This article is about the municipality in Finnmark, Norway. For the village in that municipality, see Berlevåg (village).
Berlevåg kommune
Bearalvági gielda

Coat of arms

Finnmark within

Berlevåg within Finnmark
Coordinates: 70°51′29″N 29°5′6″E / 70.85806°N 29.08500°E / 70.85806; 29.08500Coordinates: 70°51′29″N 29°5′6″E / 70.85806°N 29.08500°E / 70.85806; 29.08500
Country Norway
County Finnmark
District Øst-Finnmark
Administrative centre Berlevåg
  Mayor (2011) Karsten Schanche (H)
  Total 1,120.48 km2 (432.62 sq mi)
  Land 1,082.43 km2 (417.93 sq mi)
  Water 38.05 km2 (14.69 sq mi)
Area rank 92 in Norway
Population (2014)
  Total 1,057 (Increase from last year)
  Rank 396 in Norway
  Density 0.94/km2 (2.4/sq mi)
  Change (10 years) -8.7 %
Demonym(s) Berlevåging[1]
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-2024
Official language form Bokmål
Data from Statistics Norway

 Berlevåg  (Northern Sami: Bearalváhki) is a municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Berlevåg.

There are two settlements in the municipality of Berlevåg: the village of Berlevåg and the village of Kongsfjord (with approximately 45 inhabitants). Almost all residents in the municipality live in the village of Berlevåg. Kjølnes Lighthouse is located along the shore, east of the village of Berlevåg.

General information

View of the village of Berlevåg

The municipality of Berlevåg was established on 1 January 1914 when it was separated from Tana Municipality. Initially, there were 784 residents. The borders have not changed since that time.[2]


There are different opinions of the origin of the name Berlevåg (or historically spelled Berlevaag). The first definition of the name is that it has relation to a name related to old Northern Sami language name that sounded like Berlevaggi or Perlavaggi. The second theory of the origin of the name is that from the name of the first settler or explorer at the bay whose name was Berle or Perle. The last theory of the given name Berlevåg which is less likely is the first element is derived from the Norwegian word perle which means "pearl" and the last element is våg which means "bay".[3][4]


The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted on 22 July 1988. The arms show a rayonny of five waves with yellow over blue. It is meant to symbolize the waves that break against the shore, which can represent both the struggle against the sea as well as the dependence on it.[5]


The Church of Norway has one parish (sokn) within the municipality of Berlevåg. It is part of the Varanger deanery in the Diocese of Nord-Hålogaland.

Churches in Berlevåg
Parish (Sokn)Church NameLocation of the ChurchYear Built
BerlevågBerlevåg ChurchBerlevåg1960


Berlevåg Airport is located just outside the village of Berlevåg. Norwegian County Road 890 runs through Berlevåg, connecting it to the neighboring municipalities, and the rest of Norway.

Facing rough ocean conditions, the four man-made breakwaters that protect the harbor of Berlevåg have been destroyed several times due to bad weather. The current breakwaters include tetrapods that intertwine and have made for a flexible breakwater that can resist the Barents Sea. The port was completely secured with breakwaters in 1973. Since then, the Coastal Ferry has been able to dock in Berlevåg. Prior to that time, a smaller vessel had to unload cargo and passengers from it in the open sea and then ferry them in to the port.


All municipalities in Norway, including Berlevåg, 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.

Municipal council

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Berlevåg is made up of 13 representatives that are elected to every four years. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[6]

Berlevåg Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party NameName in NorwegianNumber of
 Labour PartyArbeiderpartiet10
 Conservative PartyHøyre3
Total number of members:13


View of the Tanahorn mountain

The municipality is situated in the northwestern part of the Varanger Peninsula, facing the open Barents Sea to the north and the Tanafjorden to the west. It is an isolated and barren region with mostly rocks and tundra. There are no native trees in Berlevåg because of the cold and windy summers. The municipality also contains the lakes Geatnjajávri and Skonsvikvatnan.


Berlevåg's coastal location serves to moderate temperatures during winter, receiving heat from the Gulf stream. Temperatures during winter rarely pass below −15 °C (5 °F), while maximum temperatures during summer are usually around 13 °C (55 °F).


The sea and the islands along this part of Finnmark's coastline are home for thousands of seabirds. As well as the large seabird colonies with thousands of nesting birds, there are also areas of unspoiled nature consisting of mountains, moorlands, and marshes. This enables birdwatching in a natural environment.

Panorama of Berlevåg


View of the village of Berlevåg in 1942, before the village was burned

World War II

Berlevåg, along with the rest of Finnmark, was occupied during World War II. Berlevåg Airport was originally put into use at this time, when German occupying forces constructed it with the help of hundreds of Russian prisoners of war. From 1943-1944, there were nearly daily bombing raids from Russia on Berlevåg and the German airfield.

In November 1944, the village was completely burned down and the inhabitants evacuated by force as part of the scorched earth strategy of the Germans. In the aftermath, the Norwegian government wanted to relocate the inhabitants to nearby Kongsfjord because of a better harbour, but they refused, and the village was rebuilt. As there are absolutely no trees in Berlevåg, many of the houses in Berlevåg were built by the help of the wooden planks in the "tarmac" of the previous German airfield.

Popular culture

Berlevåg was brought some fame in Norway when the Norwegian film director Knut Erik Jensen made a documentary film about Berlevåg Mannsangsforening, Berlevåg's men's choir. The movie Heftig og begeistret (English: "Cool and Crazy") was a big hit 2001 in Norway, first shown at Tromsø International Film Festival. The choir later went on a tour of the United States and were featured at Ground zero in New York City. The choir's oldest and most famous member, Einar Strand, died at the age of 98 in 2004.

Berlevåg is also the place for the fictional story "Babette's Feast" by the Danish author Karen Blixen / Isak Dinesen published in the anthology Anecdotes of Destiny (1958). (See also the homonym film Babette's Feast.)

Sister cities

The following are twin towns of Berlevåg:


  1. "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  2. Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå.
  3. Rygh, Oluf (1924). Norske gaardnavne: Finmarkens amt (in Norwegian) (18 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 243.
  4. Store norske leksikon. "Berlevåg" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2013-02-26.
  5. "Kommunevåpen". Flags of the World. 30 April 2002. Retrieved 2008-12-10. External link in |publisher= (help)
  6. "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06.

External links

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