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Title: Karmøy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of villages in Rogaland, List of former municipalities of Norway, Haugesund, Lighthouses in Norway, Western Norway
Collection: Islands of Rogaland, Karmøy, Municipalities of Rogaland
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Karmøy kommune
Coat of arms of Karmøy kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Karmøy kommune
Rogaland within
Karmøy within Rogaland
Karmøy within Rogaland
Country Norway
County Rogaland
District Haugaland
Administrative centre Kopervik
 • Mayor (2012) Aase Simonsen (H)
 • Total 229 km2 (88 sq mi)
 • Land 219 km2 (85 sq mi)
Area rank 313 in Norway
Population (2009)
 • Total 39,354
 • Rank 20 in Norway
 • Density 170/km2 (400/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 4.6 %
Demonym(s) Karmøybu
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-1149
Official language form Neutral
Website .no.kommune.karmoywww
Data from Statistics Norway

Karmøy is a municipality in Rogaland county, Norway. It is located southwest of the city of Haugesund in the traditional district of Haugaland.

Karmøy was created as a new municipality on 1 January 1965 after the merger of Kopervik (city), Skudeneshavn (city), Skudenes, Stangaland, Torvastad, Åkra, and most of Avaldsnes.


  • General information 1
    • Name 1.1
    • Coat-of-arms 1.2
  • History 2
  • Geography 3
  • Area attractions 4
  • Industry 5
  • International relations 6
    • Twin towns – Sister cities 6.1
  • Notable residents 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

General information


The Old Norse form of the name was Körmt. The name is probably derived from karmr which means "bargeboard" (here in the sense "the sheltering island"). The last element in the word, øy, means "island" and was added later.


The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted on 18 April 1975. The arms are a silver diamond and cross on a red background. The diamond symbolizes the name Karmøy since the island protects the mainland. The cross symbolizes the Church of Avaldsnes which was a royal chapel in the Middle Ages.[2]


There are several finds from the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. Large burial mounds, stone monuments, and many other ancient monuments are found on the island. Karmøy is the site of the Storhaug, Grønhaug and Flagghaugen burial mounds.[3] Karmøy was known for sailing in the old times. The eddic poem Grímnismál says that Thor, the weather god, wades the straits at Karmsund every morning on his way to Yggdrasil, the tree of life. The ocean outside Karmøy is dangerous, filled with underwater currents and rocks. Thus the ships were forced into the narrow Karmsund. Chieftains and kings controlled the ships passing up and down the coast and demanded taxes.

The Karmsund strait was also the source of the name of the kingdom, at the time when the first king of the unified Norway, Harald Fairhair, lived on Karmøy. (See History of Norway.)

Island pastures and St. Olav's church

Avaldsnes is located on the northeastern coast of the island. King Augvald who has given his name to this ancient site is mentioned in the Old Norse sagas as having his home here. Later the residence of Harald Fairhair and other kings are mentioned. There is also a medieval church, St. Olav's church of Avaldsnes, located on this coast.

Visnes in the northwest was once the site of an important copper mine. This mine was source of the copper used for the Statue of Liberty in New York City.[4]

In the 18th century, two girls from Uyea in Shetland rowed to Haaf Gruney to milk some of the cows grazing there. Unfortunately, their return was marred by a strong storm, and eventually they found their tiny boat blown to Karmøy. The Uyea girls ended up marrying Karmøy men, and their descendants still live there. The Dyrland family of Karmoy are believed to be the family that the two girls married into after they arrived on Karmoy. Sivert Dyrland was a member of the Norwegian government in the early 20th century.[5]

Karmsundbridge links Karmøy island to the mainland


Farm on Karmøy

The vast part of the district is the large island of Karmøy, but it also includes the peninsula between Karmsund and Førdesfjord and several small islands.

The natural and cultural landscape is highly heterogeneous, encompassing chalk-white sands, moorland and several piers around the island. The landscape in the north is mainly agricultural, while large parts of the inland south are heather moors. The island has many white, sandy beaches facing the North Sea, attracting surfers as one of the top spots for windsurfing in Norway.

Settlements are for the most part located along the coast. The three towns in Karmøy are all on the island, the administrative center Kopervik is on the east side, Åkrehamn is on the west side, while Skudeneshavn is on the southern tip. On the mainland part of Karmøy, Norheim is contiguous with Haugesund. To the south of Norheim is Vormedal while Kolnes is in the northeastern part of mainland Karmøy.

Haugesund Airport is also located on the island rather than in Haugesund proper. Karmøy is known for its industries, as well as for fishing. Among interested people Karmøy is also well known in Norway for the heather moors and the surfing beaches.

Area attractions

Salhus village
  • Skude Festival (Skudefestivalen) is an annual festival held during the first week of July in Skudeneshavn. It is the largest gathering of coastal culture in Western Norway with boats of all categories: vintage boats of all categories – old wooden boats, vintage boats, modern boats, sailing boats, tall ships. Craftsmen demonstrate handcrafts from olden days connected to sea and shipping. International and national artists entertain in the evenings. In 2004, Skudeneshavn was voted Norway's summer city by national TV viewers.[6]
  • Viking Farm (Vikinggarden) is part of the Nordvegen History Centre, located close to Avaldsnes. The building and use of the farm is an ongoing experimental archaeological research and interpretation programme. The farm includes reconstructed houses.[7]
  • Karmøy Museum of Fishing (Karmøy Fiskerimuseum), which opened in 1999, presents the history of fishing in the region of Karmøy from the 1950s up to the present day. In addition to the main exhibitions there are salt-water aquariums showing the most common types of fish in the area. The Karmøy Fishery Museum is housed in a new building with unique architecture.[8]
  • Mælandsgården Museum (Museet i Mælandsgården) is situated in the middle of the old, well preserved part of Skudeneshavn. A town model shows what old Skudeneshavn looked like in 1918.[9]
  • Rogaland Fish Museum (Rogaland Fiskerimuseum), located in an old herring salting factory in Åkrehamn, is fully restored to its former glory and housing new exhibitions about the history of this vibrant coastal community. This museum also richly depicts the contact enjoyed between Karmøy and North America.[10]
  • Visnes Mining Museum (Visnes Gruvemuseum) provides the history of the rather special mining community that in the 1800s had 3,000 inhabitants. Visnes supplied the copper for the Statue of Liberty in New York City.[11]
  • Ferkingstad, an area known for its archaeological finds, from the early Viking period to the late medieval era.


Powerlines crossing Karmsund

Norsk Hydro is a large aluminium smelter operator located at Karmøy. The power supply of this facility is done by three overhead powerlines, which cross Karmsund on 143.5 metres tall pylons. These pylons are the tallest electricity pylons in Norway.

Bauer-Nilsen design and produce high-pressure hydraulics located at Karmøy.

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Karmøy is twinned with:

Notable residents


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ (
  4. ^ (Vigsnes Copper Museum)Statue of Liberty
  5. ^
  6. ^ (Whatsonwhen Limited)Skudefestival
  7. ^ ( History Centre
  8. ^ (Haugesund & Haugalandet)Karmøy Fiskerimuseum
  9. ^ (Haugesund & Haugalandet)Museet i Mælandsgården
  10. ^ (Haugesund & Haugalandet)Åkrehamn Coast Museum
  11. ^ (Haugesund & Haugalandet)Visnes Mining Museum
  12. ^

External links

  • Municipal fact sheet from Statistics Norway
  • Rogaland travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Tourist information – from the municipality (English)
  • Karmøy Museum of Fishing
  • Mælandsgården
  • Karmøy Kulturopplevelser
  • Nordvegen History Center
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