Finnmark County Norway

Finnmark County is one out of 19 countys in Norway, covers a area of 48.637 km2 and have a population of approximately 75,605. Each County is divided into different municipality. Principal industries: Fishing, reindeer herding, mining and service industries. The lLongest river is Pasvikdva 380 km and the deepest fjord: Porsangerfjord 120 km.. The llargest inland lake: Jiesjavri 68 km2 and the largest island: Sørøya 815 km2..

Finnmark is the northern most county where Norway swings eastwards; wide, deep fjords and open plains characterise the landscape. It is larger than Denmark in area, but the least populated county in Norway.

Regardless of the time of year you visit – with the mystical Midnight sun, a spectacular thunderstorm or the magical Northern Lights. The polar night occurs when the night lasts for more than 24 hours. This occurs only inside the polar circles.

The majority of people live along the coast and by the fjords. This also applies to the Lapp population, which most people associate with reindeer herding and the plains.

The 3 major towns, Hammerfest, Vadsø and Vardø, are all situated along the coast. Vadsø is the county´s administrative centre. Prosperity through the ages has swung with development in fisheries. Finnmark has been, and is, totally dependent on the sea´s resources. After a series of lean years, cod stocks are on the to increase, and optimism has returned to the industry. Not everyone is aware of this, but Finnmark is Norway´s largest mining county.

Kirkenes, with Russia as its nearest neighbour in the East, developed around A/S Sydvaranger´s iron ore mines. Quartz is extracted at Tana and Alta slate is sold on the international market. The county also has quantities of gold and copper.

Finnmark is the principal county of the Lapp population. The Karasjok and Kautokeino communities are centres for the Lapp institutions.

The Sameting (the Lapp Parliament) is situated at Karasjok, while Kautokeino is the centre for Lapp research and education. Reindeer herding in many ways is the backbone of the Lapp culture. 60.000 animals are slaughtered every year. The Lapps have often been exploited in marketing Norway abroad, so tourism is also a growth industry in the county. The unique nature and proximity to the Arctic Ocean attracts an ever increasing number of tourists northwards. People travel here from far and wide to fish salmon in the Alta and Tana Rivers.


For many, North Cape is a major tourist centre; you cannot travel any farther north by car than the North Cape. The climate and the vast distances can present problems. Finnmark winters are stormy, perpetually dark and cold. Temperatures can reach as low as minus 40°C on the plains. But nature´s disadvantages have also provided gains. People from Finnmark are foremost in the world when it comes to exploiting telecommunications. Consultations with medical specialists by TV, video conferences for industry and remote education classes connected by one TV network have eased communication problems. More information


Finnkirka is one of the world´s most beautiful mountain cliff´s, formed like a church it stands on the seaward approach to Kjøllefjord. Legend has it that it used to be a Sami place of sacrifice. More information


Rock carvings and other archaeological finds prove that Finnmark was settled in prehistoric times. Some of the oldest remains are estimated to be 10,000 years old. For many years, Finnmark was an outback. However, at the same time it was a meeting place for different cultures, such as Norwegian, Lapp, Finnish and Russian.

Following the opening of the border with Russia, Finnmark has again become a cross-roads. The county is a centre in the Barents Region, and there is growing co operation between Russia and Finnmark in areas of culture, politics and commerce.

The Lapps are indigenous to the region and represent an ethnic minority. Lapland (Sápmi) extends beyond Norway´s border. The Lapps live in Finland, Russia, Sweden and Norway. They are traditionally hunters and fishermen. Reindeer herding is fundamental to the Lapp culture and society. But Lapps follow a whole range of professions. Reindeer herders represent only a small proportion of the Lapp population. In recent years, the development of reindeer herding has led to problems for the industry. In West Finnmark, large tracts of land have been over-grazed because of too many reindeer. The industry has to be rationalised. There is an active Lapp element in the Tysfjord area in Nordland. Southern Lapps live mainly in Nordland and North Trøndelag.


Reindeer herding is also important there. While the grazing areas in the north are currently over-grazed by too many animals, they appear to have found a better balance farther south. Treatment of the Lapp minority through the ages has not always been fair, but during the last few decades, there has been an increased under standing of the importance of protecting and developing the Lapp culture. The Cultural Heritage Act of 1978 provides automatic protection to Lapp monuments, which are more than 100 years old. The Laplanders´ Act of 1987 provides rules for the Sameting and on use of the Lapp language. Today, the Lapps represent an important part of the cultural diversity in the region. To the rest of the world, the Lapp reindeer herders in their colourful dress will continue to stand as a symbol of their culture – a culture which in recent years has promoted its own distinctive character and cultural heritage.