Luster, Norway

Luster kommune
View of the village of Luster
View of the village of Luster
Coat of arms of Luster kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Luster kommune
Vestland within
Luster within Vestland
Luster within Vestland
Coordinates: 61°29′38″N 07°19′46″E / 61.49389°N 7.32944°E / 61.49389; 7.32944Coordinates: 61°29′38″N 07°19′46″E / 61.49389°N 7.32944°E / 61.49389; 7.32944
Administrative centreGaupne
 • Mayor (2011)Ivar Kvalen (Sp)
 • Total2,706.22 km2 (1,044.88 sq mi)
 • Land2,600.47 km2 (1,004.05 sq mi)
 • Water105.75 km2 (40.83 sq mi)
Area rank15 in Norway
 • Total5,151
 • Rank197 in Norway
 • Density2.0/km2 (5/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Demonym(s)Lustring [1]
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-4644
Official language formNynorsk [2]

Luster is a municipality in Vestland county, Norway. It is located at the end of the Sognefjorden in the traditional district of Sogn. The administrative centre is the village of Gaupne. Other villages in Luster include Fortun, Hafslo, Indre Hafslo, Jostedal, Luster, Nes, Ornes, Skjolden, Solvorn, and Veitastrond.

Luster is centered around the inner branch of the Sognefjord, which is called the Lustrafjorden. Its landscape includes fjords, steep mountains, water-abundant waterfalls, blue glaciers, and valleys. Both Jostedalsbreen National Park and Breheimen National Park are partially located in this municipality. The Sognefjellsvegen road goes over a mountain pass in eastern Luster.

The 2,706-square-kilometre (1,045 sq mi) municipality is the 15th largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Luster is the 197th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 5,151. The municipality's population density is 2 inhabitants per square kilometre (5.2/sq mi) and its population has increased by 5.5% during 2005-2015.[3]

In 2016, the chief of police for Vestlandet formally suggested a reconfiguration of police districts and stations. He proposed that the police station in Luster be closed.[4]

General information[edit]

View of the Fortun area

Lyster was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The original municipality was identical to the Lyster parish (prestegjeld) with the sub-parishes (sokn) of Fortun, Dale, Nes, and Gaupne. During the 1960s, there were many municipal mergers across Norway due to the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1963, the neighboring municipalities of Hafslo and Jostedal were merged with Luster, forming a much larger municipality. After the merger, Luster had 5,854 residents.[5]

Since the consolidation of the three municipalities of Hafslo, Jostedal and Luster in 1963, the area has been characterized by scattered rural settlements and large distances between these settlements. Luster was the largest municipality by area in the old Sogn og Fjordane county.[6]

On 1 January 2020, the municipality became part of the newly created Vestland county after Sogn og Fjordane and Hordaland counties were merged.


The name (Old Norse Lústr) originally belonged to the fjord (now Lustrafjorden). The name is derived from the word ljóss which means "light" or "bright" - referring to the bright color of the water from the glaciers. Prior to 1918, the name was written Lyster.[7]


The coat-of-arms are relatively new; they were granted on 20 April 1990. They show a circular silver-colored tilia twig on a blue background. Although they are newly designed, they are inspired by an old woodcarving found in the Urnes Stave Church which is located in Luster.[8]


The Church of Norway has eight parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Luster. It is part of the Indre Sogn deanery in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.[9]

Churches in Luster
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Dale Dale Church Luster 1250
Fet og Joranger Fet Church Fet 1894
Joranger Church Joranger 1660
Fortun Fortun Church Fortun 1879
Gaupne Gaupne Church Gaupne 1908
Old Gaupne Church 1647
Hafslo Hafslo Church Hafslo 1878
Veitastrond Chapel Veitastrond 1928
Jostedal Jostedal Church Jostedal 1660
Nes Nes Church Nes 1909
Solvorn Solvorn Church Solvorn 1883
Urnes Stave Church Ornes 1130


Norway sheep and Luster landscape

All municipalities in Norway, including Luster, 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[edit]

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

Luster Kommunestyre 2020–2024 [10]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)6
 Progress Party (Framstegspartiet)1
 Conservative Party (Høgre)3
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristeleg Folkeparti)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)13
 Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Total number of members:25
Luster Kommunestyre 2016–2019 [11]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)7
 Progress Party (Framstegspartiet)1
 Conservative Party (Høgre)2
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristeleg Folkeparti)1
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)13
 Liberal Party (Venstre)1
Total number of members:25
Luster Kommunestyre 2012–2015 [12]  
Party Name (in Norwegian) Number of
 Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet)8
 Progress Party (Framstegspartiet)3
 Conservative Party (Høgre)3
 Christian Democratic Party (Kristeleg Folkeparti)2
 Centre Party (Senterpartiet)7
 Liberal Party (Venstre)2
Total number of members:25


The mayor (ordførar) of a municipality in Norway is usually a representative of the majority party of the municipal council who is elected to lead the council. Ivar Kvalen of the Centre Party was elected mayor for the 2011-2015 term and re-elected to the 2015-2019 term.


Note people entering the ice cave in the glacier Nigardsbreen—this gives some perspective on the size of the glacier as the cave shows in the other picture.
The glacier Nigardsbreen and the lake Nigardsbrevatnet in Luster municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county in Norway.


Luster, one of the largest municipalities in southern Norway, is located in the glacial mountains where the Sognefjorden begins its path to the North Sea. The fjord is fed by many large glaciers such as the Harbardsbreen, Holåbreen, Jostedalsbreen, Nigardsbreen, Spørteggbreen, and others.[13]

It is bordered by four municipalities in Vestland county: Stryn to the north, Sunnfjord to the west, Sogndal to the southwest, and Årdal to the southeast. It is also bordered by three municipalities in Innlandet county: Skjåk to the northeast and by Lom and Vang to the east.


