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Nissedal kommune
Coat of arms of Nissedal kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Nissedal kommune
Telemark within
Nissedal within Telemark
Nissedal within Telemark
Coordinates: 59°4′35″N 8°31′6″E / 59.07639°N 8.51833°E / 59.07639; 8.51833Coordinates: 59°4′35″N 8°31′6″E / 59.07639°N 8.51833°E / 59.07639; 8.51833
Administrative centreTreungen
 • Mayor (2015)Halvor Homme (Ap)
 • Total905 km2 (349 sq mi)
 • Land788 km2 (304 sq mi)
Area rank#123 in Norway
 • Total1,429
 • Rank#377 in Norway
 • Density2/km2 (5/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-0830
Official language formNynorsk

Nissedal is a rural municipality in Telemark County, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Vest-Telemark. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Treungen. The municipality of Nissedal was established on January 1, 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). As of 2018, Nissedal is home to 1,489 full-time residents and 2,246 vacation homes.[2]

Nissedal has been nicknamed the Telemark Riviera due to its close proximity to Gautefall Alpine Center, and due to its many campgrounds and places for outdoor activities.[3][4] There is a total of 1,750 lakes in Nissedal, including Nisser Lake, the seventh-largest lake in Norway, which Nissedal is named after.[5][6] Gautefall, which is home to Telemark County’s largest alpine center, lies adjacent to the municipality. For residents of cities near the Oslo Fjord, Gautefall is the nearest winter sport destination.[7]

Nissedal is recognized as one of Norway’s best places for mountain climbing.[8][9] It is home to Hægefjell, one of Norway’s most popular mountain climbing destinations.[10][11]

Important industries in Nissedal are farming, forestry, fur farming, power supply and tourism.[12][13]

The municipality is bordered by Fyresdal to the west, Kviteseid to the north, Drangedal to the east, and Gjerstad, Vegårshei and Åmli municipalities to the south.

General information[edit]


A man in a traditional red hat by F. C. Lund.

Nissedal is named after Nisser Lake, which is the largest lake in Telemark County.[14] The modern form of the name stems from Old Norse Nizidalr. The first element is the name of the lake Nizir, possibly from *Nið-sær, which is now called Nisser, and the last element is dalr "valley, dale".[15][16]

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat of arms was granted on October 30, 1992, and was designed by Halvor Holtskog jr. The arms shows three red nisseluer, traditional red woolen hats often associated with the nisse, which were commonly worn until the late 19th century by farmers and common folk. It is a canting arms, as the name Nissedal has been "translated" into a visual pun with the three woolen hats, in spite of the name having nothing to do with the folkloric nisse.


Road in Treungen.

Municipal council[edit]

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Nissedal is made up of 17 representatives that are elected to four year terms. As of 2017, the party breakdown is as follows:[17]

Nissedal Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party Name Name in Norwegian Number of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet7
 Progress PartyFremskrittspartiet1
 Conservative PartyHøyre1
 Christian Democratic PartyKristelig Folkeparti3
 Centre PartySenterpartiet5
Total number of members:17


Nisser is the largest lake in Telemark County, and one of 1,750 lakes in Nissedal.[18][19]

Nissedal is a municipality covering an area of 905,2 km2 (349,5 sq. ft.) in Telemark County. It is centered on the less rugged eastern shore of Nisser Lake.[20] Nissedal municipality borders Kviteseid to the north, Fyresdal to the west, Drangedal (Gautefall) and Gjerstad to the east, and borders Vegårshei and Åmli to the south. Nisser Lake, which is 40 kilometres in length and 250 meters deep,[21] is the largest in the county and the seventh-largest lake in Norway.[22]

Nissedal is one of the municipalities with the most vacation homes in Norway. Nissedal is home to three times more cabins than residential homes as of 2018: 2,350 cabins and 735 houses.[23]

The only urban area is the village of Treungen, while minor settlements include Tveitsund, Felle, Nordbygda, Fjone and Kyrkjebygda.[24] While the village of Treungen is by far the largest settlement (with a population of 500), Felle with 100 residents is the second-largest settlement in Nissedal.[25]

Telemark Road (Norwegian National Road 41) passes through Treungen- and Kyrkjebygda villages in Nissedal.

