Senja (municipality)

Senja is a municipality in Troms og Finnmark county, Norway. It was established on 1 January 2020 when the municipalities of Berg, Lenvik, Torsken, and Tranøy were merged into one municipality. It is located in the traditional district of Hålogaland. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Finnsnes. The municipality includes all of the island of Senja, the smaller surrounding islands, and part of the mainland between the Gisundet strait and the Malangen fjord.[3]

Senja kommune
View of Finnsnes in Senja
View of Finnsnes in Senja
Coat of arms of Senja kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Senja kommune
Troms og Finnmark within
Senja within Troms og Finnmark
Senja within Troms og Finnmark
Coordinates: 69°04′50″N 16°48′11″E / 69.0806°N 16.8031°E / 69.0806; 16.8031Coordinates: 69°04′50″N 16°48′11″E / 69.0806°N 16.8031°E / 69.0806; 16.8031
CountyTroms og Finnmark
Established1 Jan 2020
Administrative centreFinnsnes
 • Mayor (2020)Tom-Rune Eliseussen (Sp)
 • Total1,953.81 km2 (754.37 sq mi)
 • Land1,859.68 km2 (718.03 sq mi)
 • Water94.13 km2 (36.34 sq mi)  4.8%
Area rank40 in Norway
 • Total14,851
 • Rank81 in Norway
 • Density8/km2 (20/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-5421
Official language formNeutral[2]

The 1,954-square-kilometre (754 sq mi) municipality is the 40th largest by area out of the 356 municipalities in Norway. Senja is the 81st most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 14,851. The municipality's population density is 8 inhabitants per square kilometre (21/sq mi) and its population has increased by 1.6% over the previous 10-year period.[4][5]

General informationEdit

In March 2017, the Parliament of Norway voted to merge the municipalities of Berg, Torsken, Lenvik, and Tranøy. The new municipality was established on 1 January 2020 as Senja Municipality (Norwegian: Senja kommune).[6][7]


The Old Norse form of the name must also have been Senja or perhaps Sændja. The meaning of the name is unknown, but it might be related to the verb sundra which means to "tear" or "split apart", possibly because the west coast of the island is torn and split by numerous small fjords. It might also be derived from a Proto-Norse form of the word Sandijōn meaning "(area) of sand" or "sandy island".[8][3]

Coat of armsEdit

The coat of arms was approved for use starting on 1 January 2020. It is blue with a white outline of the Okshornan mountain with a green depiction of the northern lights above the mountain.[9]


The Church of Norway has four parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Senja. It is part of the Senja prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Nord-Hålogaland.

Churches in Senja
Parish (sokn) Church name Location of the church Year built
Berg Berg Church Skaland 1955
Finnsæter Chapel Finnsæter 1982
Mefjordvær Chapel Mefjordvær 1916
Lenvik Finnsnes Church Finnsnes 1979
Lenvik Church Bjorelvnes 1879
Rossfjord Church Rossfjordstraumen 1822
Fjordgård Chapel Fjordgård 1976
Gibostad Chapel Gibostad 1939
Husøy Chapel Husøy i Senja 1957
Lysbotn Chapel Lysnes 1970
Sandbakken Chapel Sandbakken 1974
Torsken Torsken Church Torsken 1784
Flakkstadvåg Chapel Flakstadvåg 1925
Gryllefjord Chapel Gryllefjord 1902
Medby Chapel Medby 1890
Tranøy Stonglandet Church Stonglandseidet 1896
Tranøy Church Tranøya 1775
Skrolsvik Chapel Skrollsvika 1924
Vangsvik Chapel Vangsvik 1975


All municipalities in Norway, including Senja, 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 elects a mayor.[10] The municipality falls under the Senja District Court and the Hålogaland Court of Appeal.

