Nordland is situated in the Northern part of Norway. From the county border in the North, to the Southern border the distance is about 600 kilometres. At the narrowest, the county is only 6 kilometres wide from the coast to the Swedish border.

Population of Nordland is 238 320 (2012).  Nordland’s municipalities vary as regards population from Træna (451 inhabitants) and Vevelstad (485 inhabitants) to town municipalities such as Narvik (18.384) and Bodø (46.049), according to official statistics (SSB) in January 2008. Nordland has about 3000 sami people, of whom 8 % are engaged in reindeer herding. Area is 38.237 square kilometres.

The County consists of 45 municipalities. The city of Bodø, from which the county is administrated, is the administrative center of Nordland. Municipalities are: Alstahaug, Andøy, Ballangen, Beiarn, Bindal, Bodø, Brønnøy, Bø, Dønna, Evenes, Fauske, Gildeskål, Grane, Hemnes,Herøy, Leirfjord, Lurøy, Lødingen, Meløy, Moskenes, Narvik, Rana, Rødøy, Røst, Saltdal, Sortland, Steigen, Sørfold, Tjeldsund, Tysfjord, Vefsn, Vega, Vestvågøy, Vevelstad,  Værøy, Vågan, Øksnes.


The nature is very rich and versatile - with bare rocks, fertile agricultural areas, forested valleys and high mountains. The coast and the closeness to the sea are the county’s most distinguished characteristics. A large part of the Norwegian fishery activities takes place off the coast of Nordland , with the famous “Lofotfisket” - the Lofoten Fishery- as the best known activities.

Sea otters, whales, puffins and many other species of sea birds can be seen along the 14 000 km of coast. The main inland species are moose, lynx, and wolverine.

Norway’s national mountain is also situated in Nordland. The majestic Stetind in Tysfjord – 1.392 metres above sea level – captured most votes in the Norwegian Broadcasting Service’s (NRK) poll in the summer of 2002. Nordlands nature makes tourism a major industry. Each year some 170, 000-200, 000 tourists visit the Lofoten Islands alone. All types of tourism are currently being promoted and the tourist industry is already a major earner for Nordland.

Helgeland is the kingdom of islands, with a superb archipelago.  The minister of the environment has sent an application to UNESCO nominating the Vega islands as a world heritage area. The Vega islands consist of more than 6500 islands, rock outcrops and skerries. The beaches are unique in their form and distribution. This is Norway’s first application to UNESCO in 20 years for the approval of a new cultural and natural heritage area on the World Heritage List.

Nordland is also home to the world’s most northerly glacier, Svartisen, just north of the arctic circle.


Nordland is the economic hub of Northern Norway. The industrial area of Helgeland – concentrated in particular around Mosjøen and Mo – is the main such area north of Dovre and the second biggest in Norway. The processing industries at Mo industrial park have a combined annual turnover of around 3 billion Norwegian kroner. In total, Nordland’s processing industry encompasses close to 20 businesses. In 2004 these firms exported goods to a value of around 9 billion kroner.

The trade and industry in Nordland consist of metallurgical, cement and fertiliser industry, fisheries, fish-farming, agriculture, forestry and timber, services, tourism, assorted light industry and small shipyards. The sea also provides a living for the people of the region. Nordland has the country’s largest fishing industry with more than 3,000 active fishermen (2006). Large quantities of fish are brought ashore with an export value of close to four billion Norwegian kroner. The enormous growth in fish farming has been a major addition to the trade in local natural resources. Nordland is the country’s second biggest fish-farming region.

Nordland is Norway’s largest producer and supplier of electrical power. The development of the Svartisen hydroelectric facility in the 1980s and 90s was at that time the biggest in the country. The quantity of available energy attracted several major industries to the area. Elkem, Hydro and Ruukki all have large production facilities in Nordland.

Oil and gas have raised great expectations in Nordland. Reserves have been found in several fields that are still unopened to development. The oil industry brings together considerable knowledge and expertise.

Transport Infrastructure in Nordland

Nordland is connected to international markets by a network of air, rail, and ferries. Bodø is a communications hub for aeroplanes, trains, buses, the coastal express boat and fast-going ferries.

Nordlanders are a people of ferries, and the famous Hurtigruten is also based in Nordland. Over the past few decades big investments have been made to improve infrastructure within the county. New roads and bridges bring people and the various parts of the county ever closer together.

Twelve airports make Nordland still more accessible for those who live and work here.


There are 29 further education colleges and three special institutions in Nordland, with altogether nearly 10.000 pupils (2002). Nordland has invested heavily in building up a robust research and educational environment. The rocket launch site on the island of Andøya has become a widely known facility. The county has three university colleges, and the one at Bodø is now aiming for university status.

The connection between local trade and colleges of further education increases the chances for young people to get a job and also to carry on living here after having completed their education.


The county of Nordland runs nine cultural institutions:

  • Nordland County Library
  • The Nordland Archives
  • Music in Nordland
  • The Figure Theatre in Nordland
  • Nordland Art and Film School
  • Nordland Cultural Centre
  • Nordland Stage instructors 
  • Physical activity and natural experience in Nordland
  • Cultural relics in Nordland

Artscape Nordland is a collection of contemporary works of art made by artists from all over the world. The collection consists of in all 33 works of art and can be found in 33 municipalities. A special website has been designed presenting the artists and their sculptures in detail.

The cultural department of Nordland has wide-ranging international co-operation, amongst other things through The Barents co-operation and the Barents Youth Chamber Orchestra that received excellent acclaim for holding good concerts.

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Sources of information:

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