The highest peak is Førheinutane at 1,049 m. (3,441 ft.).[26] [27]


According to Statistics Norway, Nissedal was home to 1,489 inhabitants in 2017, but had 2,246 cabins. 28.2 percent of local residents lived on agricultural- or forestry properties. 74.3 percent were members of Church of Norway as of 2017, while 10.7 percent were members of another religious community.[28] The largest immigrant groups in 2018 (first and second generation) were from the Netherlands (35 people), Syria (22), Poland (21) and Denmark (16).[29]


Camping at Nisser Lake.
Langfjell Mountain.

Located adjacent to Gautefall, Telemark County’s largest alpine center,[30] Nissedal is primarily a winter destination. It is home to six cross-country skiing trails (loipes), including trails connecting Nissedal and Gautefall.[31]

Summer activities include fishing, swimming, mountain climbing, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, camping, and more. Many of Nissedal's 1,750 lakes are used for fishing, including Nisser Lake.[32] The sandy shores of Nisser Lake is used for sunbathing, while the lake is used for swimming, boating, fishing and more. Perch, Trout, Lavaret and Arctic char are some of the fish species found in the lake.[33] At the last count in 1991, Nisser Lake was home to 3.9 million fish.[34]

There are boat rentals by Nisser Lake, at Tjørull, and the Nidelva (River Nid).[35][36] A ferry, Fjoneferja (M/F ”Nissen"), has been operating at Nisser Lake since 1947 and is Norway's smallest cable ferry.[37][38] It is one of few remaining active cable ferries in Norway, and connects Sundesodden to Fjone.[39] Rock carvings, burial mounds and other remains of ancient civilization have been discovered surrounding Nisser Lake.[40]

Sandy beaches are found by several lakes, including Sandnesodden, which is the longest sandy beach in Nissedal. Other beaches include Sommarsletta in Treungen, Jettegrytene, Bjønntjønn, etc.[41] Tjørull is another place used for fishing, kayaking and camping.[42]

Another attraction is the Nissedal Potholes (Jettegryene). Carved during the Ice Age, the giant's kettle functions as a water park during summer months.[43][44][45] Other attractions include mountains such as Hægefjell, Ånundsbufjellet, Langfjell, Skålfjell and Baremslandsfjellet.[46][47] Hægefjell has since the late 1980s become one of the most popular sites for mountain climbing in Norway. The mountain, which has been featured in the TV series 71 Degrees North in 2010, has around 50 different hiking trails. It has an elevation of 1,021 m. (3,349 ft.).[48][49]

Places of interest[edit]

Nissedal Church was erected in 1764.[50]
  • Gautefall, largest ski resort in Telemark County.[51]
  • Nisser Lake, 7th-largest lake in Norway.[52]
  • Treungen, village and administrative center for Nissedal.
  • Nissedal Potholes, potholes functioning as a water park during summer.
  • Fjoneferja, Norway’s smallest cable ferry, connecting the west- and east sides of Nisser Lake.[53][54]
  • Skuggenatten, hiking trail from Treungen.[55]
  • Hægefjell, mountain with hiking trails.[56]


In 2014 two reindeer were photographed, apparently roaming in the municipality.[57] More commonly encountered wildlife includes the Mountain hare, European badger, European beaver, Roe deer, Elk, Red fox, European hedgehog, European pine marten and Norway lemming.[58] More rare but occasionally encountered are the Gray wolf,[59] Eurasian lynx and Brown bear.[60]

Notable natives[edit]


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Collectif (2011). Norvège. Petit Futé. Page 155. ISBN 9782746936089.
  4. ^
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  10. ^
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  14. ^ (Page 5).
  15. ^ Stemshaug (1973:117).
  16. ^ Cleasby and Vigfusson (1874:95).
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Collectif (2011). Norvège. Petit Futé. Page 155. ISBN 9782746936089.
  21. ^
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  25. ^ (Page 5).
  26. ^
  27. ^ (Page 5).
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  33. ^ Collectif (2011). Norvège. Petit Futé. Page 155. ISBN 9782746936089.
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  51. ^ (in Norwegian).
  52. ^
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  57. ^
  58. ^ (Page 8).
  59. ^
  60. ^


  • Cleasby, Richard and Vigfusson, Gudbrand (1874). Icelandic-English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Stemshaug, Ola (1973). Norsk stadnamngransking. Samlaget. ISBN 82-521-0160-7