nursing College, Stord Teachers College and Stord Nursing College.[16] The university college has approximately 2700 students and 260 employees,[16] thus making it one of the smallest university colleges in Norway.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Haugesund is twinned with:

Each of the sister cities (with exception of Emden) have given name to a street in Haugesund.[citation needed] The streets are located in the same area just outside the city centre.


  1. ^ "Personnemningar til stadnamn i Noreg" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. 
  2. ^ a b Dag Jukvam / Statistics Norway (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). 
  3. ^ a b "Urban settlements. Population and area, by municipality. 1 January 2007" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  4. ^ Haraldshaugen monument to the founder of Norway in Haugesund (Stavanger Travel AS)
  5. ^ a b "Haugesund byvåpen" (in Norwegian). Haugesund kommune. Retrieved 2007-10-24. [dead link]
  6. ^ met.no: Normaler for
  7. ^ Idar H. Pedersen (2006). "Haugesund Rådhus" (in Norwegian). Haugesund kommune. Retrieved 2007-10-24. [dead link]
  8. ^ Idar H. Pedersen (2007). "Den italienske drømmen" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2007-10-24. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b "The City Hall in Haugesund" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Haugesund kommune. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  10. ^ Ballo, Jannike Gottschalk (29 June 2010). "Flytter ut av sentrum" (in Norwegian). Haugesunds avis. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  11. ^ http://www.avinor.no/lufthavn/haugesund/direkteruter
  12. ^ http://www.aftenposten.no/english/business/article2213723.ece
  13. ^ Lütcherath, Tone (19 April 2010). "Tide vant busskontrakt" (in Norwegian). Haugesunds avis. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "Resultater for Haugesund i Rogaland" (in Norwegian). Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. Retrieved 11 February 2012. 
  15. ^ "Avisenes leser- og opplagstall for 2006" (in Norwegian). Mediebedriftenes Landsforening. 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2007. 
  16. ^ a b "Om HSH" (in Norwegian). Høgskolen Stord/Haugesund. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  17. ^ a b c d Idar H. Pedersen (2004). "Vennskapsbyer" (in Norwegian). Haugesund kommune. Retrieved 2007-10-25. [dead link]

External links[edit]