Municipal councilEdit

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Senja is made up of 45 representatives that are elected to four year terms. The party breakdown of the council is as follows:

Senja Kommunestyre 2020–2024 [11]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)13
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)3
 Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)1
 Conservative Party (Høyre)8
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)11
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)2
 Senja List (Senjalista)6
Total number of members:45


Oksneset and Ersfjorden from Tungeneset in low sunlight, Senja, 2012 October

The island of Senja is located along the Troms county coastline with Finnsnes as the closest town. Senja is connected to the mainland by the Gisund Bridge. The municipalities located on Senja are Lenvik (part of which is on the mainland), Berg, Torsken, and Tranøy.[3]

The northern coasts of Senja faces the open sea, the western coast faces the islands of Andøya and Krøttøya, the southern coast faces the islands of Andørja and Dyrøya. On the western coast, steep and rugged mountains rise straight from the sea, with some fishing villages (like Gryllefjord, Husøy) tucked into the small lowland areas between the mountains and the sea. The eastern and southern parts of the island are milder, with rounder mountains, forests, rivers and agriculture land.

Senja is often referred to as "Norway in miniature", as the island's diverse scenery reflects almost the entire span of Norwegian nature. Senja is well known domestically for its beautiful scenery, and is marketed as a tourist attraction.


Climate data from the village of Gibostad on the eastern shore of the island, facing the mainland during the base period of 1961-1990. The western side of the island, facing the Norwegian Sea, will have slightly milder but more windy winters.

Climate data for Gibostad, Lenvik
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −1.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.4
Average low °C (°F) −7.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 85
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 13.4 12.4 11.5 10.7 9.2 10.6 13.2 12.4 14.3 16.0 14.7 15.6 154.0
Source: Norwegian Meteorological Institute[12]


Among the sights of the island are Ånderdalen National Park with coastal pine forests and mountains,[13] traditional fishing communities, and the Senja Troll, the world's largest troll. The southernmost municipality Tranøy also has several small museums documenting local history, among these the Halibut Museum ("Kveitmuseet") in Skrolsvik.

Notable peopleEdit

Maria Haukaas Storeng, 2010
  • Anders Olsen (1718 on the island of Senja - 1786) a trader, explorer and colonial administrator
  • Bjarne Daniel Solli (1910 in Lenvik – 1989) politician, Mayor of Lenvik 1945-1953
  • Arvid Nergård (1923 in Lenvik – 2006) Bishop of Nord-Hålogaland in Tromsø 1979-1990
  • Per Kleiva (1931 in Torsken – 2017) a Norwegian painter and graphic artist
  • Ottar Brox (born 1932 in Torsken) an authority in social science, academic and politician
  • Arvid Hanssen (1932–1998) newspaper editor, poet and novelist; his bust stands in Finnsnes
  • Hans Kristian Eriksen (1933–2014) a non-fiction writer, magazine editor, novelist and short story writer & schoolteacher on the island of Senja 1954-1978
  • Geir-Inge Sivertsen (born 1965) an engineer and politician, Mayor of Lenvik 2011-2019
  • Maria Haukaas Mittet (born 1979 in Finnsnes) singer at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest
  • Andreas Amundsen (born 1980 on the island of Senja) a Norwegian jazz bassist
  • Pål Moddi Knutsen (born 1987 in Senja), stage name Moddi, is a musician, author and activist


Media galleryEdit


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  2. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian).
  3. ^ a b c Thorsnæs, Geir, ed. (2018-05-09). "Senja". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  4. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2020). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian).
  5. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2020). "09280: Area of land and fresh water (km²) (M)" (in Norwegian).
  6. ^ "Senja kommune 2020" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  7. ^ Vermes, Thomas (2017-03-29). "Stortingsflertallet gjør fire Senja-kommuner til én". ABC Nyheter (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  8. ^ "Bidrag till Fennoskandiens språkliga förhistoria i tid och rum" (PDF) (in Swedish). Helsingfors Universitet. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  9. ^ Henriksen, Steinulf (2018-05-25). "Det viktigste Senja-våpen". Folkebladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  10. ^ Hansen, Tore, ed. (2016-05-12). "kommunestyre". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 2019-10-26.
  11. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2019 - Troms og Finnmark". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  12. ^ "eKlima Web Portal". Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Archived from the original on 2004-06-14.
  13. ^ "Ånderdalen National Park" (in Norwegian). Directorate for nature management. Retrieved 2010-04-04.