This article is about the municipality in Finnmark, Norway. For the village in that municipality, see Nesseby (village).
Nesseby kommune
Unjárgga gielda

Abelsborg in Nesseby municipality

Coat of arms

Finnmark within

Nesseby within Finnmark
Coordinates: 70°10′24″N 28°33′13″E / 70.17333°N 28.55361°E / 70.17333; 28.55361Coordinates: 70°10′24″N 28°33′13″E / 70.17333°N 28.55361°E / 70.17333; 28.55361
Country Norway
County Finnmark
District Øst-Finnmark
Administrative centre Varangerbotn
  Mayor (2011) Knut Inge Store (Ap)
  Total 1,436.37 km2 (554.59 sq mi)
  Land 1,366.89 km2 (527.76 sq mi)
  Water 69.48 km2 (26.83 sq mi)
Area rank 57 in Norway
Population (2014)
  Total 919 (Increase from last year)
  Rank 410 in Norway
  Density 0.64/km2 (1.7/sq mi)
  Change (10 years) -0.9 %
Demonym(s) Nessebyværing[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-2027
Official language form Bokmål and Sami
Data from Statistics Norway

Unjárga (Northern Sami) or Nesseby (Norwegian) (also Uuniemi in Kven/Finnish) is a municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Varangerbotn. Other villages in Nesseby include Gandvik, Karlebotn, Nesseby, and Nyelv. The European route E06 and European route E75 highways intersect at Varangerbotn in Nesseby.

General information

Map of Nesseby

The municipality of Nesseby was originally established in 1839 when the western part of the Vadsø landdistrikt was separated to form Nesseby. Initially, there were 598 residents. This was short-lived, however, since the two were merged back together in 1858. On 1 January 1864, the municipality of Nesseby was again created from the western district of Vadsø landdistrikt. The initial population (this time) was 886. The western part of Nesseby (population: 450) was separated on 1 January 1903 to form the new municipality of Polmak.[2]


The official name of the municipality was Nesseby before 1989 when it was changed to Unjárga-Nesseby.[3] It was the second municipality in Norway to get a Sami name. In 2005, the name was again changed, such that either Unjárga or Nesseby can be used.[4]

The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the old Nesseby farm, since Nesseby Church was built there (in 1858). The first element is nes which means "headland" and the last element is by which means "town".[5]

The meaning of the first element (u-) in the Sami name is unknown and the last element is njárga which means "headland".[5]


The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted on 27 June 1986. The arms show a cloudberry plant (Rubus chamaemorus), since these plants are commonly found in the municipality and the region. The berries were historically exported to other parts of Norway by the barrel.[6][7]


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

Churches in Nesseby
Parish (sokn)Church nameLocationYear built
NessebyNesseby ChurchNesseby1858


Farming of salmon in Nesseby
View of the lake Gánddajávri

Wild reindeer used to cross the isthmus in prehistoric times until the year 1900, causing extensive human activity throughout the millennia. Therefore, the area is full of archeological finds from different periods.

Sami culture

Most inhabitants are of Sami origin, and today Sami is being taught as the first language in schools. The municipality has its own Sami costume.

The Norwegian Sami Parliament's department of culture and environment is located in Unjárga-Nesseby. The Várjjat Sámi Museum is located in the municipality. The museum is about the sea-sami culture. Unjárga-Nesseby is also the birthplace of Isak Saba the first Sami to be elected into the Norwegian Parliament.

The popular teen-age pop-band The Blacksheeps come from Nesseby.


All municipalities in Norway, including Nesseby, 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 Nesseby is made up of 15 representatives that are elected to every four years. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[8]

Unjárga Nesseby Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party NameName in NorwegianNumber of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet7
 Socialist Left PartySosialistisk Venstreparti2
 Local ListsLokale lister6
Total number of members:15


The municipality is situated on the isthmus between the Varangerfjord and the Tana River at the entrance to the Varanger Peninsula. All the people live in small settlements along the fjord. Varangerhalvøya National Park is partially located in the park. The river Jakobselva partially forms the municipal border between Nesseby and Vadsø to the northeast.


The municipality of Unjárga-Nesseby is known for its interesting birding localities and is mentioned in several birding guide books. Other than the Varangerford, the main habitat is tundra with areas of bog and marsh. One species that can usually be seen on small ponds during the summer months is the red-necked phalarope.


Climate data for Varangerbotn
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) −11.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 27
Source: Norwegian Meteorological Institute[9]


  1. "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  2. Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  3. "Ot.prp. nr. 111 (2001-2002)" (in Norwegian).
  4. "Endring av skrivemåten for tospråklige kommuner. Endring av skrivemåten for tospråklige kommunenavn, Unjárga-Nesseby" (in Norwegian).
  5. 1 2 Rygh, Oluf (1924). Norske gaardnavne: Finmarkens amt (in Norwegian) (18 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 246.
  6. Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  7. "Kommunevåpen". Flags of the World. 28 June 2002. Retrieved 2008-12-11. External link in |publisher= (help)
  8. "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2015.
  9. "eKlima Web Portal". Norwegian Meteorological Institute.
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