Jurisdiction Project


Lofoten is an archipelago and a traditional district in the county of Nordland, Norway. Norway is divided into a number of traditional districts. Many districts have deep historical roots, and only partially coincide with today's administrative units of counties and municipalities.

The principal islands, running from north to south, are
* Southern tip of Hinnøya
* Austvågøy (526.7 km²)
* Gimsøya (46.4 km²)
* Vestvågøy (411.1 km²)
* Flakstadøya (109.8 km²)
* Moskenesøya (185.9 km²)

Lofoten is the archipelago in the western sea, north of the Polar circle. It is located at the 67th and 68th degree parallels, north of the arctic circle in Northern Norway.

Latitude and Longitude:
69 00 N, 14 50 E

Time Zone:
GMT -1

Total Land Area:


Though lying within the Arctic Circle, the archipelago experiences one of the world's largest elevated temperature anomalies relative to its high latitude. Due to the warm Gulf Stream, Lofoten has a much milder climate than other part of the world at the same latitude, such as Alaska and Greenland. The coastal climate in Lofoten makes the winters mild and the summer relatively cool. January and February are the coldest months, with an average temperature of -1C (30F). July and August are warmest with an average temperature of 12C (54F). June is the driest month, with a mean precipitation of 37mm.

Natural Resources:
Lofoten has very interesting geological features. Transformed rock, which was formed approximately three billion years ago, is predominant. These are some of the oldest rocks on the earth. The mountains of Lofoten, however, were not formed until the last Ice Age, which ended about 10,000 years ago. When the ice withdrew, rigid edges and peaks were left behind.


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Year: Unemployment Rate (% of pop.)

The winter fisheries for cod are still crucial for the settlement in Lofoten. Fishermen from all over North Norway take part in the Lofot Fisheries, which are based on the Norwegian Arctic cod´s spawning in the Vestfjord between February and April. The fishing of these stocks has been strictly regulated for many years, also in Lofoten. This has proven necessary in order to maintain stocks at a secure level. Over the past 20 years, herring fishing in the area has been of increasing importance. Salmon farming has also become an important industry in Lofoten.

Niche Industry:
The industry is largely connected the fisheries, but there is also other industrial activity in the region. The tourist industry is becoming increasingly important, now counting approximately 180,000 visitors per year.

Tourism is a well established industry. Rustic fishing villages that sell handicrafts of all types: pottery, glass-blowing, etc. There are tour fishing, snorkling, and 'killer whale safaris' excursions; hiking and camping.


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Number of Airports: 3
Three small airports: Svolvær Airport, Helle, Leknes Airport and Røst Airport, which mainly offers flights to Bodø. Bodø is often used as a hub for travel to Lofoten;

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There is a heliport at Værøy. Stokmarknes Airport, Skagen is located in Vesterålen. Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes has direct flights to Oslo and Trondheim.

There are bus connections with Vesterålen and Fauske/ Bodø, with further connections by train. Hurtigruten or Express Cruise, calls at Stamsund and Svolvær. There is also a fast catamaran passenger boat connecting Svolvær and Narvik. From there it is possible to travel further by train to Sweden.

The ferry between Svolvær and Skutvik is the connection to the E6. When heading towards Vesterålen, people take the ferry from Fiskebøl to Melbu. A project has been started to provide a ferryfree connection to the mainland. There are ferries from Moskenes to Bodø and routes in the south to Værøy and Røst, which also have daily ferry service to Bodø. Bridges and tunnels have replaced the ferries between the largest islands in Lofoten. There is a bicycle ferry between Ballstad and Nusfjord during the summer.

Other Forms of Transportation:
A 51 kilometre-road linking Fiskeboel in the county of Nordland to Gullesfjordbotn in Troms opened in early December 2007. One can travel to Lofoten from the airport in Evenes/Narvik in less than two-and-a-half hours along the E10. The road has four tunnels, the longest of which is 3.5 kilometres in length and two bridges.

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Year Total Energy Production (Mwh) Thermic (Mwh) Geothermic (Mwh) Other (Mwh) Total Energy Consumption (Mwh) Domestic (Mwh) Commercial (Mwh) Public Service (Mwh) Industry (Mwh) Public Lighting (Mwh)


Official Currency:
Norwegian krone (NOK)

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Public Ownership:
Public transportation:train and buses between. Three airports in Lofoten, at Leknes, Røst and Svolvær.

Land Use:

Agriculture constitutes a lot to some areas in Lofoten, even though the number of farmers is decreasing. Vestvågøy is one of the largest agriculture municipalities in North Norway. Dairy products and meat are exported.

