Sunndal  is a municipality in the Nordmøre region located in the northeast part of Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. The administrative center of the municipality is the village of Sunndalsøra. Other villages include Gjøra, Grøa, Hoelsand, Jordalsgrenda, Romfo, Ålvund, Ålvundeidet, and Øksendalsøra. With an area of 1,713 square kilometres (661 sq mi), it is the largest municipality in Møre og Romsdal county. The important occupations in Sunndal include industry (with Hydro Aluminium Sunndal as the biggest employer), public services, retail, and farming.

Sunndal kommune
View of the Øksendal valley

Møre og Romsdal within
Sunndal within Møre og Romsdal
Coordinates: 62°36′46″N 08°38′03″E
CountyMøre og Romsdal
Established1 Jan 1838
Administrative centreSunndalsøra
  Mayor (2009)Ståle Refstie (Ap)
  Total1,713.44 km2 (661.56 sq mi)
  Land1,648.06 km2 (636.32 sq mi)
  Water65.38 km2 (25.24 sq mi)  3.8%
Area rank40 in Norway
  Rank148 in Norway
  Density4.3/km2 (11/sq mi)
  Change (10 years)
Demonym(s)Sunndaling [1]
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-1563
Official language formNeutral [2]

The 1,713-square-kilometre (661 sq mi) municipality is the 40th largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway and it is the largest in Møre og Romsdal county. Sunndal is the 148th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 7,119. The municipality's population density is 4.3 inhabitants per square kilometre (11/sq mi) and its population has decreased by 3.2% over the last decade.[3][4]

General information

The parish of Sunndal was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). In 1854, the northern part of the municipality (population: 1,291) was separated to form the new municipality of Øksendal. This left 2,188 residents in Sunndal. During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1960, the neighboring municipalities of Ålvundeid (population: 513) and Øksendal (population: 497) were merged with Sunndal (population: 5,851) to form a new, larger Sunndal municipality. Both Ålvundeid and Øksendal were historically part of the municipality before 1854. Then, on 1 January 1965, the Ålvund-Ålvundfjord area of the neighboring Stangvik Municipality (population: 508) was transferred to Sunndal.[5]


The Old Norse form of the name was Sunndalr. The first element is sunnr which means "southern" and the last element is dalr which means "valley" or "dale". Before 1870, the name was written Sunddalen (or Sunndalen); during the period from 1870–1917, it was spelled Sundalen; and since 1918, it has been spelled Sunndal.[6]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms was granted on 12 April 1983. The arms show a Norwegian wormwood (Artemisia norvegica) plant in white on a green background. This species has its main European distribution in Sunndal and Oppdal in the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park and in Trollheimen landscape protected area. Small populations also in Ryfylke, Scotland, and the Ural Mountains, with another subspecies in the mountains of Northern America. It can be found in abundance in many places in the mountains of Sunndal well above tree line.[7][8]


The Church of Norway has four parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Sunndal. It is part of the Indre Nordmøre prosti (deanery) in the Diocese of Møre.

Churches in Sunndal
Parish (sokn)Church nameLocation of the churchYear built
HovHov ChurchSunndalsøra1887
RomfoRomfo ChurchRomfo1821
Gjøra ChapelGjøra1935
ØksendalØksendal ChurchØksendalsøra1894
ÅlvundeidÅlvundeid ChurchÅlvundeidet1848


Sunndal is bordered on the west by Nesset Municipality and Tingvoll Municipality, on the north by Surnadal Municipality, on the east by Oppdal Municipality (in Trøndelag county) and on the south by Lesja Municipality (in Oppland county).

In the southern part of the municipality lies the Dovrefjell–Sunndalsfjella National Park, home to a plentiful amount of impressive muskox. In the northern part is the Trollheimen and Innerdalen landscape protection areas.

The municipality centers around the Sunndalsfjorden and the river Driva. There are also many towering mountains including: Trolla, Storskrymten, Vinnufjellet (with peaks Dronningkrona and Kongskrona), Innerdalstårnet, Salhøa, Såtbakkollen, Skarfjellet, and Vassnebba. The Vinnufossen and Svøufallet waterfalls both lie near the river Driva.


All municipalities in Norway, including Sunndal, 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 Nordmøre District Court and the Frostating Court of Appeal.

Municipal council

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Sunndal is made up of 27 representatives that are elected to four year terms. The party breakdown of the council is as follows:

Sunndal Kommunestyre 2020–2024 [10]  
Party Name (in Norwegian)Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)11
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)3
 Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne)1
 Conservative Party (Høyre)2
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)6
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)2
 Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Total number of members:27
Sunndal Kommunestyre 2016–2019 [11]  
Party Name (in Norwegian)Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)15
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)3
 Conservative Party (Høyre)1
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)4
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)2
 Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Total number of members:27
Sunndal Kommunestyre 2012–2015 [12]  
Party Name (in Norwegian)Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)16
 Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)3
 Conservative Party (Høyre)3
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)2
 Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)1
 Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Total number of members:27


  1. "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  2. "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian).
  3. Statistisk sentralbyrå (2018). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  4. Statistisk sentralbyrå. "09280: Area of land and fresh water (km²) (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  5. Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  6. Rygh, Oluf (1908). Norske gaardnavne: Romsdals amt (in Norwegian) (13 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 388.
  7. "Kommunevåpen Sunndal" (in Norwegian). Sunndal Kommune. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  8. "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  9. Hansen, Tore, ed. (2016-05-12). "kommunestyre". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  10. "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2019 - Møre og Romsdal" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  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 - Møre og Romsdal" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
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