Tysfjord kommune
Divtasvuona suohkan

Coat of arms

Nordland within

Tysfjord within Nordland
Coordinates: 68°3′51″N 16°28′50″E / 68.06417°N 16.48056°E / 68.06417; 16.48056Coordinates: 68°3′51″N 16°28′50″E / 68.06417°N 16.48056°E / 68.06417; 16.48056
Country Norway
County Nordland
District Ofoten
Administrative centre Kjøpsvik
  Mayor (2011) Tor Asgeir Johansen (Ap)
  Total 1,464.03 km2 (565.27 sq mi)
  Land 1,359.89 km2 (525.06 sq mi)
  Water 104.14 km2 (40.21 sq mi)
Area rank 56 in Norway
Population (2012)
  Total 1,956
  Rank 326 in Norway
  Density 1.4/km2 (4/sq mi)
  Change (10 years) -14.3 %
Demonym(s) Tysfjerding[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1850
Official language form Neutral and Lule Sami
Website www.tysfjord.kommune.no
Data from Statistics Norway

Tysfjord (Norwegian) or Divtasvuodna (Lule Sami) is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional district of Ofoten. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Kjøpsvik. Other villages include Drag, Hundholmen, Korsnes, Musken, Rørvika, Skarberget, and Storå.

Tysfjord has a very large population of Lule Sami people. The Árran Lule Sami Center is located in the village of Drag. With the Norwegian language and Lule Sami language both as official languages of the municipality, Tysfjord is the only municipality in Norway where speakers of Lule Sami should theoretically be able to speak that language with officials, although this has not come completely to fruition.

General information

Stetind mountain and the fjord

The municipality of Tysfjord was established on 1 January 1869 when it was separated from the municipality of Lødingen. Initially, the population of Tysfjord was 1,402. On 1 January 1964, the Tysnes and Molvik village areas (population: 33) was transferred from Hamarøy to Tysfjord.[2]


The municipality is named after the Tysfjorden (the fjord that the municipality surrounds). Tysfjord is a Norwegianized form of the Lule Sami name Divtasvuodna (first recorded around 1520 as "Tyttisfiorden"). The meaning of the first element divtas is unknown. (A popular belief, and common interpretation, is that the first element should be the genitive case of the name of the Norse god Týr - but this does not fit either with the Sami form or the oldest spellings of the name.) The last element is vuodna which means "fjord" in the Sami language.[3]


The coat-of-arms is from modern times; they were granted on 31 July 1987. The arms show a black lobster on a silver background. The lobsters in Tysfjord are the most northerly in the world.[4]


The Church of Norway has three parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Tysfjord. It is part of the Ofoten deanery in the Diocese of Sør-Hålogaland.

Churches in Tysfjord
Church NameLocation
of the Church
Year Built
Drag/HellandDrag/Helland ChurchDrag1972
KjøpsvikKjøpsvik ChurchKjøpsvik1975
KorsnesKorsnes ChurchKorsnes1889


There are prehistoric rock carvings at Leiknes showing scenes of hunting, and the world's oldest known depiction of an orca whale.

In 1948, an investigation that had lasted for years, was dismissed in regards to "a large group of Sami from Tysfjord".[5] These individuals had worked as guides—guiding Norwegians who chose to flee into Sweden.[5]


A 2004 article in Avisa Nordland estimated that out of 2209 inhabitant, between 600 and 1000 are Sami.[6]


All municipalities in Norway, including Tysfjord, 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 Tysfjord is made up of 17 representatives that are elected to every four years. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[7]

Tysfjord Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party NameName in NorwegianNumber of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet5
 Centre PartySenterpartiet2
 Socialist Left PartySosialistisk Venstreparti1
 Local ListsLokale lister9
Total number of members:17


Due to the limestone in Tysfjord, a cement factory was established with production starting in 1920.[8] The modern Norcem factory still is a vital employer in Kjøpsvik, with about 130 employees; since 1999 it has been a part of the German worldwide company Heidelberger Cement. Public services, some tourism, and agriculture are the other main sources of income in Tysfjord.


Tysfjord municipality map

The municipality is located along the Tysfjorden. The Tysfjorden is the second deepest fjord in Norway, with a maximum depth of 897 metres (2,943 ft). The municipality borders Ballangen in the north, Hamarøy in the south, Sweden in the east, and the Vestfjorden in the northwest. The island of Hulløya lies in the middle of the Tysfjorden.

