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Sandefjord kommune
Sandefjord, Norwegia 04.JPG
Coat of arms of Sandefjord kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Sandefjord kommune
Vestfold within
Sandefjord within Vestfold
Sandefjord within Vestfold
Coordinates: 59°8′45″N 10°13′25″E / 59.14583°N 10.22361°E / 59.14583; 10.22361Coordinates: 59°8′45″N 10°13′25″E / 59.14583°N 10.22361°E / 59.14583; 10.22361
Country Norway
County Vestfold
Administrative centre Sandefjord
 • Mayor (2004) Bjørn Ole Gleditsch (H)
 • Total 121 km2 (47 sq mi)
 • Land 119 km2 (46 sq mi)
Area rank #370 in Norway
Population (2014)
 • Total 61,218
 • Rank #16th in Norway
 • Density 338.8/km2 (877/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 11.5%
Demonym(s) Sandefjording[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+01:00)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+02:00)
ISO 3166 code NO-0710
Official language form Bokmål
Data from Statistics Norway

About this sound Sandefjord  is a city and municipality in Vestfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Sandefjord, the municipality of Sandefjord was established on 1 January 1838. The municipality of Sandar was merged into the municipality of Sandefjord on 1 January 1968, on 1 January 2017, rural municipalities of Andebu and Stokke were merged into Sandefjord as part of a nationwide municipal reform.[2]

The city is known for its rich Viking history and the prosperous whaling industry, which made Sandefjord the richest city in Norway.[3] Today it has built up the third-largest merchant fleet in Norway,[4][5] it is home to Europe's only museum dedicated to whaling,[6][7][8] and is home to Gokstad Mound where the 9th century Gokstad Ship was discovered.

Sandefjord has numerous nicknames, including the Viking- or Whaling “Capital” of Norway,[9][10] it has also been dubbed the “Bathing City” (Badebyen) due to its many beaches and former resort spas.[11] It is still considered a resort town due to high numbers of visitors during summer months.[12]

Sandefjord has become a transportation hub, home of Torp International Airport, one of Norway’s largest airports.[13] Daily ferry connections to Sweden are provided by Fjord Line and Color Line from the city harbor. European Route E18 traverses the municipality.

Sandefjord is a stronghold for the Conservative Party;[14][15][16] the Conservative coalition received over 70 percent of votes cast in 2011. Current mayor is Bjørn Ole Gleditsch from the Conservative Party, who has been mayor since 2004.

General information[edit]


The name originally belonged to the fjord (now called the Sandefjordsfjord), the first element is the genitive case of the name of the parish and former municipality of Sandar.[17] The name Sandar derives from the Old Norse term “sandar”, which is the plural form of “sandr”, translating to 'stretch of sand' (sandstrekning).[18]


Coat-of-arms 1914-2017
Coat-of-arms 2017-

The coat-of-arms dates from modern times, having been granted on 9 May 1914, the Viking ship symbolizes the famous Gokstad ship, which was found in Sandefjord in 1880, one of the best preserved Vikings ships known. The whale symbolizes the fact that in the late 19th and early 20th century, Sandefjord was a main home port for whalers operating in the southern oceans.[19]

On 1 January 2017, Sandefjord received a new coat of arm after the merge with Andebu- and Stokke municipalities,[20] the arms has the title: Courage and Strength, and is created in black and gold. The arms was designed by Erik Raastad from Sandefjord, with minor modification by the heraldic expert Jan Eide from Oslo, the decision to get a new coat of arms was made by the merger committee in Andebu on the 24 May 2016.[21]


Viking history[edit]

The 9th century Gokstad Ship was discovered in Sandefjord.

Excavations indicate that people have inhabited Sandefjord for around 3,000 years. Rock carvings at Haugen farm in Jåberg are dated to 1,500-500 BCE,[22] the Vikings lived in Sandefjord and surrounding areas about 1,000 years ago, and numerous Viking artifacts and monuments can be found in Sandefjord.[23] One of the most important remains from the Viking age was found at the grave site Gokstadhaugen in Sandefjord, the Gokstad ship was excavated by Nicolay Nicolaysen and is now in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. The Viking, an exact replica of the Gokstad ship, crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Bergen to be exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago during 1893. A replica of Gokstad ship, called Gaia, currently has Sandefjord as home port.[22] Other known replicas include the Munin, (a half scale replica) located in Vancouver, Canada.

