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Kvam herad
View of Norheimsund in Kvam
View of Norheimsund in Kvam
Coat of arms of Kvam herad
Coat of arms
Official logo of Kvam herad
Hordaland within
Kvam within Hordaland
Kvam within Hordaland
Coordinates: 60°22′12″N 06°08′38″E / 60.37000°N 6.14389°E / 60.37000; 6.14389Coordinates: 60°22′12″N 06°08′38″E / 60.37000°N 6.14389°E / 60.37000; 6.14389
Administrative centreNorheimsund
 • Mayor (2015)Jostein Ljones (Sp)
 • Total616.50 km2 (238.03 sq mi)
 • Land580.49 km2 (224.13 sq mi)
 • Water36.01 km2 (13.90 sq mi)
Area rank183 in Norway
 • Total8,423
 • Rank131 in Norway
 • Density14.5/km2 (38/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Demonym(s)Kvemming, kvemmingen, kvemmingar, kvemmingane [1]
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-1238
Official language formNynorsk [2]

Kvam is a municipality in Hordaland county, Norway. The municipality is located along the Hardangerfjorden in the traditional district of Hardanger. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Norheimsund. Other larger settlements in the municipality include Øystese, Bru, Ålvik, Tørvikbygd, Omastranda, and Mundheim. Historically, the municipality was named Vikør.[3]

The 617-square-kilometre (238 sq mi) municipality is the 183rd largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Kvam is the 131st most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 8,423. The municipality's population density is 14.5 inhabitants per square kilometre (38/sq mi) and its population has increased by 2.3% over the last decade.[4]

General information[edit]

View of the village of Norheimsund


The Old Norse form of the name was Hvammr, identical with the word hvammr which means "(small) valley", possibly referring the Steinsdalen valley west of Norheimsund.[5] Before 1911, the municipality was named Vikør, which comes from the Old Norse word Vikøyar. It was the name of the farm on which the old Vikøy Church was located.[6]


The coat-of-arms is from modern times; they were granted on 27 November 1981. The blue and silver arms are designed to look like the Fyksesund, a narrow fjord in the municipality. The shape of the fjord is that it is narrower in the middle and this is symbolized in the design of the coat-of-arms.[7]


The Church of Norway has four parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Kvam. It is part of the Hardanger og Voss deanery in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.

Churches in Kvam
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Strandebarm Strandebarm Church Bru 1876
Vikøy Norheimsund Church Norheimsund 1992
Vikøy Church Vikøy 1838
Øystese Øystese Church Øystese 1868
Ålvik Ålvik Church Ålvik 1962


View of the Steinsdalsfossen waterfall

Kvam municipality borders the municipality of Voss to the north; Vaksdal, Samnanger, and Fusa to the west; Granvin to the east; and the Hardangerfjorden to the south. The Fyksesund fjord branches off the main fjord and heads north into the municipality. The Fyksesund Landscape Park surrounds the inner part of the Fyksesund, north of the Fyksesund Bridge. The largest lakes are Bjølsegrøvvatnet and Holmavatnet. In addition a portion of Hamlagrøvatnet is located in Kvam. The Kvamskogen plateau lies west of Norheimsund and is home to hundreds of holiday cabins. The Steinsdalsfossen waterfall, located in Steine is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Norway.


Historical population
Source: Statistics Norway.

The old parish of Vikør was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). According to the 1835 census, the parish had a population of 2,321.[8] On 1 January 1882, a small area of Ullensvang municipality (population: 22) was transferred to Vikør. In 1912, the municipality changed its name from "Vikør" to "Kvam".[9]

During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1965, the Åsgrenda area on the Folgefonna peninsula (population: 61) was moved from Kvam to neighboring Ullensvang municipality. On the same date, Kvam also gained a considerable amount of territory, making it a much larger municipality. The following places were merged, giving the new Kvam municipality a population of 9,119.[10]

  • Most of Kvam municipality (population: 6,759) except for Åsegrenda which was moved to Ullensvang
  • The part of Jondal municipality that was located on the northwest side of the Hardangerfjord, around the village of Tørvikbygd (population: 515)
  • Most of Strandebarm municipality (population: 1,545), except for the Kysnesstranda area which went to Jondal
  • The Mundheim area of Varaldsøy (population: 300).


All municipalities in Norway, including Kvam, 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.

In 2007, Kvam participated in a trial where the mayor was directly elected. The sitting mayor, Astrid Selsvold, won the election with 26.7% of the votes.

Municipal council[edit]

Old road in Kvam

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Kvam is made up of 27 representatives that are elected to four year terms. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[11]

Kvam Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)6
 Progress Party (Framstegspartiet)3
 Green Party (Miljøpartiet Dei Grøne)1
 Conservative Party (Høgre)3
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristeleg Folkeparti)3
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)9
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)1
 Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Total number of members:27

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  2. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian). Lovdata.no.
  3. ^ Thorsnæs, Geir, ed. (2017-06-20). "Vikøy". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  4. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2017). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  5. ^ Store norske leksikon. "Kvam – kommune i Hordaland" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2014-07-04.
  6. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1919). Norske gaardnavne: Nordre Bergenhus amt (in Norwegian) (12 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. pp. 492 and 506.
  7. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
  8. ^ Registreringssentral for historiske data. "Hjemmehørende folkemengde Hordaland 1801-1960" (in Norwegian). University of Tromsø.
  9. ^ Kvam municipality. "Arkivkatalogar" (in Norwegian).
  10. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  11. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2015.

External links[edit]