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Vågan kommune
Lofoten Svolvear Fährhafen Ausfahrt.jpg
Coat of arms of Vågan kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Vågan kommune
Nordland within
Vågan within Nordland
Vågan within Nordland
Coordinates: 68°16′41″N 14°31′15″E / 68.27806°N 14.52083°E / 68.27806; 14.52083Coordinates: 68°16′41″N 14°31′15″E / 68.27806°N 14.52083°E / 68.27806; 14.52083
Country Norway
County Nordland
District Lofoten
Established 1838
Administrative centre Svolvær
 • Mayor (2011) Eivind Holst (H)
 • Total 479.15 km2 (185.00 sq mi)
 • Land 460.53 km2 (177.81 sq mi)
 • Water 18.62 km2 (7.19 sq mi)
Area rank #211 in Norway
Population (2017)
 • Total 9,444
 • Rank #121 in Norway
 • Density 20.5/km2 (53/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 5.0%
Demonym(s) Vågaværing[1]
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code NO-1865
Official language form Neutral
Website vagan.kommune.no

Vågan (Northern Sami: Vuogát) is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional district of Lofoten. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Svolvær. Some of the villages in Vågan include Digermulen, Gimsøysand, Gravermarka, Henningsvær, Hopen, Kabelvåg, Kleppstad, Laupstad, Liland, Skrova, Straumnes, and Sydalen.[2]

The 479-square-kilometre (185 sq mi) municipality is the 211th largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Vågan is the 121st most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 9,444. The municipality's population density is 20.5 inhabitants per square kilometre (53/sq mi) and its population has increased by 5% over the last decade.[3]

General information[edit]

Vågan was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). In 1856, the northwestern part of Vågan (population: 987) was separated to form the new municipality of Gimsøy. On 1 July 1918, the town of Svolvær (population: 2,429) was separated to form its own municipality. This left Vågan with 3,399 residents. On 1 January 1964, the municipalities of Gimsøy, Svolvær, and Vågan were merged to form the new, larger municipality of Vågan.[4]


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the old Vågan farm (Old Norse: Vágar), since the first church (Vågan Church) was built there. The name is the plural form of vág which means "bay". The island of Austvågøya (Old Norse: Vágøy) was named after this important site (which later led the neighboring island to be named Vestvågøya). The name was historically spelled Vaagan.[5]

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted on 30 March 1973. The arms show a white colored cod on a blue background. This was chosen because fishing is the main source of income for the municipality. The cod was also part of the older arms of the town/municipality of Svolvær.[6]


The Church of Norway has five parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Vågan. It is part of the Lofoten prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Sør-Hålogaland.

Churches in Vågan
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Gimsøy og Strauman Gimsøy Church Gimsøy 1876
Strauman Church Sydalen 1984
Henningsvær Henningsvær Church Henningsvær 1974
Strandlandet Strandlandet Church Straumnes 1938
Svolvær Digermulen Church Digermulen 1951
Sildpollnes Church Sildpollneset 1891
Svolvær Church Svolvær 1934
Vågan Vågan Church Kabelvåg 1898


The main population centres are the town of Svolvær and the villages of Kabelvåg and Henningsvær, located on the largest island, Austvågøya (although Svolvær and Henningsvær are partly located on smaller islands adjacent to the main island). All three have a picturesque situation under the rugged Lofoten mountains, facing the rough body of water called Vestfjorden. Vågan municipality includes over half of Austvågøya island, all of the islands of Gimsøya, Skrova, Stormolla, Litlmolla, numerous other tiny islets, plus the southwestern tip of the island of Hinnøya. The Moholmen Lighthouse and Skrova Lighthouse are both located in the Vestfjorden. Two notable mountains in the municipality are Higravstinden and Svolværgeita.


Climate data for Svolvær, Vågan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) −1.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 159
Source: Norwegian Meteorological Institute[7]


All municipalities in Norway, including Vågan, 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 Vågan is made up of 29 representatives that are elected to four year terms. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[8]

Vågan Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party Name Name in Norwegian Number of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet8
 Progress PartyFremskrittspartiet2
 Conservative PartyHøyre9
 Red PartyRødt3
 Centre PartySenterpartiet3
 Socialist Left PartySosialistisk Venstreparti1
 Liberal PartyVenstre3
Total number of members:29

History and economy[edit]

Landscape in northern Vågan.

Kabelvåg is the oldest fishing village in Lofoten, where King Øystein built the first fishing shacks in the early 12th century. The Lofoten Cathedral, built in 1898, seats 1,200 people, and used to be filled to the last seat during the Lofoten fishing in the winter.

Henningsvær has a picturesque situation on several islands, and is today more important for fishing. Svolvær is the municipal centre, and has an impressive number of artists' studios and galleries. In addition to the cod fisheries, salmon fish farming and tourism are economically important in Vågan.


The islands that make up Vågan are connected by several different bridges. The European route E10 highway connects the neighboring municipality of Vestvågøy to Vågan (Gimsøya island) by the Sundklakkstraumen Bridge. Gimsøya island connects to Austvågøya island by the Gimsøystraumen Bridge. The islands of Henningsvær are connected to Austvågøya by the Henningsvær Bridges. The rest of the small islands are only accessible by boats and ferries. In the town of Svolvær, the Svinøy Bridge connects the main part of town to the island of Svinøya. Svolvær Airport, Helle is located just east of the town of Svolvær.

Sister cities[edit]



  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  2. ^ Store norske leksikon. "Vågan" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  3. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2017). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  4. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  5. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nordlands amt (in Norwegian) (16 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 308.
  6. ^ Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  7. ^ "eKlima Web Portal". Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Archived from the original on 2004-06-14.
  8. ^ "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]