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Alstahaug kommune
Village of Tjøtta in Alstahaug
Village of Tjøtta in Alstahaug
Official logo of Alstahaug kommune
Nordland within
Alstahaug within Nordland
Alstahaug within Nordland
Coordinates: 65°57′24″N 12°34′22″E / 65.95667°N 12.57278°E / 65.95667; 12.57278Coordinates: 65°57′24″N 12°34′22″E / 65.95667°N 12.57278°E / 65.95667; 12.57278
Established1 Jan 1838
Administrative centreSandnessjøen
 • Mayor (2011)Bård Anders Langø (Ap)
 • Total187.61 km2 (72.44 sq mi)
 • Land186.70 km2 (72.09 sq mi)
 • Water0.91 km2 (0.35 sq mi)  0.5%
Area rank336 in Norway
 • Total7,450
 • Rank145 in Norway
 • Density39.9/km2 (103/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-1820
Official language formNeutral

Alstahaug is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Helgeland region; the administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Sandnessjøen. Some of the villages in Alstahaug include Søvika and Tjøtta.

The old trading centre at Tjøtta
The old parsonage at Alstahaug is protected
Alsten island, with lowland at the foot of the Seven Sisters mountains

Most residents of Alstahaug live in the town Sandnessjøen which is situated on the island of Alsta; the characteristic Seven Sisters mountain range is found on the eastern part of the island. Local legend has made this chain of peaks into seven sisters, two adjacent peaks representing twin sisters.

The island is connected to the mainland via the impressive Helgeland Bridge along Norwegian County Road 17; the Sandnessjøen Airport, Stokka is located just south of Sandnessjøen.

The 188-square-kilometre (73 sq mi) municipality is the 336th largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Alstahaug is the 145th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 7,450; the municipality's population density is 39.9 inhabitants per square kilometre (103/sq mi) and its population has increased by 3.4% over the last decade.[2][3]

General information[edit]

The large municipality of Alstahaug was established on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt law). In 1862, the southern district (population: 2,781) was separated to become the new municipality of Tjøtta (Vevelstad Municipality was later separated from Tjøtta); this left Alstahaug with about 3,280 residents. Just two years later, in 1864, the western island district (population: 2,438) was separated to become the new municipality of Herøy. Then on 1 July 1899, the northern district (population: 2,673) was separated to form the new municipality of Stamnes (Leirfjord Municipality was later separated from Stamnes).

During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1965, several major municipal changes took place. First, the Husvær island area of Alstahaug (population: 461) was transferred from Alstahaug to Herøy Municipality. On the same day, the following areas were merged to form the new, larger municipality of Alstahaug:

  • most of the municipality of Tjøtta, except the Skogsholmen area (population: 1,477)
  • the municipality of Sandnessjøen (population: 3,856)
  • the municipality of Alstahaug (population: 970)

On 1 January 1971, the Skålvær islands (population: 32) were transferred from Vega Municipality to Alstahaug. On 1 January 1995, the mainland areas of Alstahaug (population: 70) were transferred to Vefsn Municipality.[4]


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the old Alstahaug farm (Old Norse: Alastarhaugr), since the first Alstahaug Church was built there; the first element is the genitive case of the name of the island Alöst (now Alsta) and the last element is haugr which means "hill" or "mound".[5]

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat of arms was granted on 8 August 1986; the arms show the Seven Sisters (Norwegian: De syv søstre), a row of mountains in the area, mirrored in the clear waters of the fjord.[6]

The medieval Alstahaug Church


The Church of Norway has three parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Alstahaug, it is part of the Nord-Helgeland prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Sør-Hålogaland.

Churches in Alstahaug
Parish (sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Alstahaug Alstahaug Church Alstahaug 12th century
Sandnessjøen Sandnessjøen Church Sandnessjøen 1882
Tjøtta Skålvær Church Skålvær 1851
Tjøtta Church Tjøtta 1867


At Alstahaug, on the southern end of the island of Alsta, lies the medieval Alstahaug Church, where the poet and minister Petter Dass worked around 1700. Tjøtta, an island south of Alsta, is the place where the famous Viking Hårek resided in the 11th century.



Lying just south of the Arctic Circle in an area that is known as Outer Helgeland, Alstahaug offers the visiting bird watcher a chance to do some birding in spectacular scenery, be it coastal or inland where The Seven Sisters mountain chain marks the boundary between the habitats. One of the better areas to birdwatch is Tjøtta. Here you will find the small nature reserve Ostjønna.

The Seven Sisters Mountains in Alstahaug


Alstahaug is a municipality consisting entirely of islands. Most residents live on the main islands of Alsta and Tjøtta, and Alstahaug stretches from the Skålvær island group in the west, to the Vefsnfjorden in the east, and to Mindlandet island to the south; the municipalities of Leirfjord, Vefsn, and Vevelstad lie to the east and Dønna, Herøy, and Vega lie to the north, west, and south, respectively.


Alstahaug has an oceanic climate. February is often the coldest month, and August is often the warmest. October is almost as warm as May; the mean annual precipitation is 1,510 millimetres (59 in) at Sandnessjøen and 1,020 millimetres (40 in) at Tjøtta. The wettest period is from September to January with approximately 150 millimetres (5.9 in) each month, while in May and June it averages 60 to 70 millimetres (2.4 to 2.8 in) each month.[7]

Climate data for Sandnessjøen (10 last years)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 2
Average low °C (°F) 0
Source: [8]


All municipalities in Norway, including Alstahaug, 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.[9] The municipality falls under the Alstahaug District Court and the Hålogaland Court of Appeal.

Municipal council[edit]

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Alstahaug is made up of 27 representatives that are elected to four year terms. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[10]

Alstahaug Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party Name Name in Norwegian Number of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet11
 Progress PartyFremskrittspartiet2
 Conservative PartyHøyre4
 Red PartyRødt2
 Centre PartySenterpartiet5
 Socialist Left PartySosialistisk Venstreparti1
 Liberal PartyVenstre2
Total number of members:27


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  2. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2018). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  3. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå. "09280: Area of land and fresh water (km²) (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  4. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  5. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nordlands amt (in Norwegian) (16 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 89.
  6. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  7. ^ Alstahaug climate statistics Archived 15 July 2012 at
  8. ^ "Sandnessjøen average conditions; base period 10 last years". Storm Weather Center. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
  9. ^ Hansen, Tore, ed. (12 May 2016). "kommunestyre". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.

External links[edit]