The Gokstad Ship, Norway’s largest preserved Viking ship, was discovered during an excavation at Gokstadhaugen in 1880, the Vikings first settled here due to its speedy route from Sandefjord and along the coast.[24] Viking settlements and grave sites dating to the 1400s have been discovered in Sandefjord.[25]

Sandefjord functioned as a seaport defined by the twin industries of shipping and shipbuilding throughout the 1600s and 1700s, it was formally recognized as a market town by King Oscar in 1845. Its population at the time was 749 residents.[24]

Health resort[edit]

Gaia Ship, replica of the Gokstad Ship.

The city became known as a world-renowned health resort destination between 1837-1939. Royalty and Prime Ministers from throughout Europe visited the town for its spas in the late 1800s,[26] the city gained its reputation as a health- and pleasure community when Sandefjord sulfur spa and resort was established in 1837. It was the first spa in town and functioned as a medical institution focusing on the treatment of symptoms for rheumatic diseases, the original bathhouse has been restored and is now a culture house by the city center.[24]

Around 50,000 people, mostly Norwegians, visited the bath from 1837 to 1939. Today the bath's building has been restored and now hosts cultural events and various activities.

Majority of spa visitors were from Norway, but international guests from Germany, Britain and the United States also visited the spas of Sandefjord.[22]

Whaling and ships[edit]

Whaler's Monument is made in style of a compass, and it rotates slowly.[27]
Christian Radich, full-rigged ship built in Sandefjord.

From 1850, a number of ships from Sandefjord were whaling and sealing in the Arctic Ocean and along the coast of Finnmark. The first whaling expedition from Sandefjord to the Antarctic Ocean was sent in 1905. Towards the end of the 1920s, Sandefjord had a fleet of 15 factory ships and more than 90 whalers; in 1954, more than 2,800 men from the district were hired as crew on the whalers, but from the mid-1950s whaling was gradually reduced. The number of southbound expeditions rapidly decreased during the 1960s, and the 1967/68 season became the last for Sandefjord, the shipping industry was gradually readjusted from whaling to other ship types during this period. The local Framnæs Mekaniske Værksted and Jotun Group Private Ltd. had major roles in this business.

Today, the memories of this important period of the city's history are kept alive at the Whaling Museum (Hvalfangstmuseet), this museum is the only museum in Europe specializing in whales and the history of whaling.[23][28] The history of the whalers can also be explored at the Museum's Wharf with a visit aboard the whale-catcher Southern Actor. Whaling is considered to be the industry which made Sandefjord the richest city in Norway.[3]

Sandefjord also has shipping traditions of tall sailing ships and steam ships, the full rigged sailing ship Christian Radich, three-masted barquentine Endurance, whale catcher Jason and Viking ship replica Viking were some of the many ships built by Framnæs Mekaniske Værksted.

Nils Larsen (1900-76) was a sea captain from Sandefjord, famous for his expeditions of Antarctica in the early 20th century. It was under his expeditions that Norway achieved annexation of Bouvet Island in 1927 and Peter I Island two years after. A cove on Antarctica’s Peter I Island is named Sandefjord Cove in honor of Larsen’s hometown.[29][30] Mount Nils Larsen in Queen Maud Land, Mount Nils in Enderby Land and Nils Larsen Glacier are examples of many geographical names given in honor of Nils Larsen.[31]

Town fires[edit]

Sandefjord has experienced numerous town fires, including a town fire in 1800 which led to the whole town burning down and subsequently having to be rebuilt.[32] An additional fire in 1900 destroyed 56 houses and caused major damage.[22]

Historical population[edit]

Postcard of Sandefjord, ca 1970.
  • 1801: 373[33]
  • 1825: 590[34]
  • 1845: 749
  • 1865: 1,796[33]
  • 1875: 2,484[33]
  • 1900: 5,180[33]
  • 1951: 6,717[35]
  • 1960: 6,984
  • 1970: 31,752 (Sandefjord and Sandar merged January 1, 1968)
  • 1980: 34,758
  • 1990: 35,888
  • 2000: 39,317
  • 2007: 41,909
  • 2008: 42,696
  • 2010: 43,126[36]
  • 2017: 61,218 (Sandefjord, Stokke and Andebu merged)[37]


The bridge to Natholmen.

