Reading material for those who love the camping life

By: Roger Grosvold, journalist at ABC News
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 2 March 2020

Norwegian travel experiences: «The thousand countries' historic countries»

Norwegian fjords offer spectacular nature experiences and dramatic history. Here are travel writer Per Roger Lauritzen's favorites.

In total, there are more than 1000 fjords around Norway, from Oslothe fjord in the east to the Varangerfjord in the northeast and they come in a large selection of sizes. In the book «Norwegian fjords», the nature communicator and turbo author Per Roger Lauritzen highlights sixteen of the most important fjords through text, maps and photographs. One of them is Jøssingfjorden, which is as famous for its beautiful surroundings as for its gloomy war history:

naval battles

On a February day in 1940, the German auxiliary vessel "Altmark" is on its way past the Norwegian coast with 299 British sailors from sunken ships on board as prisoners of war. But the British Navy is just behind in the wake and "Altmark" is trying to seek refuge in neutral, Norwegian waters. The British care very little about it and in Jøssingfjorden the escape is over. The ship is boarded and the prisoners of war are released. Norwegian warships were nearby, but they did not intervene. In the book, Lauritzen writes that Hitler is said to have reacted so strongly to what was called the Altmark affair that it accelerated the German invasion of Norway. - «I have been so lucky that I have traveled a lot in my professional life, and these are fjords I know quite well. Some fjords are a bit special even if they do not fall into the category of large or varied geography, such as Jøssingfjorden. The name Jøssingfjorden I think many have heard, but very many do not even know where it is located. And the story that surrounds it was fun to be able to tell "-, says Per Roger.

Maritime traffic

In the work on the book, Per Roger Lauritzen has selected sixteen fjords that were different from each other, that had different geography, nature and size as well as a lot of history. The first one he writes about is Oslothe fjord that extends 15-16 miles from the innermost corner of the fjord in the Bunnefjord to Langesund and Strömstad. The author mentions several historical sights located in and along Oslothe fjord. Among other things, Drøbaksundet where the German cruiser «Blücher» met its fate when brave men at Oscarsborg fortress prevented the Germans' pride in calling at the quay in Oslo early in the morning of April 9, 1940.


Other historical monuments are Akershus Fortress in Oslo and Fredriksten in Halden, in addition to manors and monasteries on both sides of the fjord. - «In other words, there are many reasons to tell a little about Oslothe fjord »-, he thinks. Today, more than 40 percent of Norway's population live less than a 45 - minute drive away Oslothe fjord, which also has Norway's largest traffic of ferries and cargo boats. In recent years, it has become an important recreational area with boating, cabin life and fishing on the menu. - «Oslothe fjord is probably Norway's most visited fjord because there are so many people living around it and because there are so many important ports there. In addition, it has a long and interesting history "-, says Lauritzen.

Religion and power

With its 126 kilometers from Agdenes to Steinkjer, Trondheimsfjorden is Norway's third longest, with its deepest point at 617 meters at Agdenes. Lauritzen believes that history plays a major role around the Trondheim Fjord, which he believes was an important political center of gravity in the country, especially in the period that followed Olav Haraldsson's fall at Stiklestad in 1030.

In «Norwegian fjords» mention is made, among other things, of the impressive Austrått castle on Ørlandet, King Olav the Saint's burial ground and that Trondheim was the country's religious center until the Reformation in 1537.

Nidaros - Trondheim

- «The most important stop along the Trondheimsfjord is of course the city it is named after. We will only mention key words here such as Nidaros Cathedral, Nidelva, Stiftsgården… and a large number of museums as good reasons for a visit », Lauritzen writes. - «Trondheimsfjorden is a fjord that has been important for a long time because Trøndelag for long periods of Norwegian history was the most important area in the country, "- he says.

