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.[3]

Vågan kommune

Lofoten Svolvear Fährhafen Ausfahrt.jpg
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
Established1 Jan 1838
Administrative centreSvolvær
 • Mayor (2011)Eivind Holst (H)
 • Total479.17 km2 (185.01 sq mi)
 • Land459.94 km2 (177.58 sq mi)
 • Water19.23 km2 (7.42 sq mi)  4%
Area rank211 in Norway
 • Total9,611
 • Rank120 in Norway
 • Density20.9/km2 (54/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Demonym(s)Vågaværing [1]
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-1865
Official language formNeutral [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 120th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 9,611. The municipality's population density is 20.9 inhabitants per square kilometre (54/sq mi) and its population has increased by 7.6% over the last decade.[4][5]

General informationEdit

Vågan was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). In 1856, the northwestern part of Vågan Municipality (population: 987) was separated to form the new Gimsøy Municipality. 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. During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1964, the municipalities of Gimsøy (population: 1,551), Svolvær (population: 3,952), and Vågan (population: 4,820) were merged to form the new, larger municipality of Vågan.[6]


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the old Vågan farm (Old Norse: Vágar), since the first 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.[7]

Coat of armsEdit

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.[8]


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 Gimsøysand 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. Other mountains include Fløyfjellet, Trakta, and Vågakallen.


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[9]


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.[10] The municipality falls under the Lofoten District Court and the Hålogaland Court of Appeal.

Municipal councilEdit

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Vågan is made up of 29 representatives that are elected to four year terms. The party breakdown of the council is as follows:

Vågan Kommunestyre 2020–2024 [11]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)7
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)1
 Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)1
 Conservative Party (Høyre)9
 Red Party (Rødt)2
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)4
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)3
 Liberal Party (Venstre)2
Total number of members:29
Vågan Kommunestyre 2016–2019 [12]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)8
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)2
 Conservative Party (Høyre)9
 Red Party (Rødt)3
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)3
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)1
 Liberal Party (Venstre)3
Total number of members:29
Vågan Kommunestyre 2012–2015 [13]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)12
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)3
 Conservative Party (Høyre)11
 Red Party (Rødt)2
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)3
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)2
 Liberal Party (Venstre)2
Total number of members:35

History and economyEdit

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 citiesEdit



  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  2. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian). Lovdata.no.
  3. ^ Store norske leksikon. "Vågan" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  4. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2018). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  5. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå. "09280: Area of land and fresh water (km²) (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  6. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  7. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nordlands amt (in Norwegian) (16 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 308.
  8. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  9. ^ "eKlima Web Portal". Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Archived from the original on 2004-06-14.
  10. ^ Hansen, Tore, ed. (2016-05-12). "kommunestyre". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  11. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2019 - Nordland". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 2019-10-28.
  12. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
  13. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2011 - Nordland". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 2019-10-28.

External linksEdit