Marine Activity:

The cod winter fisheries are still vital in Lofoten. From all of North Norway fishermen have been, and are, participating in the Lofoten fisheries. The basis for the Lofoten fisheries is the spawning of the arctic cod in the Vestfjorden from January till April. Due to heavy regulations the past years, the catches have been relatively small (10-40000 tons). Today, however, the stocks are increasing, and optimism is growing stronger. In recent years, aquaculture has become important. The fish, mostly salmon, is breeded in these facilities. Lofoten is one of the natural habitats for the northern blue fin tuna. Total twawl fish catches 2004: 216,590 tonnes live weight. Value 10,386,785 NOK. Total other off shore fishing catch value: 6,174,274 NOK.

Marine Life:
The Gulf Stream brings many fish species from the south, and Arctic species migrate from the north. Fishing has always been the very foundation of life in Lofoten. This is due to the close proximity to the fishing grounds. "Skrei" (spawning cod), which is caught during the winter fisheries, is the most important for the industry. Other marine species include haddock, saithe, red-fish, catfish, herring, tusk, ling, plaice, halibut and squid. Seals and killer-whales are also regularly observed offshore Lofoten.

Critical Issues:



Political System:
Hereditary constitutional monarchy.Executive--king (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet).

The Council is appointed by the monarch in accordance with the will of the Storting, to which the Council is responsible.
Legislative--modified unicameral parliament (Storting, 165 members, elected for four years by universal adult suffrage).

Judicial--Supreme Court, appellate courts, city and county courts.

Political Parties:
Labor, Progress, Conservative, Socialist Left, Christian Democratic, Center, Liberal.

Important Legislation:

Principal Taxes:

Associated Power:
Kingdom of Norway




Population: 23,690. Births: 241; Deaths: 225. Population decline: -111 persons.

Island Area (km sq.) Population % of Total Population

Year Resident Population

Age of Population: 0-14 15-24 25-49 50-64 65 and up


Net out-migration 2006: 131 persons.

Crude Birth Rate:
2006 0.98%

Life Expedctancy:

Crude Death Rate:
2006 1.05%


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 The first people came to Lofoten about 6,000 years ago. Lofoten´s Stone Age inhabitants survived on fishing and hunting in an area which provided good living. All of Lofoten was covered by large pine and birch woods at that time. There were deer, bear, wild reindeer, lynx and beaver, and the sea was full of fish, seals and whales.

Agriculture developed early, and grain was harvested in Lofoten as early as 4,000 years ago. The Viking Era saw the emergence of several large chieftain seats. Tofts from a Viking chieftain seat have been found at Borg on Vestvågøy Island, containing the largest Viking banquet hall ever found in any country. The building was 8.5 metres wide and as much as 83 metres long. A reconstruction of the building has been raised, and the LOFOTR Viking Museum at Borg opened in June 1995.

The Lofot Fisheries early gained importance. King Øystein considered these fisheries to be of such significance that he, as early as 1103, built a church in Vågan, which at that time was the base of the Lofot fisheries. In about 1120, he also built the first fishermen´s huts ever mentioned in the Saga. Stockfish, produced from spawning cod, was the staple good, and it was sold to almost all of Europe. Italy is still the most important market for high quality stockfish from Lofoten. Near Kabelvåg is the location of Vågar, the only medieval town of the North Calotte.

From the 14th century on, Lofoten had to pay taxes to Bergen. This was the beginning of an economic dominance which lasted for 600 years, first executed by the German Hansa tradesmen, and then by their Norwegian heirs. Changing times with bad years and poverty were succeeded by periods of good years and wealth. Following the 1860s came the large herring migrations which were the basis of growth, prosperity and immigration.


Recent Significant Events:

Music, Dance, Handicraft and Patrimony:


Destinasjon Lofoten http://www.lofoten.info/index.jsp?c=68027&exp=68027 2nd January 2008 Buchanan, L. 1977. Ranching Atlantic Bluefin. Sea Frontiers 23(3): 172-180. http://www.uaex.edu/pperschbacher/Fish/Blue-fin-tuna.htm. U.S. Dept. of State: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3421.htm. Statistics Norway population: http://www.ssb.no/english/subjects/02/02/folkendrkom_en/tab-2007-04-12-03-en.html.


Useful Links:

Please address queries to:
Institute of Island Studies
University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI)
550 University Ave
Charlottetown, PE, Canada, C1A 4P3

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