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Haugesund kommune
View of Smedasundet and parts of central Haugesund
View of 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 05°17′54″E / 59.44639°N 5.29833°E / 59.44639; 5.29833Coordinates: 59°26′47″N 05°17′54″E / 59.44639°N 5.29833°E / 59.44639; 5.29833
Country Norway
County Rogaland
District Haugaland
Administrative centre Haugesund
 • Mayor (2001) Petter Steen jr. (H)
 • Total 72.68 km2 (28.06 sq mi)
 • Land 68.36 km2 (26.39 sq mi)
 • Water 4.32 km2 (1.67 sq mi)
Area rank 400 in Norway
Population (2015)
 • Total 36,538
 • Rank 22 in Norway
 • Density 534.5/km2 (1,384/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 15.9% %
Demonym(s) Haugesundar
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 Rogaland county, Norway. The town is the main population centre of the Haugaland region in northern Rogaland. The majority of the population of Haugesund lives in the main urban area surrounding the city centre, with the northwestern part of the municipality being fairly rural.


The town is situated on a strategically important sound, the Karmsundet, 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, with the herring being long gone.


Haugesund is a small municipality, only about 73 square kilometres (28 sq mi). The population (in 2015) is 36,538, giving the municipality a population density of 534.5 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,384/sq mi). The "urban area" of the town of Haugesund, which actually crosses over slightly into the neighboring municipality of Karmøy, has a total of about 40,152 (of that 5,425 people live in Karmøy) people. This leaves about 2,000 residents of Haugesund that live outside the town of Haugesund in the rural portion of the municipality.[2]

The Haugesund Region, a statistical metropolitan area, which consists of the municipalities Karmøy, Haugesund, Tysvær, Sveio, and Bokn, has a population of approximately 100,000 people (as of 2009).


The urban village area of Haugesund (population: 1,066) was declared to be a "town" and it was separated from the municipality of Torvastad on 1 February 1855 to become a separate municipality of its own. On 1 January 1911, a small urban area of Skåre (population: 3,847) that directly abutted the town of Haugesund was transferred to Haugesund. On 1 January 1958, the remainder of the municipality of Skåre was merged with the town of Haugesund, creating a larger Haugesund municipality. On 1 January 1965, the island of Vibrandsøy (population: 70) was transferred from Torvastad municipality to Haugesund.[3]


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 present town. Fairhair was buried at Haraldshaugen, a burial mound adjacent to the Karmsundet strait. 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 straits 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 neighbouring town to the south, Stavanger.


The town is named after the Haugesundet strait. 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.[5]

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat-of-arms for Haugesund was granted on 5 March 1930. They were designed by Hallvard Trætteberg. The arms are blue with three silver/white seagulls lined up vertically. The seagulls and blue color were chosen to represent the importance of the sea. These arms replaced the old coat-of-arms that were granted on 29 December 1862. The old arms showed three herring barrels, an anchor, and three seagulls. The old arms showed the importance of herring fishing and processing in the town. The three barrels also represented the three parts of the municipality: the mainland and the islands of Hasseløy and Risøy. The new arms from 1930 removed the herring barrels due to the decline in the importance of that industry.[6]


Karmøy pastures and St. Olav's church

Haugesund has a coastline with the North Sea, however, the island of Karmøy and the archipelago of Røvær shelter most of the city from the rough waters of the ocean. The Karmsundet strait, 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 (34.0 °F) in February to 14 °C (57 °F) in August. Mean annual precipitation is 1,520 millimetres (60 in), with September – December as the wettest period.[7]

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. Røværsholmen Lighthouse sits just off the coast of the main Røvær island.

The lakes Vigdarvatnet and Stakkastadvatnet are located in the municipality.


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.[8] The pink city hall, designed by Gudolf Blakstad and Herman Munthe-Kaas,[9] is one of the finest neo-classical buildings in Norway, and has been elected the most beautiful building in Haugesund.[10] 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.[10]

The town has during the last 20 years established its position as the main trading centre for the Haugaland region and southern parts of Hordaland county. 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.[11]

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 in Karmøy municipality, is connected to the cities of Oslo, Bergen, London, Gdańsk and Copenhagen amongst other destinations.[12] The Norwegian airline Coast Air was based at Haugesund airport, but filed for bankruptcy on 23 January 2008.[13]

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 side of the downtown 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.[14]

The town is connected to the island of Utsira by car ferry, and to the islands of Røvær and Feøy by passenger ferry.


All municipalities in Norway, including Haugesund, 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 Haugesund is made up of 49 representatives that are elected to every four years. For 2011–2015, the party breakdown is as follows:[15]

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.

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]

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.[16] As of 2007, the executive editor is Tonny Nundal. The newspaper owns the local radio channel Radio 102.


The Church of Norway has three parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Haugesund. It is part of the Haugaland deanery in the Diocese of Stavanger.

Churches in Haugesund
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Rossabø Rossabø Church Rossabø 1972
Skåre Skåre Church Haugesund 1858
Udland Church Haugesund 2002
Vår Frelser Vår Frelsers Church Haugesund 1901


The main campus of Stord/Haugesund University College is located in Haugesund. Established in 1994, it is the result of the merger between Haugesund Nursing College, Stord Teachers College, and Stord Nursing College.[17] The university college has approximately 2700 students and 260 employees,[17] thus making it one of the smallest university colleges in Norway.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Haugesund has sister city agreements with the following places:

Each of the sister cities (with exception of Emden) has given its name to a street in Haugesund. The streets are located in the same area just outside the city centre.[19]


  1. ^ "Personnemningar til stadnamn i Noreg" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. 
  2. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (1 January 2014). "Urban settlements. Population and area, by municipality.". 
  3. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå. 
  4. ^ Haraldshaugen monument to the founder of Norway in Haugesund (Stavanger Travel AS)
  5. ^ Store norske leksikon. "Haugesund" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2015-10-12. 
  6. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2015-10-12. 
  7. ^ met.no: Normaler for
  8. ^ Idar H. Pedersen (2006). "Haugesund Rådhus" (in Norwegian). Haugesund kommune. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  9. ^ Idar H. Pedersen (2007). "Den italienske drømmen" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2007-10-24. [dead link]
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Ballo, Jannike Gottschalk (29 June 2010). "Flytter ut av sentrum" (in Norwegian). Haugesunds avis. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  12. ^ http://www.avinor.no/lufthavn/haugesund/direkteruter
  13. ^ http://www.aftenposten.no/english/business/article2213723.ece
  14. ^ Lütcherath, Tone (19 April 2010). "Tide vant busskontrakt" (in Norwegian). Haugesunds avis. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "Members of the local councils, by party/electoral lists and municipality" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2011. 
  16. ^ "Avisenes leser- og opplagstall for 2006" (in Norwegian). Mediebedriftenes Landsforening. 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2007. 
  17. ^ a b "Om HSH" (in Norwegian). Høgskolen Stord/Haugesund. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  18. ^ a b c d Idar H. Pedersen (2004). "Vennskapsbyer" (in Norwegian). Haugesund kommune. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-25. 
  19. ^ "Map of Norway". 1881.no. Retrieved 2015-10-12. 

External links[edit]