Sandefjord is a seaside city[38] situated 74 miles south of Oslo, it is the largest city in Vestfold County. Its 93-mile long coastline has various beaches and sheltered coves, and several forests are also within city limits,[23] the two peninsulas called Østerøya ("East Island") and Vesterøya ("West Island") contribute to a total coastline of 146 kilometres (91 mi), and form the Sandefjordsfjord and Mefjord. The coastline offers a wide variety of sandy beaches, skerries, and islets (116 in total), along with bays and sloping rocks. Forested areas are often laced with paths and lighted for trails for summer hikes and winter skiing.[39] 124[40]-116 islands are within city limits. Small island bays give shelter for overnight campers, and many islets have relatively accessible beaches.[41]

Of Sandefjord's total area, 37.7 square kilometres (14.6 sq mi) is agricultural and 36.2 square kilometres (14.0 sq mi) is forest. Neighbouring towns are Tønsberg and Larvik.

The highest point in the municipality is Brånafjell at 398,9 moh. (1,308.7 ft.).[42]


The elementary school Byskolen in city centre.

Sandefjord has a good selection of restaurants and cafés. According to the renowned restaurant guide, Salt & Pepper, Sandefjord holds what is possibly Norway’s best gourmet restaurant which is located in a modern building near the harbour.[22] Also located at the harbour, is the fishmonger well known for the quality of its goods and delicacies. Sandefjord has a city centre, consisting of a mixture of old and modern buildings and a selection of shops.[43]

Whaler's Monument is located at the end of the city’s main street, Jernbanealléen, in the harbour area. Nearby is a restaurant called Kokeriet, one of the relatively few places where whale meat is regularly served,[44] the Train- and nearby bus stations are approximately 800 m. (0.5 mi.) up Jernbanealléen from the waterfront.[45]


Tangen Beach during summer.

The climate of all of Norway is extremely affected by the Gulf Stream, this means that the climate, the summers especially, are warmer than in other regions at the same latitude, i.e. the State of Alaska or Siberia.[46][47] Sandefjord experiences more sun than any other Norwegian city during summer months.[48]

Sandefjord has a relatively humid semi-arid continental climate with warm summers, no dry season, and relatively much precipitation year long, during the colder season, which is from the end of November until early March, there is a 56 percent average chance that precipitation will be observed during a given day. The likelihood of snow falling is highest in late January, and the season in which it is likely to snow fall spans from early November until early April, the coldest day of the year in Sandefjord is February 4, with an average low temperature of −6 °C (21 °F) and average high of only −1 °C (30 °F).[49]


Sandefjord Municipality consists of Sandefjord proper and an additional six villages:[40]

A small part of Sandefjord (the Himberg farm) is lying as an exclave inside the borders of the municipality of Larvik.

Politics and government[edit]

Sandefjord is a stronghold for the Conservative Party;[50] in the Norwegian local elections of 2011, 47,9% of voters voted for the Conservative Party. The right-wing parties received a total of 70.4% of the vote in Sandefjord, compared to 51.2% nationwide.[51][52] The current mayor, Bjørn Ole Gleditsch, was elected in 2004 with the support of the Progress Party. Gleditsch is the wealthiest mayor to ever be elected in Norway.[53][54]


Infrastructure of Sandefjord.

Sandefjord is the wealthiest city in Norway,[3][55] it is home to the international airport Torp Airport, paint producer Jotun, the brewery Grans Bryggeri, the chocolate factory Hval Sjokoladefabrikk, the engineering company Ramboll Oil & Gas, as well as three of Norway's largest online shops,,, and

The largest employer, besides the city itself, is Jotun, which was established in Sandefjord in 1926. Jotun is now one of the world’s largest manufacturers of paints and coating products,[56][57] as of February 2017, Jotun has a presence in over 100 countries and employed 9,500 employees world-wide. The Jotun Group operates four divisions, while its head office is located in Sandefjord.[22]

While Jotun by far is the largest company in Vestfold County, the second-biggest company is Komplett. A web shop operating in all of Scandinavia, Komplett had a 7.3 billion NOK revenue in 2015 and had 800 employees.[58]

Seaside homes at Åsnes by Sandefjordsfjord.

