The Lofoten islands

Date of Submission: 07/10/2002
Criteria: (iii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Category: Mixed
Submitted by:
Ministry of the Environment Directorate for Nature Management
State, Province or Region:
Municipalities of Røst, Værøy, Moskenes, Flakstad and Vestvågøy in the county of Nordland
Ref.: 1751

The Secretariat of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Heritage Centre do not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information or documentation provided by the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention to the Secretariat of UNESCO or to the World Heritage Centre.

The publication of any such advice, opinion, statement or other information documentation on the World Heritage Centre’s website and/or on working documents also does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of UNESCO or of the World Heritage Centre concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.

Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


The coast of Nordland is topographically and biologically varied with islands with precipitous birdcliffs fringed by a narrow strandflat, sand dunes and bouldery beaches. North of the Polar Circle the Lofoten islands stretches about 250 km S-SW, from the fjord of Ofoten to the outer Roest islands. The line of islands builds a up to 1100 m high wall of mountains and cliffs on the north side of the Vestfjord.

Geologically the area belongs to the Lofoten Eruptive Province and consists chiefly of Precambrian rocks. Rocky shores are the principal type of shore in this region. The Moskenes stream between the outer Lofoten islands is a powerful and dangerous maelstrom. Since pre-viking time the Lofoten islands have been and still are the centre for the Norwegian cod-fisheries. The export to Europe over Bergen was established early in the Middle Age. The region has unique qualities associated with its marine resources, geology, plant and animal life, cultural monuments and exiting scenary. The birdcliffs on Røst and Værøy are among the largest in the Nordic countries and have earned an international reputation. The area was settled very early, contains many unique cultural monuments.