The Hurrungane, Breheimen, and Jotunheimen mountains cover parts of the municipality. Store Skagastølstind (or Storen) is the third highest mountain peak in Norway at 2,405 metres (7,890 ft) high, and it is located on the southern border of Luster and Årdal. It is part of the Hurrungane mountain range which contains some of the most alpine peaks in Norway.

Mountains of Luster over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft)[14]
Mountain Height Mountain Height
Store Skagastølstind 2,405 m (7,890 ft) Store Dyrhaugstind 2,147 m (7,044 ft)
Store Styggedalstinden 2,387 m (7,831 ft) Mjølkedalstind 2,137 m (7,011 ft)
Jervvasstind 2,351 m (7,713 ft) Store Ringstind 2,124 m (6,969 ft)
Sentraltind 2,351 m (7,713 ft) Tverrådalskyrkja 2,088 m (6,850 ft)
Vetle Skagastølstind 2,340 m (7,680 ft) Lodalskåpa 2,083 m (6,834 ft)
Midtre Skagastølstind 2,284 m (7,493 ft) Store Soleiebotntind 2,083 m (6,834 ft)
Store Austanbotntind 2,203 m (7,228 ft) Søre Dyrhaugstind 2,072 m (6,798 ft)
Store Raudalseggi 2,168 m (7,113 ft) Fannaråken 2,068 m (6,785 ft)
Store Raudalstind 2,157 m (7,077 ft) Stetind i Jotunheimen 2,020 m (6,630 ft)
Uranostind 2,157 m (7,077 ft) Brenibba 2,018 m (6,621 ft)

Lakes and Rivers[edit]

There are notable lakes such as Veitastrondsvatnet, Austdalsvatnet, Styggevatnet, Tunsbergdalvatnet, Prestesteinsvatnet, and Hafslovatnet. There are also many big waterfalls such as the Feigumfoss waterfall at 218 metres (715 ft) tall. The river Jostedøla runs through the Jostedal valley and empties into the fjord at Gaupne.

Storelvi with Austerdalen (right) and Langedalen (left)


The Jostedalsbreen glacier (including the arm called Nigardsbreen) is the biggest glacier in continental Europe, the highest point on it is Høgste Breakulen. It is located west of Jostedal, north of Gaupne, in Jostedalsbreen National Park, much of which is located in the municipality of Luster.[14] Other glaciers include the Austerdalsbreen, Harbardsbreen and Spørteggbreen.


The inhabitants of Luster make their living by farming, growing berries and fruit, tourism, and hydroelectricity. Jøstedal and Fortun have large hydroelectric power stations. Summer tourism is quite busy. Tourist activities include mountain climbing, skiing, fishing, hiking, and hunting.[14] The Sognefjellsvegen tourist road passes through Luster.

River fishing[edit]

Fishing permits (for salmon fishing) are sold for use on specific rivers, including Årøy-elva.[15]


Feigumfoss waterfall[edit]

With a vertical drop of 218 metres (715 ft), the Feigumfoss Waterfall is one of the highest in Scandinavia.[14]

Historic churches[edit]

Urnes Stave Church

Urnes Stave Church was built around 1150 and is Norway's oldest Stave church. The Church lies majestically on the top of Urnes. The Stave church is one of four Norwegian Churches on UNESCO`s list of the most precious cultural monuments in the world.

The Stave churches are constructions of high quality, richly decorated with carvings. In virtually all of them the door frames are decorated from top to bottom with carvings. This tradition of rich ornamentation appears to go back to the animal carvings of the Viking age. The dragons are lovingly executed and transformed into long-limbed creatures of fantasy, here and there entwined with tendrils of vine, with winding stems and serrated leaves. The elaborate designs are executed with supreme artistic skill. The stave church doorways are, therefore, among the most distinctive works of art to be found in Norway. However, it is difficult to connect them with the Christian gospel.[14]

Old Gaupne Church

The Old Gaupne Church is a magnificent church that was built in 1647 on a hill directly opposite Gaupne centre.[14]

Dale Church

Dale Church is a stone church that was built in gothic style in the year 1250.[14]

Breheim center[edit]

The Breheim Center contains a comprehensive exhibition. A journey through 20,000 years - from the Ice age to the present day, an audio/visual show takes visitors inside the glacier. Glacier boat M/S "Jostedalsrypa" crosses the Nigard Glacier Lake. There are internationally approved guides, glacier and climbing courses, and ski-trips.[14]

Notable inhabitants[edit]

Twin cities/towns[edit]

Media gallery[edit]


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  2. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian).
  3. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2017). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January 2017 and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-10-22.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway.
  6. ^ Natvik, Oddvar (9 February 2005). "Some historical data on the 26 Kommunes". Archived from the original on 13 June 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
  7. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1919). Norske gaardnavne: Nordre Bergenhus amt (in Norwegian) (12 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 8.
  8. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2017-10-22.
  9. ^ "Alle kirker og kirkegårder i Norge" (in Norwegian). 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-03.
  10. ^ "Tall for Norge: Kommunestyrevalg 2019 - Vestland". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  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 - Sogn og Fjordane". Valg Direktoratet. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  13. ^ Wobig, Andreas (2008). "Luster, Sogn og Fjordane". Archived from the original on 2007-08-07.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h "Luster Kommune". 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
  15. ^ "Laksefiske for alle". Aftenposten. 2014-07-19. p. 11.
  16. ^ "Local History of Luster". 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-02-02.

External links[edit]