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Sortland kommune
Suorttá suohkan
View of Sortland from Strandheia mountain
View of Sortland from Strandheia mountain
Coat of arms of Sortland kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Sortland kommune
Nordland within
Sortland within Nordland
Sortland within Nordland
Coordinates: 68°42′31″N 15°16′51″E / 68.70861°N 15.28083°E / 68.70861; 15.28083Coordinates: 68°42′31″N 15°16′51″E / 68.70861°N 15.28083°E / 68.70861; 15.28083
Country Norway
County Nordland
District Vesterålen
Established 1841
Administrative centre Sortland
 • Mayor (2015) Tove Mette Bjørkmo (Ap)
 • Total 721.92 km2 (278.73 sq mi)
 • Land 697.32 km2 (269.24 sq mi)
 • Water 24.60 km2 (9.50 sq mi)
Area rank #155 in Norway
Population (2017)
 • Total 10,378
 • Rank #112 in Norway
 • Density 14.9/km2 (39/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 7.0%
Demonym(s) Sortlending[1]
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code NO-1870
Official language form Neutral

About this sound Sortland (Norwegian) or Suortá (Northern Sami)[2] is a town and municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Vesterålen. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Sortland. Other population centres in Sortland include , Holand, Holmstad, Liland, Sigerfjord, and Strand. The Norwegian Coast Guard has its northern base in Sortland, called Kystvaktskvadron Nord.

In 1997, the municipality decided to declare "township" for Sortland. Sortland is the largest town and commercial centre in Vesterålen. Sortland is located close to the Sortland Bridge, connecting the islands of Langøya to Hinnøya by road. Since a lot of houses in the town are painted blue, Sortland is sometimes referred to as "the blue city".

The 722-square-kilometre (279 sq mi) municipality is the 155th largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Sortland is the 112th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 10,378. The municipality's population density is 14.9 inhabitants per square kilometre (39/sq mi) and its population has increased by 7% over the last decade.[3] In January 2012, the number of citizens in Sortland reached 10,000 for the first time.[4]

General information[edit]

Bits and pieces of the blue city, Sortland.

The municipality of Sortland was established in 1841 when it was separated from the municipality of Hadsel. On 1 January 1963, the Holm area (population: 65) of Langenes and the area around the inner and western part of the Eidsfjorden (population: 1,360) was transferred to Sortland. On 1 January 2000, the area surrounding the Godfjorden was transferred from Kvæfjord (and Troms county) to Sortland (and Nordland county).[5]


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the old Sortland farm (Old Norse: Svortuland), since the first church (Sortland Church) was built there. The first element is the genitive case of a river name Svorta and the last element is land which means "land" or "farm". The river name is derived from svartr which means "black/dark".[6]


The coat-of-arms is from modern times. It was granted on 15 March 1985. It shows a gold-colored castle gate on a blue background. The gate symbolizes Sortland as the gateway to the Vesterålen region with its many lakes. The arms were based on the seal used by the municipality since the 1960s, which also showed a (natural) gate in a landscape. The blue colour symbolises the blue sea.[7]


The Church of Norway has one parish (sokn) within the municipality of Sortland. It is part of the Vesterålen prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Sør-Hålogaland.

Churches in Sortland
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Sortland Indre Eidsfjord Church Holmstad 1970
Sigerfjord Church Sigerfjord 1933
Sortland Church Sortland 1901


The municipality of Sortland is located on the islands of Langøya and Hinnøya in the Vesterålen archipelago. The municipality surrounds the inner part of the Eidsfjorden and the Sortlandssundet strait. There are several bridges in the municipality including Djupfjordstraumen Bridge, Kvalsaukan Bridge, and Sortland Bridge. The Sortland Bridge is located just north of the town of Sortland. One of the main roads through the municipality is Norwegian County Road 82. The mountain Møysalen and part of Møysalen National Park are located in southern Sortland.

Midnight Sun and Aurora Borealis[edit]

The Midnight Sun occurs from May 23 to July 23. Great places to observe the Midnight Sun includes the Sortland Bridge, Ramnflauget, Godfjorden, Holm and Skytterhaugen in the Vestmarka residential area. Because of Sortland's high latitude, there is no real darkness between late April and mid-August.

From November 30 to January 12 the sun remains below the horizon and is not visible. The return of the sun is an occasion for celebration (pupils always claim to have spotted the sun before the actual return and hope to be given the day off in celebration). The Polar Night does not mean that it becomes totally dark. The experience of the winter with the uniqueness of the light, the northern lights and snow is fantastic. Especially beautiful is the blue light southwards where the sky can also be colored in pink, just before it becomes dark.

Sortland and the Vesterålen region are perfect for observing the spectacular Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) phenomenon. The aurora borealis trails its multi coloured banner across the sky and the moon lights the scene making it a breathtaking experience. Pictures taken here have been presented in National Geographic Magazine.


The record high of 31 °C (88 °F) was set on July 29th, 2018. The record low is −19 °C (−2 °F) recorded February 1966.

Climate data for Kleiva, Sortland (1961-90)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 0.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.1
Average low °C (°F) −4.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 135
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 17.0 15.2 14.4 13.9 11.2 11.7 13.2 12.0 16.3 19.0 17.2 17.5 178.6
Source: Norwegian Meteorological Institute[8]


All municipalities in Norway, including Sortland, 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 Sortland is made up of 27 representatives that are elected to four year terms. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[9]

Sortland Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party Name Name in Norwegian Number of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet8
 Progress PartyFremskrittspartiet2
 Conservative PartyHøyre11
 Red PartyRødt3
 Centre PartySenterpartiet2
 Socialist Left PartySosialistisk Venstreparti1
Total number of members:27

Music and culture[edit]

The market square in downtown Sortland a day in June 2013.

Sortland has been regarded as one of the best music communities in Norway, and the local band Madrugada has been one of the best ones in the nation. Sortland Jazz Festival is an event organized by Sortland Jazz and Music Club, which takes place every autumn. Some of the world's leading jazz musicians have been participating.


Sortland is Vesterålen´s leading destination for shopping with several indoors shopping centers, a huge range of activities and offers an impressive amount of hairdressers. The retail turnover per inhabitant in Sortland is greater than in any other town in North Norway. Sortland is one of the few North Norwegian towns that have grown annually since the 70s, the result of a conscious decision to create a high standard of services in a pleasant place to live.

Notable residents[edit]



  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  2. ^ "Stadnamn og rettskriving" (in Norwegian). Kartverket. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  3. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2017). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  4. ^ "Nyttårs-sortlending blir nr. 10.000" (in Norwegian). Bladet Vesterålen.
  5. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  6. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nordlands amt (in Norwegian) (16 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 393.
  7. ^ Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 2008-11-29.
  8. ^ "eKlima Web Portal". Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Archived from the original on 2004-06-14.
  9. ^ "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]