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Meløy kommune
Ørnes winter.jpg
Coat of arms of Meløy kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Meløy kommune
Nordland within
Meløy within Nordland
Meløy within Nordland
Coordinates: 66°47′17″N 13°40′33″E / 66.78806°N 13.67583°E / 66.78806; 13.67583Coordinates: 66°47′17″N 13°40′33″E / 66.78806°N 13.67583°E / 66.78806; 13.67583
Country Norway
County Nordland
District Salten
Administrative centre Ørnes
 • Mayor (2011) Per Swensen (H)
 • Total 873.89 km2 (337.41 sq mi)
 • Land 798.45 km2 (308.28 sq mi)
 • Water 75.44 km2 (29.13 sq mi)
Area rank 127 in Norway
Population (2011)
 • Total 6,650
 • Rank 145 in Norway
 • Density 8.3/km2 (21/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) -2.4 %
Demonym(s) Meløyfjerding[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1837
Official language form Bokmål
Data from Statistics Norway

Meløy is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Salten traditional region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Ørnes. Other villages include Eidbukta, Neverdal, Glomfjord, Halsa, Reipå, and Ågskardet.

View of the Glomfjorden
Kystriksveien, Spilder valley (Spilderdalen) in Meløy

The municipality is situated just to the north of the Arctic Circle on Norway's west coast. It encompasses the island of Meløya and some 700 other islands of various sizes around the Meløyfjorden, Glomfjorden, and Holandsfjorden in the south, along with a stretch of mainland coast.

General information[edit]

The municipality of Meløy was established on 1 January 1884 when the northern district of the municipality of Rødøy was separated to become the new municipality of Meløy. The initial population of Meløy was 2,696. The municipal borders have not changed since then.[2]


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the island of Meløya (Old Norse: Mjǫlva), since the first church (Meløy Church) was built there. The old name of the island is probably derived from mjǫl which means "flour" or "meal" (referring to fine sand on the beaches of the island). The last element øy which means "island" was added to the name around 1500. Historically, the name was spelled Melø.[3]


The coat-of-arms is from modern times; they were granted on 7 December 1984. The arms show a yellow poppy plant (Papaver radicatum subglobosum) on a blue background. The village is near the second largest glacier in continental Norway, the Svartisen (black ice), and the plant is one of the plants growing closest to the ice. The colors symbolize the blue glacial ice and the yellow flowers.[4]


Fore Church

The Church of Norway has three parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Meløy. It is part of the Bodø deanery in the Diocese of Sør-Hålogaland.

Churches in Meløy
Church Name Location
of the Church
Year Built
Fore og Meløy Fore Church Reipå 1909
Meløy Church Meløya 1867
Ørnes Church Ørnes 1990
Glomfjord Glomfjord Church Glomfjord 1957
Halsa Halsa Church Halsa 1960


Water is collected from Svartisen to produce hydropower.
Engabreen (glacier) seen from above as it stretches down towards Holandsfjord

Meløy has been inhabited for many centuries and still possesses various relics from the Viking age. The Benkestok family, one of Norway's original noble families, established one of its seats at Meløy gård (farm) on the island of Meløya in the 16th century.

Due to the expansion of the community during the 19th century, it was split from its southern neighbour Rødøy in 1884. Its administrative centre was originally on Meløya, but it was later moved to the mainland coastal village of Ørnes. Ørnes is one of the stops on the route of the Hurtigruten (coastal express boat), with a notably scenic entrance via the fjord.

The second largest glacier in Norway, Svartisen, is a target for passenger visits. The mountains around Glomfjord are popular for fishing and hunting as well as skiing in the winter time.


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

Meløy Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party Name Name in Norwegian Number of
  Labour Party Arbeiderpartiet 7
  Progress Party Fremskrittspartiet 3
  Conservative Party Høyre 5
  Christian Democratic Party Kristelig Folkeparti 2
  Centre Party Senterpartiet 4
  Socialist Left Party Sosialistisk Venstreparti 1
  Liberal Party Venstre 1
Total number of members: 23


The municipality of Meløy is a coastal community that includes many of the surrounding islands. Many parts of the mainland were fairly isolated until road tunnels were built during the 20th century that connected them to the rest of Norway. Some of the main islands of Meløy are Meløya, Bolga, Mesøya, Støtt, and Åmnøya. Åmnøya is connected to the mainland via the Brattsund Bridge. The other islands are all accessible by boat or ferry only. The Kalsholmen Lighthouse is located in the southwestern part of the municipality.

The Vestfjorden passes Meløy in the northwest, and the Meløyfjorden, Glomfjorden, and Holandsfjorden cut into the mainland from the west. The Saltfjellet–Svartisen National Park is located in the southeast in the Saltfjellet mountain range, surrounding the Svartisen glacier.


The industrial development—and thus the main contributor to the economic development and growth of the Meløy community—started around the time of World War I. It was based on electrical power production in then new Glomfjord power plant from water coming from the Svartisen glacier and the lake Storglomvatnet and gathered in the mountains. In the bottom of Glomfjorden, Norsk Hydro (today YARA) started out producing fertilizers in Glomfjord. A conglomerate of industries is found there today in Glomfjord Industry Park. The municipality's overall industries are some light industry, agriculture, forestry, fishing, salmon production, and tourism.


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  2. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå. 
  3. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nordlands amt (in Norwegian) (16 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 173. 
  4. ^ Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  5. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. 

External links[edit]