Sandefjord had Norway’s most expensive seaside vacation homes as of 2011, with an average price of 7.2 million crowns.[59] General property values in Sandefjord appreciated 25.7 percent between 2010-2015.[60]


Sandefjord is dubbed a resort town due to its many summer visitors.[61] Sandefjord is also nicknamed the “Bathing City” due to its many beaches, islands and minor archipelagos. Beaches such as Vøra and Langeby attract summer visitors from Oslo and other larger Norwegian cities.[62]

Sandefjord is home to over two thousand vacation homes, most of which are built along the seaside.[40] Sandefjord had Norway’s most expensive vacation homes as of 2012; the mean vacation home price was 7.1 million crowns in 2012.[63]


Sandefjord is home to Europe's only museum dedicated to whaling, which is located in the city center,[23] the museum was one of the first original museums in Norway when established in 1917. Today it boasts over 150,000 photographs as well as exhibits of marine animals, a restored whale catcher, and more.[28][64] A whale catcher named Southern Actor is docked at the harbor and is a part of the Maritime Museum, it is the only whale catcher from the Modern Whaling Epoch still to be in its original working order. It was constructed by Sevilla Whaling Co. in 1950, and brought to Sandefjord in 1989.[65][66]

Midtåsen Sculpture Park contains a collection of bronze- and marbleworks by sculptor Knut Steen, which is housed in a pine forest pavilion overlooking Sandefjord and its fjord.[67] The former estate of shipping magnate Anders Jahre is located at Midtåsen, and is now owned by the municipality. Guided tours of the villa are available.[68]

Hjertnes Civic and Theater Center is home to three auditoriums and an outdoor amphitheater. A movie theater, City Hall and library are found at Hjertnes. Concerts, opera and other cultural events also take place at Hjertnes Civic Center.[69]

Sandefjord has four churches remaining from the Middle Ages: Høyjord stave church, Kodal Church, Skjee Church, and Andebu Church. While Andebu Church has Norway’s oldest parish register (dated 1623), Høyjord stave church is the only stave church left in Vestfold County.[40] Sandar Church by Sandefjord Station was constructed atop of the ruins of a Middle Age church dated to the 13th century. The present church, however, was erected in 1792.[70]

The 9th century Gokstad Ship was discovered in Sandefjord during an 1880 excavation led by Nicolay Nicolaysen, the ship itself, which is now at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, was built around year 910. A Viking chieftain was buried at the Gokstad Mound (Gokstadhaugen), along with the 23.5-meter Gokstad Ship. Interpretive signs have been put up at the Gokstad Mound on Helgerødveien.[71][72]


Ferries connect Sandefjord to Sweden.[73][22]

The city is served by frequent intercity trains to Oslo and onwards to Oslo Airport, the local international airport Sandefjord Airport, Torp is located in the municipality. Despite being located 74 miles south of Oslo, Torp is sometimes called Oslo Airport Torp, it is reached with a free shuttle bus from Sandefjord Airport Station on Vestfoldbanen. Sandefjord Airport Torp is a budget airline hub for airlines such as Widerøe, Ryanair, and Wizz Air.[74] Torp offers direct routes to over 30 international- and domestic destinations destinations,[75] including daily flights to European cities such as London and Amsterdam.[56]

Color Line ferries Bohus and Color Viking connect the town to Strömstad in Sweden.[76] Fjord Line is another ferry service connecting Sandefjord and Sweden.[77] Neighboring town of Larvik is home to daily ferry operations between Norway and Hirtshals, Denmark.

European route E18 traverses the municipality.

