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Kárášjohka (Northern Sami)[3] or About this soundKarasjok (Norwegian) or Kaarasjoki (Kven) is a municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Karasjok. Other villages include Dorvonjárga, Šuoššjávri, and Váljohka.

Karasjok kommune

Kárašjoga gielda

Flag of Karasjok kommune
Official logo of Karasjok kommune
Finnmark within
Karasjok within Finnmark
Karasjok within Finnmark
Coordinates: 69°28′55″N 25°06′18″E / 69.48194°N 25.10500°E / 69.48194; 25.10500Coordinates: 69°28′55″N 25°06′18″E / 69.48194°N 25.10500°E / 69.48194; 25.10500
Established1 Jan 1866
Administrative centreKarasjok
 • Mayor (2015)Svein Atle Somby (Ap)
 • Total5,452.95 km2 (2,105.40 sq mi)
 • Land5,209.46 km2 (2,011.38 sq mi)
 • Water243.49 km2 (94.01 sq mi)  4.5%
Area rank2 in Norway
 • Total2,701
(Increase from last year)
 • Rank281 in Norway
 • Density0.5/km2 (1/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Demonym(s)Karasjoking [1]
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-2021
Official language formBokmål and
Northern Sami [2]

The 5,453-square-kilometre (2,105 sq mi) municipality is the 2nd largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Karasjok is the 281st most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 2,701. The municipality's population density is 0.5 inhabitants per square kilometre (1.3/sq mi) and its population has decreased by 5.8% over the last decade.[4][5]

General informationEdit

The municipality of Karasjok was established on 1 January 1866 when it was separated from the old Kistrand municipality. Initially, the population of Karasjok was 515. The municipal borders have not changed since that time.[6]


Karasjok is a Norwegianized form of the Northern Sami language name Kárášjohka. The meaning of the first element could be káráš from Northern Sami which could mean "food plate of wood", or from Finnish, kara, "something that sticks". The last element is johka which means "river",[7] whose equivalent in Finnish is joki.

The name of the municipality was Karasjok until 1990 when it was changed to Kárášjohka-Karasjok.[8] It was the third municipality in Norway to get a Sami name. In 2005, the name was again changed, such that either Kárášjohka or Karasjok can be used.[9]

Coat of armsEdit

The coat of arms is from modern times; they were granted on 27 June 1986. The three gold-colored flames on a red background. The flames were chosen as a symbol for the importance of fire to the local (nomadic) Sami people. The fire brings both heat and thus survival during the harsh winters, but it is also a major threat, both in the tents as well as in the large pine forests. The fire is also the point around which people gather and it is a guard against dangers. The flag contains three flames also because Kárásjoga-Karasjok is a place where three peoples live: the Sami, Norwegians, and Kvens.[10]


The Church of Norway has one parish (sokn) within the municipality of Karasjok. It is part of the Indre Finnmark prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Nord-Hålogaland.

Churches in Karasjok
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Karasjok Karasjok Church Karasjok 1974
Old Karasjok Church Karasjok 1807
Suosjavrre Chapel Šuoššjávri 1968
Valjok Church Váljohka 1932


From the centre of Karasjok, July 2005

There is an official border crossing between Dorvonjárga (Norway) and Karigasniemi (Finland), over the Anarjohka river. The European route E06 highway passes through the municipality from Lakselv to Tana bru and Kirkenes in the east. The nearest airport is Lakselv Airport, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Karasjok village.


All municipalities in Norway, including Karasjok, 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.[11] The municipality falls under the Indre Finnmark District Court and the Hålogaland Court of Appeal.

Municipal councilEdit

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Karasjok is made up of 19 representatives that are elected to four year terms. The party breakdown of the council is as follows:

Karasjok Kommunestyre 2020–2024 [12]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)7
 Conservative Party (Høyre)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)6
 Sámi People's Party (Samefolkets Parti)2
 Karasjok List (Karasjok lista)2
 Johttiidsámiid List (Johttiidsámiid listu)1
Total number of members:19
Karasjok Kommunestyre 2016–2019 [13]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)7
 Conservative Party (Høyre)1
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)6
 Sámi People's Party (Samefolkets Parti)2
 Karasjok List (Karasjok lista)2
 Johttiidsámiid List (Johttiidsámiid listu)1
Total number of members:19
Karasjok Kommunestyre 2012–2015 [14]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)4
 Conservative Party (Høyre)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)5
 Liberal Party (Venstre)2
 Sámi People's Party (Samefolkets Parti)2
 Árja (Árja)1
 Karasjok List (Karasjok lista)3
 Johttiidsámiid List (Johttiidsámiid listu)1
Total number of members:19


Entering Karasjok

The municipality is situated along the upper river basin of the Deatnu / Tana river and its tributaries: Anárjohka and Kárášjohka. It includes large tracts of the high Finnmarksvidda plateau. Lakes in the region include Čorotjávri, Gásadatjávri, Iešjávri, and Idjajávri. The river valley, unlike the plateau, is covered with pine and birch forests. The southern part of the municipality is part of the Øvre Anárjohka National Park.


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: eklima

In this far northeastern part of Norway, the climate is much more continental and dry compared to the typical coastal climate in Norway.

Situated in a river valley on this plateau, Karasjok has recorded the coldest official temperature ever in Norway: −51.4 °C (−60.5 °F) on 1 January 1886. The warmest temperature ever recorded in the summer is 32.4 °C (90.3 °F). In January 1999, there was also a cold shock, the "official" temperature recording was −51.2 °C (−60.2 °F), but unofficially a temperature of −56 °C (−68.8 °F) was recorded. The warmest month on record was July 1941, with a mean (24hr) temperature of 17.9 °C (64.2 °F); the coldest month was February 1966 with a mean of −27.1 °C (−16.8 °F).


The birdlife to be found in this municipality is characteristic for the region. The inland habitats of Finnmarksvidda are known for their rich bird life with species like Bluethroat preferring areas with scrub. The Tana river also flows through Karasjok and many of the species found in higher areas use it as a migration route.


Inside the Samediggi (the Sami parliament)

Most people live in the village of Karasjok (Kárášjohka). The village is the seat of the Sámediggi, the Sami Parliament of Norway, as well as of the Sami broadcasting, and several Sami institutions (public and private) are found here, including Davvi Girji, the largest Sámi publisher. About 80% of the population is Sami speaking, and Sami and Norwegian have equal status in the municipality.


The attractions include the Sami parliament, Samediggi, the Sami museum, and the Old Karasjok Church, dating from 1807. The Sami parliament was opened in 1989, by King Olav V, the first Sami parliament president was Ole Henrik Magga, from Kautokeino. He was the president for more than eight years. The Old Karasjok Church is the oldest Lutheran church in Finnmark county. The church is today too small, so a new, larger, wooden Karasjok Church, inspired by Sami architecture, has been built. Karasjok is also the place to look for duodji, Sami handicraft.

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  2. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian).
  3. ^ "Stadnamn og rettskriving" (in Norwegian). Kartverket. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  4. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2018). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  5. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå. "09280: Area of land and fresh water (km²) (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  6. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  7. ^ Store norske leksikon. "Kárášjohka/Karasjok" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  8. ^ "Ot.prp. nr. 111 (2001-2002)" (in Norwegian).
  9. ^ "Endring av skrivemåten for tospråklige kommuner. Endring av skrivemåten for tospråklige kommunenavn, Kárášjohka-Karasjok" (in Norwegian).
  10. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  11. ^ Hansen, Tore, ed. (12 May 2016). "kommunestyre". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2019 - Troms og Finnmark". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
  14. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2011 - Finnmark". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 21 October 2019.

External linksEdit