Jølster kommune

Coat of arms

Sogn og Fjordane within

Jølster within Sogn og Fjordane
Coordinates: 61°32′30″N 06°24′32″E / 61.54167°N 6.40889°E / 61.54167; 6.40889Coordinates: 61°32′30″N 06°24′32″E / 61.54167°N 6.40889°E / 61.54167; 6.40889
Country Norway
County Sogn og Fjordane
District Sunnfjord
Administrative centre Skei
  Mayor (2011) Oddmund Klakegg (Sp)
  Total 670.86 km2 (259.02 sq mi)
  Land 619.60 km2 (239.23 sq mi)
  Water 51.26 km2 (19.79 sq mi)
Area rank 166 in Norway
Population (2010)
  Total 3,078
  Rank 265 in Norway
  Density 5.0/km2 (13/sq mi)
  Change (10 years) 3.5 %
Demonym(s) Jølstring[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1431
Official language form Nynorsk
Website www.jolster.kommune.no
Data from Statistics Norway

Jølster is a municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Sunnfjord. The administrative centre is the village of Skei. Other villages in the municipality include Helgheim, Ålhus, Vassenden, and Langhaugane.

Jølster lies at the centre of Sogn og Fjordane county and is known for its rich cultural traditions in home crafts, folk music, song, dancing, and creative arts. Agriculture is the largest industry in the municipality. The principal attraction in Jølster is the scenery, with easy access to the glaciers Grovabreen, Jostedalsbreen, and Myklebustbreen. Jølster is home to part of the largest glacier of continental Europe, the Jostedalsbreen as well as a clear green lake named Jølstravatnet. The trout caught in Jølstravatn are renowned throughout Norway and beyond.

General information

Helgheim Church in Jølster

The parish of Jølster was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The original municipality was identical to the Jølster parish (prestegjeld) with the sub-parishes (sokn) of Ålhus and Helgheim.[2] On 1 January 1964, the farm area of Førde in the neighboring municipality of Breim (population: 38) was transferred to Jølster municipality.[3]


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the Jølstra river which runs through the lower parts of the municipality. The name (Old Norse: Jólmstr) is a word that describes the noise and rumble of the river.[4]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms were granted on 22 July 1983. The arms are derived from the arms of Audun Hugleiksson from Hegranes in the present municipality, who died in 1302. He was a Middle Ages nobleman who lived in Jølster and built Audunborg, one of only two private stone castles in Norway. On his seals, he used a shield with a rose, surrounded with a bordure of fleur-de-lis. The arms of Jølster are derived from this bordure. The symbol is gold on a red background.[5]


The Church of Norway has two parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Jølster. It is part of the Sunnfjord deanery in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.

Churches in Jølster
Parish (Sokn)Church NameLocation of the ChurchYear Built
HelgheimHelgheim ChurchHelgheim1877
ÅlhusVassenden ChurchVassenden2002
Ålhus ChurchÅlhus1795


All municipalities in Norway, including Jølster, 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.

Municipal council

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Jølster is made up of 25 representatives that are elected to every four years. For 2011–2015, the party breakdown is as follows:[6]

Jølster Kommunestyre 2011–2015
Party NameName in NorwegianNumber of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet5
 Progress PartyFramstegspartiet1
 Conservative PartyHøgre3
 Christian Democratic PartyKristelig Folkeparti2
 Centre PartySenterpartiet8
 Socialist Left PartySosialistisk Venstreparti2
 Liberal PartyVenstre4
Total number of members:25


The mayor (ordførar) of a municipality in Norway is a representative of the majority party of the municipal council who is elected to lead the council. Oddmund Klakegg of the Centre Party was elected mayor for the 2011-2015 term.[7]


The Jølstravatnet lake splits the municipality in half, which creates a centre of population at each end of the lake: Skei in the eastern end of the lake and Vassenden (English: the water-end) in the western part, where the river Jølstra starts. A small end of the lake Breimsvatnet crosses over into the municipality of Jølster.

Jølster is bordered to the north by the municipalities of Stryn and Gloppen, to the east by Luster, to the southeast by Sogndal, and to the south and west by Førde. The Jostedalsbreen National Park lies partially in this municipality.


Tourism is one of the largest industries in Jølster, and there are hotels, campsites, and a number of tourist facilities in each centre of the municipality. In addition to tourism, agriculture and construction are the other most important industries.


View from Snønipa to the north
Painting by Nikolai Astrup


Astruptunet was the home of the painter Nikolai Astrup (1880–1928) for the last fourteen years of his life. The Astrup Farm (Astruptunet) was the artist's home and small farm, but today it is a museum and art gallery, kept as it was in Astrup's days, nestled among the steep but fertile slopes on the south side of Jølstravatn. The barn was torn down and rebuilt as a gallery, but in the same style as the old barn. The gallery has permanent exhibitions of Astrup's work such as paintings, graphics, wood-engraving plates and sketches. Most of his scenes have been taken from Jølster and Nikolai Astrup has since remained one of the most Norwegian of our national artists.

Nikolai Astrup lived most of his life in Jølster. Astrup often is regarded as the artist of Western Norway, as he found virtually all of his motives in his home surroundings. He's considered the "most Norwegian" of all the national artists of Norway.[8]

Another Norwegian painter and graphic artist, Ludvig Eikaas, is closely connected to Jølster. The artist grew up in Jølster, but later moved to Oslo. He is among other things famous for his non-figurative art and portraits/self-portraits.

The Eikaas Gallery was originally an old dairy farm in Ålhus that was purchased by the municipality of Jølster and converted to a modern art gallery. The collection contains about 300 works of art by Ludvig Eikaas. Since the opening of the Eikaas Gallery in 1994, many tourists have stopped to enjoy the "humorous madness" and other varieties of the art of Ludvig Eikaas.[8]

Jølstra Museum

The Jølstra museum is a private village green with many original Jølstra buildings and a collection of around 3,000 artifacts. There are also exhibitions of paintings by Ludvig Eikaas and Oddvar Torsheim and of Jølster textiles.[8]

Jølster Alpine Ski Centre

Jølster can offer you several alternatives for skiing enthusiasts. Jølster alpine ski centre lies at Vassenden. Here you can enjoy yourself on the slopes or you can take the lift to the top and crosscountry ski through the valley. There are lighted ski trails in the villages of Årdal and Dvergsdalen. Jølster also has many wild and beautiful mountains for Telemark skiing enthusiasts.[8]

Notable residents


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jølster.
  1. "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  2. Natvik, Oddvar (9 February 2005). "Some historical data on the 26 Kommunes".
  3. Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
  4. Rygh, Oluf (1919). Norske gaardnavne: Nordre Bergenhus amt (in Norwegian) (12 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 308.
  5. Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 3 August 2008.
  6. "Members of the local councils". Statistics Norway. 2011. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  7. "Ordførar" (in Norwegian). Jølster kommune. 2011-11-11. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  8. 1 2 3 4 "Jølster Municipality in Norway". GoNorway.no. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
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