A friend along the way
A friend along the way
Light from the lighthouses along the coast is the sailors' best friend. They flash gently on bright summer nights, and their life-saving rays of light cut through pitch-black, stormy winter nights.
Along the more than 100,000 kilometres of Norwegian coast, there are over 2,000 lighthouses and, at most, there have been over 150 lighthouse stations in operation. The first lighthouse was built in 1655, and people lived and worked in the lighthouses until 2006 when the last lighthouse was automated.
Norwegian lighthouses are the story of
- Love. Between the governess at the lighthouse and the lighthouse assistant.
- Family. Wives and children who lived with their husbands who worked at the lighthouse.
- Class divisions. The children of the lighthouse keeper and the children of the lighthouse assistant who were not allowed to play together even though there were no other playmates in the isolated place.
- Formation of the state. Community solutions and people who were employed by the state. Technology. From coal-fired iron boilers to automated stations.
- Meteorology. Collection of rainfall, wind speed and wave height data.
- Wind. Pets that were blown out to sea and children who were tied up when they played outside in the storm.
- Waves. Monster waves that washed over both islets and skerries shattering the windows of the lighthouse buildings.
- Isolation. There would be weeks between having contact with people other than those on the island. Even in more recent times, post was only delivered every 14 days. When the bundle of newspapers came, they would read one for each day and were two weeks behind the rest of society
- Architecture. Distinctive buildings on desolate sites.
- Safety. Fishermen and sailors who were rescued because the light showed the way.
Ten Norwegian lighthouses - from south to north
Norway's westernmost island, therefore Norway's westernmost lighthouse also. The cast iron lighthouse is 31 metres tall and is surrounded by various buildings. Utvær Lighthouse can also be seen on the Norwegian 50-kroner banknote.
The lighthouse lies on the approach to Florø where the lighthouse and the boathouse are squeezed onto the small islet, and the lighthouse keeper's house and lantern room are within the same building. This was not the place to be a lighthouse keeper if you loved going for long walks.
Grasøyane Lighthouse can be seen on the way to Ålesund. This is one of the places where the lighthouse keepers lived with their families. Someone who grew up said that it was a paradise for children. The lighthouse is located in a nature reserve, where a pair of eagles has now built a nest high at the top of the lighthouse.
Bjørnsund Lighthouse is located on islets and skerries as part of what was a vibrant fishing community. This lighthouse is a lantern room on the corner of the lighthouse keeper's house. Private houses in Bjørnsund and the lighthouse are now popular holiday homes.
Norway's tallest lighthouse can be found on an island north of Kristiansund. The cast iron tower is 45 metres tall. The lighthouse is located on a windswept, rocky islet where heavy seas can take their toll, so the buildings are surrounded by a circular concrete wall that offers protection from the weather.
A lighthouse and skerry all in one. To make room for the quay, it had to be extended into the sea. The red, octagonal-shaped tower that is about twenty metres tall and welcomes and bids farewell to sailors at the entrance to Trondheim Fjord.
Anda Lighthouse is in Vesterålen and is the last of the more than 200 manned lighthouses that were built in Norway. It was built in 1932. The lighthouse tower forms part of the lighthouse keeper's house. The lighthouse is located at the top of a small island that is a protected nature reserve and an important nesting area for puffins.
The world's northernmost lighthouse station and the most windswept lighthouse in Norway can be found outside Havøysund. It is the oldest lighthouse in Finnmark and was built in the 1860s to help the timber trade to and from Arkhangelsk in Russia.
Vardø Lighthouse sits at the top of Norway's easternmost island. It is a good example of a family lighthouse with several houses, outbuildings and machine houses clustered together. In this very small community, the women even had a sewing association.
As we approach Kirkenes, you will see what was the last manned lighthouse in Norway. It was automated in 2006. The lighthouse itself was designed by architects and is a well-proportioned brick building with the lantern room almost like a dome on the roof.
Go on a lighthouse hunt along the coast
Bergen → Kirkenes → Bergen
All 34 ports
- Northern lights or midnight sun
- The Arctic Circle
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