Sortland kommune

View of Sortland from Strandheia mountain.

Coat of arms

Nordland within

Sortland within Nordland
Coordinates: 68°42′31″N 15°16′51″E / 68.70861°N 15.28083°E / 68.70861; 15.28083Coordinates: 68°42′31″N 15°16′51″E / 68.70861°N 15.28083°E / 68.70861; 15.28083
Country Norway
County Nordland
District Vesterålen
Administrative centre Sortland
  Mayor (30.10.2015) Tove Mette Bjørkmo (AP)
  Total 722.37 km2 (278.91 sq mi)
  Land 698.22 km2 (269.58 sq mi)
  Water 24.15 km2 (9.32 sq mi)
Area rank 152 in Norway
Population (2012)
  Total 9,983
  Rank 105 in Norway
  Density 14.3/km2 (37/sq mi)
  Change (10 years) 6.1 %
Demonym(s) Sortlending[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1870
Official language form Neutral
Data from Statistics Norway

 Sortland  is a town and municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Vesterålen. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Sortland. Other population centres in Sortland include , Holand, Holmstad, Liland, Sigerfjord, and Strand. The Norwegian Coast Guard has its northern base in Sortland, called Kystvaktskvadron Nord.

In 1997, the municipality decided to declare "township" for Sortland. Sortland is the largest town and commercial centre in Vesterålen. Sortland is located close to the Sortland Bridge, connecting Langøya to Hinnøya by road. Since a lot of houses in the town are painted blue, Sortland is sometimes referred to as "the blue city". In January 2012, the number of citizens in Sortland reached 10,000.[2]

General information

Bits and pieces of the blue city, Sortland.

The municipality of Sortland was established in 1841 when it was separated from the municipality of Hadsel. On 1 January 1963, the Holm area (population: 65) of Langenes and the area around the inner and western part of the Eidsfjorden (population: 1,360) was transferred to Sortland. On 1 January 2000, the area surrounding the Godfjorden was transferred from Kvæfjord (and Troms county) to Sortland (and Nordland county).[3]


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the old Sortland farm (Old Norse: Svortuland), since the first church (Sortland Church) was built there. The first element is the genitive case of a river name Svorta and the last element is land which means "land" or "farm". The river name is derived from svartr which means "black/dark".[4]


The coat-of-arms is from modern times. It was granted on 15 March 1985. It shows a gold-colored castle gate on a blue background. The gate symbolizes Sortland as the gateway to the Vesterålen region with its many lakes. The arms were based on the seal used by the municipality since the 1960s, which also showed a (natural) gate in a landscape. The blue colour symbolises the blue sea.[5]


The Church of Norway has one parish (sokn) within the municipality of Sortland. It is part of the Vesterålen deanery in the Diocese of Sør-Hålogaland.

Churches in Sortland
Parish (Sokn)Church NameLocation of the ChurchYear Built
SortlandIndre Eidsfjord ChurchHolmstad1970
Sigerfjord ChurchSigerfjord1933
Sortland ChurchSortland1901


The municipality of Sortland is located on the islands of Langøya and Hinnøya in the Vesterålen archipelago. The municipality surrounds the inner part of the Eidsfjorden and the Sortlandssundet strait. There are several bridges in the municipality including Djupfjordstraumen Bridge, Kvalsaukan Bridge, and Sortland Bridge. The Sortland Bridge is located just north of the town of Sortland. One of the main roads through the municipality is Norwegian County Road 82. The mountain Møysalen and part of Møysalen National Park are located in southern Sortland.

Midnight Sun and Aurora Borealis

The Midnight Sun occurs from May 23 to July 23. Great places to observe the Midnight Sun includes the Sortland Bridge, Ramnflauget, Godfjorden, Holm and Skytterhaugen in the Vestmarka residential area. Because of Sortland's high latitude, there is no real darkness between late April and mid-August.

From November 30 to January 12 the sun remains below the horizon and is not visible. The return of the sun is an occasion for celebration (pupils always claim to have spotted the sun before the actual return and hope to be given the day off in celebration). The Polar Night does not mean that it becomes totally dark. The experience of the winter with the uniqueness of the light, the northern lights and snow is fantastic. Especially beautiful is the blue light southwards where the sky can also be colored in pink, just before it becomes dark.

Sortland and the Vesterålen region are perfect for observing the spectacular Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) phenomenon. The aurora borealis trails its multi coloured banner across the sky and the moon lights the scene making it a breathtaking experience. Pictures taken here have been presented in National Geographic Magazine.


Climate data for Kleiva, Sortland
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 0.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.1
Average low °C (°F) −4.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 135
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 17.0 15.2 14.4 13.9 11.2 11.7 13.2 12.0 16.3 19.0 17.2 17.5 178.6
Source: Norwegian Meteorological Institute[6]


All municipalities in Norway, including Sortland, 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 Sortland is made up of 27 representatives that are elected to every four years. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[7]

Sortland Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party NameName in NorwegianNumber of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet8
 Progress PartyFremskrittspartiet2
 Conservative PartyHøyre11
 Red PartyRødt3
 Centre PartySenterpartiet2
 Socialist Left PartySosialistisk Venstreparti1
Total number of members:27

Music and culture

The market square in downtown Sortland a day in June 2013.

Sortland has been regarded as one of the best music communities in Norway, and the local band Madrugada has been one of the best ones in the nation. Sortland Jazz Festival is an event organized by Sortland Jazz and Music Club, which takes place every autumn. Some of the world's leading jazz musicians have been participating.


Sortland is Vesterålen´s leading destination for shopping with several indoors shopping centers, a huge range of activities and offers an impressive amount of hairdressers. The retail turnover per inhabitant in Sortland is greater than in any other town in North Norway. Sortland is one of the few North Norwegian towns that have grown annually since the 70s, the result of a conscious decision to create a high standard of services in a pleasant place to live.

Notable residents


  1. "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  2. "Nyttårs-sortlending blir nr. 10.000" (in Norwegian). Bladet Vesterålen.
  3. Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  4. Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nordlands amt (in Norwegian) (16 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 393.
  5. Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 2008-11-29.
  6. "eKlima Web Portal". Norwegian Meteorological Institute.
  7. "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2015.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sortland.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/23/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.