Norwegian identity

The incredibly varied Norwegian fjord landscape offers, among other things, the Nærøyfjord in Sogn og Fjordane where the valley sides are so steep that there are only a few places where it is possible to settle. Lysefjorden i Rogaland is surrounded by some of the country's highest cliffs, while Kristiansandsfjorden deserves the description friendly and beautiful southern idyll.

Further north, the Malangen and Lyngenfjorden in Troms, among other places, can tempt with varied nature and rich history. Isfjorden and Kongsfjorden on Svalbard are also included in the presentation of what Per Roger Lauritzen believes are some of the country's most beautiful fjords.

Norway's longest

- «You can also not write a book about Norway's fjords without writing about the Sognefjord, which is the country's longest. Or Storfjorden in Møre og Romsdal which offers such fantastic spectacular nature "-, says Lauritzen before he continues: -" If you ask people from outside about Norwegian fjords, it is often the Geirangerfjord and Storfjorden that are the first things they think of. How important would you say the fjords are to the Norwegian identity? - "I think that is quite important, it's just looking at where people live in this country. Old settlement is very centered around fjords and it is of course because what people could get from the sea was important, but also because the fjords were good transport routes. Of course, transport arteries that are a bit sheltered are nice, being able to move in fjords is often much safer than having to go all the way to the coast. And where you live will help to shape you as a human being ", says Per Roger.

The experience of wilderness

When the nature magazine National Geographic in 2006 put together an expert panel to rank the most popular world heritage sites, the Norwegian fjords went all the way to the top in front of the pyramids in Egypt, the US Grand Canyon, Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu. In the book, Lauritzen writes that the development of business life along the coast and in the fjords has meant a lot for settlement and cultural development in Norway. The coastal population has therefore left many and strong traces behind them over the centuries that have passed in Norwegian fjord landscapes. In addition, tourism has grown and the fjords are today among the most important places tourists visit.

Peace and tranquility

But there are still places where you can be completely at peace. - «I myself am out kayaking a lot and often do not experience that there are so many around me. And there are plenty of places where you can experience the fjord landscape almost to yourself. Just look Oslothe fjord for example. One and a half million people live around the fjord and it is the fjord with the most ship calls. Nevertheless, there are paddle areas, for example in Vestfold and beyond around the Bolærne islands, where you can almost experience real wilderness "-, says Lauritzen.


- «Norway is not alone in having fjords as part of its natural landscape. Among other things, we find fjords in Greenland, in Alaska, British Columbia, Patagonia, the South Island in New Zealand and in Scotland. Still, this is a type of nature that is not very widespread, says Lauritzen, before he continues: - "My wife and I have for many years traveled along the coast around Europe and there are not many other places where the large fjords meet you. There are miles and miles of rocks or sand, and it's great too. But fjords where you really get inland and see dramatic landscapes on both sides is still a more fantastic experience "-, says Per Roger Lauritzen, who has made a book about 16 of the Norwegian fjords.


  • I Great Norwegian encyclopedia "fjord" is used to describe a larger, branched incision of the sea, most often long and narrow and surrounded by mountain sides.
  • Fjords are sea bays that have been formed by giant glacier tongues through several ice ages that have shaped the landscape.
  • The opening to the sea is called the mouth of the fjord and is often shallow. The innermost part of the fjord is called the fjord bottom. If the oat channel is wider than it is long, it is a bay or a cove.
  • This shallow threshold in the fjord estuary means that the fjords are often calmer than the open sea, and the fjords are thus often natural harbors.
  • The word "fjord" itself comes from the Norse "fjord" and is one of the few Norwegian words that have become international, among other things it is used directly in the English language.
  • The longest fjords in the world are:
    • Scoresbysundet in Greenland (350 km)
    • The Sognefjord in Norway (204 km)
    • The Independence Fjord in Greenland (200 km)
    • Kangerlussuaqfjord in Greenland (190 km)
    • The Hardangerfjord in Norway (179 km)
    • Dean Channel in Canada (170 km)
    • Puget Sound in the USA (150 km)

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