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Jølster kommune
View of the river Jølstra
View of the river Jølstra
Official logo of Jølster kommune
Sogn og Fjordane within
Jølster within Sogn og Fjordane
Jølster within Sogn og Fjordane
Coordinates: 61°32′30″N 06°24′32″E / 61.54167°N 6.40889°E / 61.54167; 6.40889Coordinates: 61°32′30″N 06°24′32″E / 61.54167°N 6.40889°E / 61.54167; 6.40889
CountySogn og Fjordane
Established1 Jan 1838
Administrative centreSkei
 • Mayor (2011)Oddmund Klakegg (Sp)
 • Total670.87 km2 (259.02 sq mi)
 • Land619.61 km2 (239.23 sq mi)
 • Water51.26 km2 (19.79 sq mi)  7.6%
Area rank168 in Norway
 • Total3,047
 • Rank260 in Norway
 • Density4.9/km2 (13/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Demonym(s)Jølstring [1]
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-1431
Official language formNynorsk [2]

Jølster is a municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Sunnfjord. The administrative centre is the village of Skei. Other villages in the municipality include Helgheim, Ålhus, Vassenden, and Langhaugane.

Jølster lies at the centre of Sogn og Fjordane county and is known for its rich cultural traditions in home crafts, folk music, song, dancing, and creative arts. Agriculture is the largest industry in the municipality. The principal attraction in Jølster is the scenery, with easy access to the glaciers Grovabreen, Jostedalsbreen, and Myklebustbreen. Jølster is home to part of the largest glacier of continental Europe, the Jostedalsbreen as well as a clear green lake named Jølstravatnet. The trout caught in Jølstravatn are renowned throughout Norway and beyond.

The 671-square-kilometre (259 sq mi) municipality is the 168th largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Jølster is the 260th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 3,047. The municipality's population density is 4.9 inhabitants per square kilometre (13/sq mi) and its population has increased by 3.3% over the last decade.[3][4]

In 2016, the chief of police for Vestlandet formally suggested a reconfiguration of police districts and stations. He proposed that the police station in Jølster be closed.[5]

General information[edit]

Helgheim Church in Jølster

The parish of Jølster was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt law). The original municipality was identical to the Jølster parish (prestegjeld) with the sub-parishes (sokn) of Ålhus and Helgheim.[6] During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1964, the farm area of Førde in the neighboring municipality of Breim (population: 38) was transferred to Jølster municipality.[7]

On 1 January 2020, the neighboring municipalities of Jølster, Førde, Naustdal, and Gaular are scheduled to merge into Sunnfjord Municipality.[8]


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the Jølstra River, which runs through the lower parts of the municipality. The name (Old Norse: Jólmstr) is a word for the noise and rumble of the river.[9]

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat of arms were granted on 22 July 1983. The arms are derived from the arms of Audun Hugleiksson from Hegranes in the present municipality, who died in 1302. He was a Middle Ages nobleman who lived in Jølster and built Audunborg, one of only two private stone castles in Norway. On his seals, he used a shield with a rose, surrounded with a bordure of fleur-de-lis. The arms of Jølster are derived from this bordure. The symbol is gold on a red background.[10]


The Church of Norway has two parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Jølster. It is part of the Sunnfjord prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.

Churches in Jølster
Parish (sokn) Church name Location of the church Year built
Helgheim Helgheim Church Helgheim 1877
Ålhus Vassenden Church Vassenden 2002
Ålhus Church Ålhus 1795


All municipalities in Norway, including Jølster, 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.[11] The municipality falls under the Sogn og Fjordane District Court and the Gulating Court of Appeal.

Municipal council[edit]

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Jølster is made up of 25 representatives that are elected to four year terms. The party breakdown of the final municipal council was as follows:

Jølster Kommunestyre 2016–2019 [12]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)4
 Conservative Party (Høgre)3
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristeleg Folkeparti)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)12
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)2
 Liberal Party (Venstre)3
Total number of members:25
Jølster Kommunestyre 2012–2015 [13]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)5
 Progress Party (Framstegspartiet)1
 Conservative Party (Høgre)3
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristeleg Folkeparti)2
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)8
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)2
 Liberal Party (Venstre)4
Total number of members:25


The mayor (ordførar) of a municipality in Norway is a representative of the majority party of the municipal council who is elected to lead the council. Oddmund Klakegg of the Centre Party was elected mayor for the 2011-2015 term.[14] He was re-elected for the 2015-2019 term as well.


