From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
View of the village
View of the village
Svolvær is located in Nordland
Location in Nordland
Coordinates: 68°14′06″N 14°33′49″E / 68.23500°N 14.56361°E / 68.23500; 14.56361Coordinates: 68°14′06″N 14°33′49″E / 68.23500°N 14.56361°E / 68.23500; 14.56361
Country Norway
Region Northern Norway
County Nordland
District Lofoten
Municipality Vågan
 • Total 2.33 km2 (0.90 sq mi)
Elevation[2] 3 m (10 ft)
Population (2013)[1]
 • Total 4,487
 • Density 1,926/km2 (4,990/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+01:00)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+02:00)
Post Code 8300 Svolvær

Svolvær (Norwegian pronunciation: [svɔːlvæːr]  ( listen)) is the administrative centre of Vågan Municipality (9,200 inhabitants) in Nordland County, Norway. It is located on the island of Austvågøya in the Lofoten archipelago.

The 2.33-square-kilometre (580-acre) town has a population (2013) of 4,487. The population density is 1,926 inhabitants per square kilometre (4,990/sq mi).[1]


From Svolvær harbor by Gunnar Berg
Svolvær around 1890

The first town formation known in North Norway, Vågar, was situated around the narrow, natural harbor near Kabelvåg, just west of Svolvær. Vågar is mentioned in the book Heimskringla, and might have been established as early as the year 800.

One of the first churches in North Norway was most likely built here, approximately 900 years ago. The great cod fisheries in winter has always been the most important economical foundation for the town, but fish farming (salmon) is also important in Vågan, as is Secora and Lofotkraft.

Town status[edit]

Svolvær was an important fishing village for a long time, and because of this, it was given town status in 1918. On 1 July 1918, the new town of Svolvær was separated from the municipality of Vågan to become its own municipality. Initially, the new municipality had 2,429 residents.

On 1 January 1964, Svolvær municipality was merged with the municipalities of Gimsøy and Vågan to form the new, larger municipality of Vågan. Prior to the merger, Svolvær had 3,952 residents. Due to this merger, Svolvær lost its status as a "town".

After a new law was passed, Svolvær was able to declare itself a "town" again in 1996.[3]


The place is first mentioned in 1567 ("Suoluer"), but it is probably much older. The Old Norse form of the name is assumed to be Svǫlver. The first element is probably derived from svalr which means 'cool' or 'chilly', and the last element is ver which means 'fishing village'.[4]


Dry dock being built in Svolvær (2010)

Other than the massive fishing industry, tourism is becoming increasingly important. Svolvær is also a major transportation hub and favourite starting point for tourists visiting the Lofoten islands. Approximately 200,000 tourists visit Svolvær each year.

A new 10-storey high combined culture scene and hotel with 160 rooms opened in March 2009. Many artists have been inspired by the unique light in Lofoten, and there are many artists and galleries in Svolvær such as the Lofoten artists house and the Stig Tobiassen gallery.

There is also a well known World War II museum in town called the Lofoten Krigsminnemuseum. Whale watching tours depart from Svolvær in late autumn and winter with a focus on Orcas (killer whales). Boat excursions to nearby Raftsundet strait and its famous branch Trollfjord is also arranged from Svolvær.

Svolvær also has a downhill skiing centre, driven solely by volunteers, Kongstind Alpinsenter. The centre has one lift, and off-piste possibilities.


The town of Svolvær

Svolvær is located in the Lofoten archipelago on the southern coast of the island of Austvågøya, facing the open sea of the Vestfjorden to the south, and with mountains immediately to the north. The most famous mountain, Svolværgeita, had its first recorded climb in 1910.


Sheltered by the mountains to the north and west, the Svolvær area has less fog and experiences somewhat higher daytime temperatures in summer than the western part of Lofoten, but the same mountains also create more orographic precipitation on rainy days.[2] Precipitation is heaviest in autumn and winter; October averages three times as much rain as does June. Svolvær has an average frost-free season of nearly 6 months.[5]

Climate data for Svolvær (10 last years)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1.5
Average low °C (°F) −0.7
Source: [6]


Svolvær harbor

Most of Svolvær is located on the main island of Austvågøya, but some parts of the town are built on small surrounding islands connected by bridges, including the Svinøy Bridge. There is a regional airport near the town, Svolvær Airport, Helle, and Svolvær is a port of call for Hurtigruten. There is a ferry connection from Svolvær to Skutvik (in Hamarøy) as well as an express boat that connects to the city of Bodø. The Lofast road (European route E10) was officially opened on 1 December 2007, giving Svolvær access to the mainland and Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes. There are now scheduled bus connections to Evenes (3 hr) and Narvik (4 hr 15 min). There is also a boat connection to the nearby scenic island of Skrova where there is a nice view in all directions from the hill.


Museums include the Lofoten War Museum.[7]

Twin towns[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Statistisk sentralbyrå (1 January 2013). "Urban settlements. Population and area, by municipality.". 
  2. ^ a b "Svolvær" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  3. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå. 
  4. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nordlands amt (in Norwegian) (16 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 310. 
  5. ^ "Svolvær statistics last 12 months". Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  6. ^ "Svolvær average conditions; base period 10 last years". Storm Weather Center. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  7. ^ Lofoten krigsminnemuseum [Lofoten War Museum]

External links[edit]