List of World Heritage Sites in Norway

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Location of World Heritage Sites in Norway. Green dots indicate the natural sites while the blue dots indicate the sites of the Struve Geodetic Arc.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.[1] The Kingdom of Norway accepted the convention on 12 May 1977, making its historical sites eligible for inclusion on the list. As of 2017, there are eight World Heritage Sites in Norway, including seven cultural sites and one natural site.[2]

Norway's first two sites, Urnes Stave Church and Bryggen, were inscribed on the list at the 3rd session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Cairo and Luxor, Egypt in 1979.[3] The latest inscription, Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site, was added to the list in 2015.[4]

In addition to its World Heritage Sites, Norway also maintains five properties on its tentative list.[5]

World Heritage Sites[edit]

UNESCO lists sites under ten criteria; each entry must meet at least one of the criteria. Criteria i through vi are cultural, whereas vii through x are natural.[6]

  * Transnational site
Site Image Location (county) Year listed UNESCO data Description
Urnes Stave Church Urnes Stave Church 1.jpg Sogn og Fjordane 1979 58; i, ii, iii
The stave church at Urnes is one of the oldest and most prominent examples of this type of wooden churches. It was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and incorporates elements from the prior Viking church from the 11th century. The church combines the influences of the Celtic art, Viking traditions, and Romanesque architecture. The woodwork, originating from the previous church, depicts interlaced, fighting animals, and thus links the pre-Christian Nordic culture and the Christianity of the medieval ages.[7]
Bryggen Bryggen, Bergen3.JPG Hordaland 1979 59; iii
Bryggen is the historic harbour district of Bergen, an important city on the West coast of Norway. In 1350, the Hanseatic League established a foreign trading post, a kontor, in Bergen, which controlled the trade in stockfish from the North. The Hanseatic period lasted until the 16th century. Bryggen's wooden houses were affected by many fires, the last one in the 1950s, but were always rebuilt in a traditional style. Around 60 traditional buildings remain today.[8]
Røros Mining Town and the Circumference Rorosmartna 20070220.JPG Sør-Trøndelag 1980 55; iii, iv
Røros is a town where the copper mine was active from the mid-17th century to 1977, when the company went bankrupt. The town is built entirely in wood. It was completely razed by the Swedish troops in 1679 during the Scanian War but later rebuilt. Together with the surrounding area, the Circumference (the area of privileges awarded by the Danish-Norwegian King to Røros Copper Works in 1646), it demonstrates the life and work in a mining town in harsh sub-arctic climate.[9]
Rock Art of Alta Altarockcarvings2.jpg Finnmark 1985 352; iii
This property contains 45 petroglyph sites in five areas around the Alta Fjord, far north of the Arctic Circle. Paintings and carvings, dating from 4200 BCE to 500 BCE, depict circumpolar fauna, such as reindeer, elks, bears, fish, whales, and seabirds, as well as the interaction of hunter-gatherers with the landscape. The panels show hunting, fishing, boat journeys, and also symbols and rituals. Various artefacts of material culture are depicted as well. [10]
Vegaøyan -- The Vega Archipelago Vegavista.jpg Nordland 2004 1143; v
The archipelago has been inhabited for over 10 000 years. Apart from being fishermen and farmers, at least since the 9th century, people were harvesting eider down, the down feather of eider ducks. People built shelters and nests for the ducks that came here every spring and were protected during the breeding season, which allowed them to collect the down when the ducks and chicks left the nests. This tradition is still preserved in modern times.[11]
Struve Geodetic Arc Struve Geodetic Arc-113656.jpg Finnmark 2005 1187; ii, iii, vi
The Struve Geodetic Arc is a series of triangulation pointes, stretching over a distance of 2,820 kilometres (1,750 mi) from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea. The points were set up in a survey by the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve who first carried out an accurate measurement of a long segment of a meridian - and along with it the size and shape of the Earth. Originally, there were 265 station points. The World Heritage Site includes 34 points in ten countries (North to South: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine), four of which are in Norway.[12]
West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord Geirangerfjord .jpg Møre og Romsdal and Sogn og Fjordane 2005 1195; vii, viii
The two fjords are among the world's longest and deepest. They are to be classic examples of fjords, submerged glaciated valleys. The valleys rise up to 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) above the sea level and extend up to 500 metres (1,600 ft) below it. The area also features a large number of waterfalls, glaciers, and glacial lakes.[13]
Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site Ammoniakkvannfabrikken Notodden 1914 1916.jpg Telemark 2015 1486; ii, iv
The industrial complex in towns of Rjukan and Notodden was established by the Norsk Hydro company in the early 20th century. Early hydro-electric plants provided power for industrial production of artificial fertilizer from nitrogen in the air, a new global industry.[14]

