Porsanger kommune
Porsáŋggu gielda
Porsangin komuuni

Coat of arms

Finnmark within

Porsanger within Finnmark
Coordinates: 70°3′8″N 24°57′21″E / 70.05222°N 24.95583°E / 70.05222; 24.95583Coordinates: 70°3′8″N 24°57′21″E / 70.05222°N 24.95583°E / 70.05222; 24.95583
Country Norway
County Finnmark
District Vest-Finnmark
Administrative centre Lakselv
  Mayor (2015) Aina Borch (Ap)
  Total 4,872.67 km2 (1,881.35 sq mi)
  Land 4,640.95 km2 (1,791.88 sq mi)
  Water 231.72 km2 (89.47 sq mi)
Area rank 3 in Norway
Population (2014)
  Total 3,978 (Decrease from last year)
  Rank 235 in Norway
  Density 0.81/km2 (2.1/sq mi)
  Change (10 years) -8.5 %
Demonym(s) Porsangværing
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-2020
Official language form Bokmål, Sami, and Kven
Website www.porsanger.no
Data from Statistics Norway

Porsanger (Norwegian) or Porsáŋgu (Northern Sami) or Porsanki (Kven/Finnish) is a municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Lakselv. Other villages in the municipality include Børselv, Brenna, Indre Billefjord, Kistrand, Olderfjord, and Skoganvarre.

Porsanger has a population of nearly 4000 people, many with Kven (Kainu) or Sami background. The municipal population has been decreasing by about 8% over the last ten years.

General information

Porsanger municipality and the large Porsangerfjorden

The municipality of Kistrand (renamed Porsanger in 1964) was established on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). On 1 January 1851, the southern part of Kistrand (population: 869) was separated to become the new Kautokeino Municipality. On 1 January 1861, the northern part of Kistrand (population: 345) was separated to become the new Kjelvik Municipality. On 1 January 1866, the southern part of Kistrand (population: 515) was separated to become the new Karasjok Municipality.[2]


The municipality was originally named Kistrand, after the farm where the main parish church (Kistrand Church) was located. In 1964, the municipality was renamed Porsanger, after the local Porsangerfjorden.

The Old Norse form of the name was Porsangr. The first element is probably the name of the plant pors or finnmarkspors (Rhododendron tomentosum). (Another theory is that is comes from Sami borsi which means "waterfall".) The last word is angr which means "fjord".

Since 2004, the municipality has had three official names: Porsanger, Porsáŋgu, and Porsanki, since it has three official languages: Norwegian, Northern Sami, and Kven.[3][4]


The coat-of-arms was granted on 16 June 1967. Porsanger is one of the largest municipalities in the Northern Norway that are not dependent on fishing. Instead the local people historically farmed reindeer, which is still an importance source of income. The arms thus show three silver leaping reindeer on a red background.[5][6]

See also: coats-of-arms of Eidfjord, Rendalen, Tromsø, Vadsø, and Vågå


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

Churches in Porsanger
Parish (sokn)NameLocationYear built
PorsangerBrenna ChapelBrenna1971
Børselv ChurchBørselv1958
Kistrand ChurchKistrand1856
Lakselv ChurchLakselv1963
Skoganvarre ChapelSkoganvarre1963


View of a reindeer herd near a waterfall in Porsanger
Traditional Sami house, along the fjord

The area has been settled by Sami people since time immemorial. In the 18th century, people from Finland, escaping famine and war, settled along the Porsangerfjorden. These people are today known as Kven. Today, three official languages are in use, and the municipality is named Porsanger, Porsáŋgu, and Porsanki (the name in Norwegian, Northern Sami, and Kven/Finnish respectively).


All municipalities in Norway, including Porsanger, 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 Porsanger is made up of 19 representatives that are elected to every four years. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[7]

Porsanger Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party NameName in NorwegianNumber of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet6
 Progress PartyFremskrittspartiet1
 Conservative PartyHøyre7
 Centre PartySenterpartiet1
 Socialist Left PartySosialistisk Venstreparti1
 Local ListsLokale lister3
Total number of members:19


Lakselv Airport, Banak is located on the Banak peninsula, just north of Lakselv village, along the coast of the fjord. The airport has connections to Tromsø and Kirkenes and it is operated by Widerøe. There are also charter flights in the summer season. The airport is also used by the Royal Norwegian Air Force's Station Group Banak. The Norwegian Army also has a garrison at Porsangermoen (Garrison of Porsanger), and so the military presence in Porsanger is quite heavy.

The local newspapers are Finnmark Dagblad and Ságat. The northernmost winery is located here, using crowberries instead of grapes.


Trolls in Porsanger; naturally sculpted dolomite.

Porsanger Municipality is the third largest municipality in Norway by area, with 4,873 square kilometres (1,881 sq mi). The municipality surrounds the inner part of the Porsangerfjorden, the fourth longest fjord in Norway and the longest in Northern Norway.

The Porsangerfjorden is a wide, open body of water with many islands. The Porsanger Peninsula lies on the western shore of the fjord and the Sværholt Peninsula lies on the eastern shore. The biggest village (and municipal centre) is the village of Lakselv at the fjord's southern end. There are many smaller villages spread around the fjord on both sides, notably Kistrand, Olderfjord, Børselv, and Indre Billefjord.

Stabbursdalen National Park, with the world's northernmost pine forest, lies just west of the fjord and the village of Lakselv. The Stabburselva river runs through the park. Other notable rivers include the Børselva and Lakselva, both are well known for their salmon fishing. The lakes Gákkajávri and Kjæsvannet are both located in the municipality.

In Porsanger, there is midnight sun from 16 May until 27 July each year and there is polar night from 25 November to 16 January.


Porsanger is an area of rich and varied bird fauna. Here one can find such species as pine grosbeak. Away from the woodlands, it is the surrounding wetlands that have the greatest diversity. During spring, thousands of red knots stop to rest and feed along the shores of Porsangerfjord.


Climate data for Lakselv
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −6.5
Daily mean °C (°F) −10.0
Average low °C (°F) −14.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 21
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 6.3 5.0 5.6 4.7 4.7 6.9 8.6 9.7 8.5 8.1 6.3 6.7 81.1
Source: Norwegian Meteorological Institute[8]


  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. Store norske leksikon. "Porsangen" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  4. Store norske leksikon. "Porsángu" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  5. Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  6. "Kommunevåpen". Flags of the World. 28 June 2002. Retrieved 2008-12-11. External link in |publisher= (help)
  7. "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2015.
  8. "eKlima Web Portal". Norwegian Meteorological Institute.
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