Public transit[edit]

Only Bergen- and Oslo Airports have more international flights than Torp Airport.[78]

Sandefjord Station is the central train station and is served by NSB InterCity Express trains operated by Norwegian State Railways. The main bus station is also located by Sandefjord Station. Fast and frequent express buses from Sandefjord shuttle along E18, connecting to Kristiansand and linking key resorts in Southern Norway.[45] Trains and buses for Sandefjord leave Oslo Central Station (Oslo S) every 30 minutes, and the journey takes two hours,[79] the public transportation system in Sandefjord is known as Vestfold Kollektivtrafikk (VKT).[80]

Besides Sandefjord Station, additional railway stations include Sandefjord Airport Station and Stokke Station. Torp Express Bus Service operates buses from Sandefjord Airport to Oslo. There are free shuttle buses between Sandefjord Airport Station and Sandefjord Airport.[81]


Sandefjord Fotball at Storstadion.

The local football club, Sandefjord Fotball, plays in the Tippeligaen (Norwegian Premier League). Sandefjord handball won the men's Premier League in 2005-06. Other local sports clubs include IL Runar and Sandefjord TIF. Marius Bakken of this parish is successful as a middle distance runner.

Bugårds Park is home to the city’s largest sporting grounds and facilities, including areas for soccer, tennis, handball, badminton, archery, rollerskating, horseback-riding, water sports, ice hockey and ice skating, the park sits by Sandefjord High School and is also home to a walk path, duck pond and designated picnic areas. The swimming center with its 2,500 m2 public pool is also located in Bugårds Park. Indoor handball courts are housed in Jotunhallen, while tennis courts are found in Pingvinhallen.[69]

Sandefjord Golfbane is an 18-hole golf course located at Jåberg, 5 km (3.1 mi.) from the city center. It was designed by Peter Chamberlin.[82]

Points of interest[edit]

Whaler's Monument with Scandic Park Hotel seen on the left.
Sandar Church was erected in 1792.[83]

Notable points of interest include:[22][84]


View from Tønsberg Barrel at East Island's southernmost point.

There are 20 km (12.4 mi) of coastal hiking trails on Østerøya peninsula, including to its southern tip where Tønsberg Barrel is located. Tønsberg Barrel is an old beacon mentioned in Sverris saga, the 20 km coastal path at Østerøya (East Island) is an extension of the 25 km (15.5 mi) coastal path on Vesterøya (West Island).[87] These 45 kilometers (28 mi.) of hiking trails are part of the international North Sea Trail.[88] Additional hiking trails are found at Preståsen, Hjertnes Forest, Fjellvikåsen, Mokollen, Midtås, as well as the Culture Walk.[89] Sandefjord is home to ten cross-country skiing trails (loipes).[90]

Goksjø is a 3.47 km2 (2.15 mi2) lake on the border between Sandefjord, Larvik, and Andebu. It is the third-largest lake in Vestfold County.[91]

Beaches include Flautangen, Granholmen, Grubesand, Langeby, Skjellvika, Tangen, Vøra, Truber, and others.[92]

Nature preserves[edit]

Goksjø, 3.47 km2 lake.

Sandefjord is home to 16 nature preserves as of 2017:[40][93]

  • Dalaåsen (beech forest)
  • Flisefyr-Hidalen (forest)
  • Storås and Spirås (forest)
  • Veggermyra og Nordre Skarsholttjønn (marsh)
  • Langø and Bokemoa (protected landscape)
  • Robergvannet (wetland)
  • Melsom (plant- and wildlife preserve)
  • Napperødtjern (riparian forest)
  • Fokserød (beech forest)
  • Holtan (plant preserve)
  • Strandvika (riparian forest)
  • Hemskilen (wetland)
  • Vøra (geological area)
  • Akersvannet (marsh)

Notable residents[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1845 749 —    
1951 6,717 +796.8%
1960 6,984 +4.0%
1970 31,752 +354.6%
1980 34,758 +9.5%
1990 35,888 +3.3%
2000 39,317 +9.6%
2010 43,126 +9.7%
Sandefjord and Sandar were merged in 1970. Source: SSB

In popular culture[edit]

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) was directed by two Sandefjordians.


Wildlife includes the Mountain hare, European badger, European beaver, Roe deer, Moose, Red fox, European hedgehog, European pine marten, and Norway lemming. More rare but occasionally encountered are the Gray wolf, Eurasian lynx and Brown bear.

Wolves are extremely rare in Sandefjord, although they have been observed on numerous occasions.[105][106] A wolf shot in neighboring Lardal in 2013 was the first wolf killed in Vestfold County in over 100 years.[107]


See also[edit]


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External links[edit]