The municipality is dominated by grey granite mountains; pine, birch, and aspen woodlands and forests; and the many fjord branches. Tysfjord's most dominant mountain, Stetind, is famous in Norway. This 1,392-metre (4,567 ft) high natural granite obelisk, rising straight out of the fjord, is an awe-inspiring sight (Picture 1, Picture 2). In Norwegian, it is called gudenes ambolt which means the "anvil of the gods", partly because the summit forms a plateau. This was selected to be the national mountain of Norway in the autumn of 2002. The famous British climber William C. Slingsby described it as the ugliest mountain I ever saw; he did not reach the summit.

The mountains near the border with Sweden have peaks up to 1,500 metres (4,921 ft) above sea level, and with a large glacier, Gihtsejiegŋa. There are several nature reserves in Tysfjord. Mannfjordbotn reserve has undisturbed forests at the head of a narrow fjord branch surrounded by granite mountain walls.[9] From Hellemobotn, at the head of Hellemofjorden, the distance to the border with Sweden is only 6.3 kilometres (4 mi); this is also a scenic hiking terrain (Picture) with a canyon opening up in Hellemobotn (Picture). There are also caves, such as the very deep Raggejavreraige. Lakes in the region include Baugevatnet, Båvrojávrre, Kilvatnet, Langvatnet, and Skilvatnet. Silver birch occurs in Tysfjord, as one of few areas in North Norway (silver birch need more summer warmth than the more common downy birch).


Orca taking a look above the water

For many years since 1990, a large part of the stock of Norwegian herring has stayed in the fjord in winter, one of the largest gatherings of biomass in the world. Large number of whales, orcas in particular, have followed to feed on the herring. This has attracted winter tourists from far away, but not in huge numbers. Since 2008, less herring and fewer orca have arrived in Tysfjord. Harbor porpoises, lobsters, sea eagles, ravens, otters, and moose are all common in the Tysfjord area.

Rugged fjord scenery in Tysfjord

The coastal municipality of Tysfjord is better known for its whale watching than its birdwatching but the region has still a lot to offer. Thanks to a range of habitats the area has a varied birdlife. Though the area has no large seabird colonies, there is a small nature reserve at Ramnholmen with breeding populations of Arctic tern and common tern.


The climate is surprisingly temperate considering the location north of the Arctic Circle. Mean annual temperature in Kjøpsvik is 4.2 °C (40 °F) and mean annual precipitation is 1,080 millimetres (42.5 in). Summer is usually pleasant, although there might be persistent rain. Average monthly 24-hr temperature in June, July, and August is 10.9 °C (52 °F), 13.3 °C (56 °F), and 12.5 °C (55 °F), with average daily high about 16 °C (61 °F).

The average temperatures are below freezing for slightly more than 4 months, statistically from November 17 to March 30, with January average of −2.7 °C (27 °F). October is the wettest month with on average 154 millimetres (6.1 in) precipitation, May is the driest with 54 millimetres (2.1 in).[10]

The midnight sun can be seen from the end of May to mid-July, and the sun is below the horizon from the beginning of December to mid-January. The aurora borealis is commonly seen in winter and late autumn.


Bognes ferry harbour, southwestern shore of Tysfjord
The car ferry connecting Bognes with Lødingen to the north.

Tysfjord is the only location in Norway where the European route E06 highway depends on a car ferry. There are ferry connections from Bognes to Skarberget (route E6) and from Bognes to Lødingen (connecting to route European route E10 and Lofoten). There is also a ferry connecting Drag south of the fjord with Kjøpsvik on the northern shore.

Kjøpsvik is connected to the E6 highway and Narvik by Norwegian National Road 827, with no ferry crossings. This might be an alternative to route E6, and is also the route of choice to get close to Stetind.

If Tysfjord experiences bad weather and the ferry connections are shut down, Norway is cut in two road-wise. A road connection is still maintained, albeit through Sweden, which makes it a very long drive.

The closest airport is Evenes. There is also a small airport in Narvik.


Villages in Tysfjord
(names in both official languages)
Lule SamiNorwegian


  1. "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  2. Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  3. Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nordlands amt (in Norwegian) (16 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 275.
  4. "Fakta om Tysfjord" (in Norwegian). Tysfjord kommune. Retrieved 2008-11-29.
  5. 1 2 [Samiske grenseloser reddet tusenvis. - Så ble de beskyldt for landssvik - Nå får de oppmerksomhet og heder.] [Sami guides saved thousands. - Then they were accused of treason - Now they get attention and are lauded]
  6. Samisk Fadervår for sterk kost for nordmenn [The prayer, Our Father—in Sami—is too upsetting for Norwegians]
  7. "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2015.
  8. "Norcem - Månedens Bedrift" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-11-29.
  9. "Mannfjordbotn naturreservat" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-11-29.
  10. "Tysfjord i perioden 1961-1990" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-11-29.
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