Hadsel (Northern Sami: Válafierda) is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional district of Vesterålen. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Stokmarknes. Other villages in Hadsel include Fiskebøl, Gjerstad, Grønning, Grytting, Hanøyvika, Hennes, Kaljord, Melbu, Sanden, and Sandnes.

Hadsel kommune
View of Stokmarknes during the winter

Nordland within
Hadsel within Nordland
Coordinates: 68°32′06″N 14°49′30″E
Established1 Jan 1838
Administrative centreStokmarknes
  Mayor (2015)Siv Dagny Aasvik (Ap)
  Total566.56 km2 (218.75 sq mi)
  Land551.67 km2 (213.00 sq mi)
  Water15.89 km2 (6.14 sq mi)  2.8%
Area rank191 in Norway
  Rank138 in Norway
  Density14.6/km2 (38/sq mi)
  Change (10 years)
Demonym(s)Hadselværing [1]
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-1866
Official language formBokmål [2]

The municipality is the southernmost municipality in the Vesterålen region. It is spread over several main islands: Hadseløya, Børøya, Hinnøya, Langøya, and Austvågøya. About 70% of the population live on Hadseløya island. Hadseløya island is connected to Langøya by the Hadsel Bridge and Børøy Bridge. Also, the Stokmarknes Airport, Skagen, is located nearby. It is the busiest small aircraft airport in Norway, serving 100,000 passengers annually (1997).

The 567-square-kilometre (219 sq mi) municipality is the 191st largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Hadsel is the 138th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 8,042. The municipality's population density is 14.6 inhabitants per square kilometre (38/sq mi) and its population has increased by 0.9% over the last decade.[3][4]

The municipality is surrounded by several other municipalities: Sortland lies to the north, to the west, Vågan to the south, and Lødingen to the east.


Hadsel was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The northern district of Hadsel was separated in 1841 to form the new Sortland Municipality. During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1963, the Indre Eidsfjord district of Hadsel (population: 1,360) was transferred to Sortland municipality.[5]


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the old Hadsel farm (Old Norse: Hǫfðasegl), since the first Hadsel Church was built there. The first element is the genitive case of hǫfði which means "high and steep cliff" and the last element is segl which means "sail". (A cliff near the farm has been compared in form to a sail.)[6]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms is from modern times; they were granted on 11 March 1976. The arms show four golden rings on a blue background. This design represents the four main islands of that make up Hadsel: Hadseløya, Austvågøya, Hinnøya, and Langøya.[7]


The Church of Norway has three parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Hadsel. It is part of the Vesterålen prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Sør-Hålogaland.

Churches in Hadsel
Parish (Sokn)Church NameLocation of the ChurchYear Built
HadselHadsel ChurchHadseløya1824
Innlandet ChurchHennes1992
MelbuMelbu ChurchMelbu1938
Sand ChurchSanden1914
Ytre EidsfjordGrønning ChurchGrønning1968


The municipality is located upon four main islands in the Vesterålen archipelago: Hinnøya, Langøya, Hadseløya, and Austvågøya, plus the small islands of Børøya and Brottøya. The mountain Higravstinden on the border with Vågan is one of the tallest mountains in the region.


Climate data for Melbu, Hadsel
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) −1.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 110
Source: Norwegian Meteorological Institute[8]


All municipalities in Norway, including Hadsel, 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.[9] The municipality falls under the Vesterålen District Court and the Hålogaland Court of Appeal.

Municipal council

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

Hadsel Kommunestyre 2020–2024 [10]  
Party Name (in Norwegian)Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)4
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)1
 Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)1
 Conservative Party (Høyre)3
 Red Party (Rødt)2
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)6
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)1
 Liberal Party (Venstre)3
 Melbu Area Cooperative List (Melbu og omegn samarbeidsliste)4
Total number of members:25
Hadsel Kommunestyre 2016–2019 [11]  
Party Name (in Norwegian)Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)11
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)5
 Conservative Party (Høyre)2
 Red Party (Rødt)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)3
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)1
 Liberal Party (Venstre)1
 Melbu Area Cooperative List (Melbu og omegn samarbeidsliste)1
Total number of members:25
Hadsel Kommunestyre 2012–2015 [12]  
Party Name (in Norwegian)Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)5
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)9
 Conservative Party (Høyre)3
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)1
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)1
 Liberal Party (Venstre)1
 Hadsel Common List (Hadsel Fellesliste)3
 Melbu Area Cooperative List ()
Total number of members:25


  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 2018-12-26.
  4. Statistisk sentralbyrå. "09280: Area of land and fresh water (km²) (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  5. Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  6. Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nordlands amt (in Norwegian) (16 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 363.
  7. "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  8. "eKlima Web Portal". Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Archived from the original on 2004-06-14.
  9. Hansen, Tore, ed. (2016-05-12). "kommunestyre". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  10. "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2019 - Nordland". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 2019-10-27.
  11. "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
  12. "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2011 - Nordland". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 2019-10-27.
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