For other uses, see Selje (disambiguation).
Selje kommune

Coat of arms

Sogn og Fjordane within

Selje within Sogn og Fjordane
Coordinates: 62°08′14″N 05°13′23″E / 62.13722°N 5.22306°E / 62.13722; 5.22306Coordinates: 62°08′14″N 05°13′23″E / 62.13722°N 5.22306°E / 62.13722; 5.22306
Country Norway
County Sogn og Fjordane
District Nordfjord
Administrative centre Selje
  Mayor (2011) Ottar Nygård (Local list)
  Total 226.10 km2 (87.30 sq mi)
  Land 219.86 km2 (84.89 sq mi)
  Water 6.24 km2 (2.41 sq mi)
Area rank 315 in Norway
Population (2013)
  Total 2,789
  Rank 282 in Norway
  Density 12.7/km2 (33/sq mi)
  Change (10 years) -8.4 %
Demonym(s) Seljeværing[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1441
Official language form Nynorsk
Data from Statistics Norway

Selje is a municipality in the county of Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Nordfjord. The village of Selje is the administrative center of Selje municipality.

Selje is located at the northwesternmost part of Sogn og Fjordane county. Most of the municipality is located on and around the Stadlandet peninsula as well as some small surrounding islands such as Selja and Barmøya. The Stad Ship Tunnel is a proposed tunnel/canal through a small isthmus connecting the Moldefjorden to the Vanylvsfjorden, and it would prevent the need for boats to travel around the Stad peninsulaa particularly dangerous sea route.

Selje was one of the first three Episcopal sees in Norway (Oslo, Nidaros, and Selje). After the diocese was moved to Bergen, monks took over the church in Selje, which was later destroyed by pirates in 1536. The municipality of Selje is also home to the Selje Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery located on the island of Selja. There are ruins of the abbey and church can still be seen on the island.[2]

General information

Some boat-houses at Selje
Ruins of the Selje Abbey on Selja

Selje was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The original municipality was identical to the historic Selje prestegjeld with the sub-parishes (sokn) of Hove and Vågsøy. The municipality originally included all of the Stadlandet peninsula, the island of Vågsøy and the mainland area north of the mouth of the Nordfjorden.

On 1 January 1910, the southwestern district of Vågsøy was separated from Selje to form two new municipalities: Nord-Vågsøy and Sør-Vågsøy. The sub-parish of Hove was renamed Selje at the same time. After the separation, Selje had a population of 3,367 residents.[3]

Later, on 1 January 1964, the municipalities of Nord-Vågsøy and Sør-Vågsøy as well as a small part of Selje municipality were merged to form the new Vågsøy Municipality. The parts of Selje involved were the island of Silda, the Hagevik-Osmundsvåg area, and the farms of Sørpollen and Straumen.[4] There were 344 residents in those areas that were moved out of Selje.[3]


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the small island of Selja, since the first church (Selje Church) was built there. The meaning of the name is unknown. Until 1889 the name was written Selø or Selløe.

Coat of arms

Image of the coat of arms

The Coat of arms of Selje were introduced in 1991.[5] They are blue and silver, showing the upper half of a woman with raised arms and crown, depicting Saint Sunniva, the patron saint of the Norwegian Diocese of Bjørgvin and all of Western Norway who according to legend died on the island of Selja.


The Church of Norway has three parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Selje. It is part of the Nordfjord deanery in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.[6][7]

Churches in Selje
Parish (Sokn)Church NameLocation of the ChurchYear Built
ErvikErvik ChurchErvik1970
LeikangerLeikanger ChurchLeikanger1866
SeljeSelje ChurchSelje1866

Also, the ruins of the Selje Abbey (built in 1100) are located on the island of Selja.


Hoddevik village on the Stad peninsula
Honningsvåg lake on the Stad peninsula

All municipalities in Norway, including Selje, 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 Selje is made up of 17 representatives that are elected to every four years. For 2007–2011, the party breakdown is as follows:[8]

Selje Kommunestyre 2011–2015
Party NameName in NorwegianNumber of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet1
 Progress PartyFramstegspartiet4
 Conservative PartyHøgre3
 Christian Democratic PartyKristelig Folkeparti3
 Centre PartySenterpartiet1
 Local ListsLokale lister5
Total number of members:17


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. Ottar Nygård was elected mayor for the 2011–2015 term.[9]

In 2007, Selje participated in a trial where the mayor was directly elected. The sitting mayor, Gunn Helgesen, was re-elected with 49.8% of the votes.

Many previous mayors have later entered national or regional politics: Julius Fure, Magne Aarøen, Åge Starheim, and Sverre J. Hoddevik.


The village of Årvik on the Stad peninsula
The village of Drage on the Stad peninsula

Selje is located in the northwesternmost part of Sogn og Fjordane county, in the Nordfjord region. It includes the Stad peninsula and the islands of Barmøya, Venøya, and Selja. Selje is surrounded by water on three sides. The Sildagapet bay on the west, the North Sea to the north, and the Vanylvsfjorden to the northeast. Selje municipality is bordered to the south and west by Vågsøy Municipality and to the east by Vanylven and Sande municipalities (in Møre og Romsdal county).


The main industries in the municipality of Selje have been fishing and farming. These industries are still present in Selje, with the addition of new industries such as fish breeding, boat building, ready-made clothing manufacturing, and service industries.[2]

Villages and neighborhoods

Villages and neighborhoods in the municipality include Barmen, Ervik, Flatraket, Hoddevik, Hoddevika,[10] Håvik, and Leikanger.



On the island of Selja, a 15-minute boat trip from the village of Selje, lie the ruins of the Selje Abbey, its tower still intact. The abbey was built by Benedictine monks early in the 12th century in honour of St. Sunniva. The legend of St. Sunniva who was martyred here lives on. Norway has two male saints (St. Olav and St. Hallvard) and one female one, St. Sunniva, the guardian saint of Western Norway. According to legend, Sunniva, daughter of an Irish king, fled when her country was conquered by heathens and the new king wanted to marry her. She came ashore on the island of Selja. The St. Sunniva cave where Sunniva is said to have died is a large cavern containing remains of walls and traces of the first church dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

The island of Selja is also home to the following sites:


The part of Norway's mainland that is farthest west is in Selje. The West Cape (Vestkapp) is 496 metres (1,627 ft) above sea level at the northwestern end of the Stad peninsula. It is a precipitous rocky plateau, almost flat on top, that drops steeply down to the sea. In good weather, there is a panoramic view in all directions. It is immediately north of the village of Ervik.[2]


Ervik is located by the ocean near the West Cape at the end of the Stad peninsula. The Ervik Church is located here in memory of those who died when the coastal express ship Sanct Svithun was wrecked here after being mistakenly bombed in 1943 by Canadian planes. Ervik has a fine sandy beach which is popular for surfing, and a river rich in trout and salmon.[2]


  1. "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Selje Municipality in Norway". Retrieved 20 July 2008.
  3. 1 2 Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  4. "The municipality of Selje". 19 March 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2008.
  5. "Kommunevåpen" (in Norwegian). Store norske leksikon. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  6. "Selje kirkelige fellesråd" (in Norwegian). Den Norske Kirke.
  7. Natvik, Oddvar (9 February 2005). "Some historical data on the 26 Kommunes".
  8. "Members of the local councils". Statistics Norway. 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2008.
  9. Selje Kommune. "Ordførar i Selje. Ottar Nygård" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2013-09-12.
  10. Krever bedre 4G-dekning etter Tele 2 Norge-kjøp
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