Tentative list[edit]

In addition to sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, member states can maintain a list of tentative sites that they may consider for nomination. Nominations for the World Heritage List are only accepted if the site was previously listed on the tentative list.[15] As of 2019, Norway lists five properties on its tentative list.[5]

  * Transnational site
Site Image Location Year listed UNESCO criteria Description
The Laponian Area - Tysfjord, the fjord of Hellemobotn and Rago (extension) Stetind (mountain 1,392 m /4600 ft and a branch of Tysfjord, Norway) Nordland 2002 iii, v, vii, viii, ix (mixed) This tentative site is the extension of the site already listed in Sweden. Laponia is populated by the Sami people who preserve the traditional way of life based on reindeer hearding. In Tysfjord, there is a large Lule Sami community. The Rago National Park is a wild montaneous area.[16][17]
The Lofoten islands Reine, Lofoten Nordland 2002 iii, viii, ix, x (mixed) The Lofoten are a group of islands north of the Arctic circle, spanning 250 kilometres (160 mi). They consist of chiefly of Precambrian rocks. Cod fisheries have been an important source of income since the pre-Viking times. The area is also an important habitat for animals, the birdcliffs on Røst and Værøy are especially famous.[18]
Svalbard Archipelago Longyearbyen Svalbard 2007 v, vi, vii, viii, ix, x (mixed) About 60% of the Svalbard Archilepago is covered by snow and ice. The islands have been used as whaling stations and by miners for centuries, now there are permanent Norwegian and Russian settlements. Since the nature is mostly undisturbed, it is an important habitat for arctic animals, such as arctic fox, reindeer, whales, seals including walrus, as well as Arctic char that lives in lakes and rivers. Many birds nest at Svalbard, including eider ducks and geese. The bedrock in Svalbard is rich with fossils.[19]
Islands of Jan Mayen and Bouvet as parts of a serial transnational nomination of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge system Egg-oeja, a peninsula on the coast of Jan Mayen Jan Mayen and Bouvet 2007 viii, ix, x (natural) This is an transnational nomination covering the supramarine points of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Two islands, both volcanic, are in Norway, other sites belong to Brazil, Great Britain, Portugal and Iceland. Jan Mayen, in the Arctic, is a breeding site for large numbers of Greenland seals and hooded seals, as well as seabirds. Bouver Island lies 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) south of the Cape of Good Hope and supports populations of macaroni and chinstrap penguins, but Adelie penguins have also been recorded to breed. It is a breeding site for Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals.[20]
Viking Monuments and Sites / Vestfold Ship Burials and Hyllestad Quernstone Quarries The Oseberg ship on display at the Viking ship museum, Oslo Vestfold, Sogn og Fjordane 2011 iii (cultural) This transnational nomination lists nine sites in six countries, connected to the leagcy of the Viking culture between the 8th and 12th century. Two sites are in Norway. The Vestfold site covers three ship burials and several burial mounds. The Hyllestad quarries produced quern-stones and mill-stones, first for the use of the locals and later for export.[21]


  1. ^ "The World Heritage Convention". UNESCO. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  2. ^ "Norway". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Report of the 3rd Session of the Committee". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Decision : 39 COM 8B.29". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Tentative List – Norway". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  6. ^ "UNESCO World Heritage Centre – The Criteria for Selection". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 12 June 2016. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Urnes Stave Church". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Bryggen". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Røros Mining Town and the Circumference". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Rock Art of Alta". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Vegaøyan -- The Vega Archipelago". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Struve Geodetic Arc". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  13. ^ "West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Tentative Lists". UNESCO. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
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