View from Eikåsnipa towards Jølstravatnet.

The Jølstravatnet lake splits the municipality in half, which creates a centre of population at each end of the lake: Skei in the eastern end of the lake and Vassenden (English: the water-end) in the western part, where the river Jølstra starts. A small end of the lake Breimsvatnet crosses over into the municipality of Jølster.

Jølster is bordered to the north by the municipalities of Stryn and Gloppen, to the east by Luster, to the southeast by Sogndal, and to the south and west by Førde. The Jostedalsbreen National Park lies partially in this municipality.


Tourism is one of the largest industries in Jølster, and there are hotels, campsites, and a number of tourist facilities in each centre of the municipality. In addition to tourism, agriculture and construction are the other most important industries.


View from Snønipa to the north
Painting by Nikolai Astrup


Astruptunet was the home of the painter Nikolai Astrup (1880–1928) for the last fourteen years of his life. The Astrup Farm (Astruptunet) was the artist's home and small farm, but today it is a museum and art gallery, kept as it was in Astrup's days, nestled among the steep but fertile slopes on the south side of Jølstravatn. The barn was torn down and rebuilt as a gallery, but in the same style as the old barn. The gallery has permanent exhibitions of Astrup's work such as paintings, graphics, wood-engraving plates and sketches. Most of his scenes have been taken from Jølster and Nikolai Astrup has since remained one of the most Norwegian of our national artists.

Nikolai Astrup lived most of his life in Jølster. Astrup often is regarded as the artist of Western Norway, as he found virtually all of his motives in his home surroundings. He's considered the "most Norwegian" of all the national artists of Norway.[15]

Eikaas Gallery[edit]

Another Norwegian painter and graphic artist, Ludvig Eikaas, is closely connected to Jølster. The artist grew up in Jølster, but later moved to Oslo. He is among other things famous for his non-figurative art and portraits/self-portraits.

The Eikaas Gallery was originally an old dairy farm in Ålhus that was purchased by the municipality of Jølster and converted to a modern art gallery. The collection contains about 300 works of art by Ludvig Eikaas. Since the opening of the Eikaas Gallery in 1994, many tourists have stopped to enjoy the "humorous madness" and other varieties of the art of Ludvig Eikaas.[15]

Jølstra Museum[edit]

The Jølstra museum is a private village green with many original Jølstra buildings and a collection of around 3,000 artifacts. There are also exhibitions of paintings by Ludvig Eikaas and Oddvar Torsheim and of Jølster textiles.[15]

Jølster Alpine Ski Centre[edit]

Jølster can offer you several alternatives for skiing enthusiasts. Jølster alpine ski centre lies at Vassenden. Here you can enjoy yourself on the slopes or you can take the lift to the top and crosscountry ski through the valley. There are lighted ski trails in the villages of Årdal and Dvergsdalen. Jølster also has many wild and beautiful mountains for Telemark skiing enthusiasts.[15]

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  2. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian). Lovdata.no.
  3. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2018). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  4. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå. "09280: Area of land and fresh water (km²) (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  5. ^ Fjelltveit, Ingvild; Raunholm, Per Vidar (2016-12-20). "Foreslår å legge ned 17 lensmannskontor i Vest politidistrikt". NRK Hordaland (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  6. ^ Natvik, Oddvar (9 February 2005). "Some historical data on the 26 Kommunes". Archived from the original on 24 July 2011.
  7. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
  8. ^ "Ny kommune i Indre Sunnfjord" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  9. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1919). Norske gaardnavne: Nordre Bergenhus amt (in Norwegian) (12 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 308.
  10. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  11. ^ Hansen, Tore, ed. (2016-05-12). "kommunestyre". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  12. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
  13. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2011 - Sogn og Fjordane". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  14. ^ "Ordførar" (in Norwegian). Jølster kommune. 2011-11-11. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  15. ^ a b c d "Jølster Municipality in Norway". GoNorway.no. Retrieved 11 August 2008.

External links[edit]