Lofoten’s churches, chapels and monasteries

Lofoten has numerous distinctive church buildings, which in addition to being gathering places for the local population, also convey Lofoten’s culture and history to a large extent.


Check out the church’s interior and decoration, and have a quiet time with meditation and lighting candles.

Overview of religious services in Lofoten:

Information about the churches in Lofoten

Vågan Church – Lofotkatedralen

Vågan Church, also known as the Lofoten Cathedral, was consecrated in October 1898. The church is located approx. 2 km. east of Kabelvåg, by Kjerkvågen. The church is a cruciform in timber in the Neo-Gothic style. It was inaugurated in 1898 and has 1,200 seats. The architect of the church was Carl Julius Bergstrøm. The church replaced an older church from 1798 that had become too small. The new church is the largest wooden building north of Trondheim. The timber for the church was supplied by the timber company Jacob Digre in Trondheim. The parts were prefabricated at the factory in Trøndelag and assembled in Kabelvåg.

Kabelvåg has been a church site for approximately 900 years. Lofoten’s first church was built there during the rule of King Øystein Magnusson. Five or six churches have been located within the area of ​​today’s church. An earlier church was moved to Værøy in 1799. The Lofoten Cathedral was built to accommodate all the fishermen who came to Kabelvåg during the seasons. For more information about the Lofoten Cathedral: www.lofotkatedralen.no

Flakstad Chuch

Flakstad church was built in 1780 and is thus the second oldest church in Lofoten. However, Flakstad had also been a church site long before this time. Already in 1430 was the old church built. But it was destroyed by a storm in the 18th century. The new church was built on top of the old one so that people could continue the church services while the actual re-construction was still going on. The church in Flakstad is a so-called cross church, which means that it is built in the shape of a cross. The timber used in the construction was supplied from Russia, as a result of bartering with dry fish, during the so-called “pomor trade”. One of the chandeliers in the church also comes from the neighboring country to the east.

The church is easy to see from the E10 and is located just north of Ramberg. In the summer, daily organ concerts are organized in the church. For more information about Flakstad church see www.fmkirken.no

Svolvær Church

Svolvær Church is beautifully located in the center of Svolvær. In 2009, the distinctive church, which was built in 1934 with funds collected by the town’s population, is 75 years old. The whitewashed church is built in concrete and has tall and narrow round-arched windows. The nave has a steep salt roof, while the tower is finished with a pyramidal roof and a low spire.

Borge Church

At Borg in Vestvågøy, the modern church rises on a hill west of the Viking farm Lofotr. The church, which was designed by the local architect Knut Gjernes, is humorously called the jumping hill in the vernacular. With its upward-striving character, the building stands in strong relation to the surrounding mountain peaks.

The old Church in Værøy

The red-painted church at Nordland on Værøy is Lofoten’s oldest church. Around 1790, wind and storms had demolished the church on Værøy, and when at the same time a larger church was needed in Kabelvåg, it was decided that the old church should be moved to Værøy. This is how they got a new church in Kabelvåg – at the same time that Værøy also got a “new” church. There has probably been a church site on Værøy since the 15th century, most likely always in Nordland. But in 1939 a new church was built on the south side of Værøy where most of the people also lived.

The church in Nordland is still in use every fourth Sunday. In 1799, the church in Nordland was too big for the small church community in Værøy. But the population increased, and eventually, there was a demand for the expansion of the church. In the years around 1900, the church was therefore significantly expanded – in the ceiling inside the church you can still see how big – or small – the actual church was. The church art from the old church on Værøy can be found today in Tromsø Museum. But with the church from Vågan came the altarpiece from around 1750. The inset alabaster figures in the altarpiece were made in Nottingham in England around 1430 and are among the best preserved in Norway. But the old pulpit, the baptismal font, and the strange crosses are from around the 17th century, from the old Værøy church.

The Church ruins in Røst

A stone church was consecrated in 1839 by Bishop Kierschow. The church was built according to architect Lindstow’s type drawings for churches in the countryside but is so far known as the only stone church built in this style. The church also functioned as a safe place from devastating storms. The church was in use until 1900 when it was found too small and demolished by royal decree the following year.

Røst Church

Røst church is located on Røst in Nordland. The church is a long wooden church with 278 seats, built in 1899. It was consecrated on 26 September 1900 and restored in 1971. The altar in Røst church was gifted by Princess Elisabeth of the Netherlands around 1520. She came out in a storm during the sea voyage to Copenhagen to become Christian II’s Queen and gave the altarpieces to five churches on the coast of Norway as thanks to higher powers for her survival.

Hol Church

On a small hill about three kilometers from Leknes, we find Hol church. From olden times, it was common to place the churches with a clear view, preferably so that they were easily visible and accessible both from sea and land. Hol church, on the other hand, is a bit secluded and is relatively difficult to get to, both from the road and the sea. Hol church is a white-painted cruciform church with slate-clad hipped roofs and a small tower, roof riders, over the middle of the cross arms.

The church, which is made of timber, is clad externally with horizontal panels. It is a simple and stylish empire church – with tall windows, finished in a semicircle at the top. According to tradition, the main entrance with the armory is to the west, and in the transept to the north is an entrance that leads directly into the church room. The first church in Hol was built in the Middle Ages. Holkirka was an annexed church under Buksnes church, where the parsonage was also located. Hol church is protected by the National Antiquities – as a church building from the period 1650-1850.

Buksnes Church

Buksnes kirke ligger på Gravdal i Vestvågøy kommune i Nordland. Kirka er ei langkirke i dragestil, av tømmer, med 600 plasser. Den ble innviet 22. november 1905 og restaurert mellom 1965 og 1967. For mer informasjon om Buksnes kirke og de andre kirkene i Vestvågøy kommune, se http://vestvagoy.kirken.no/

Buksnes church is located at Gravdal in Vestvågøy municipality in Nordland. The church is long, in the dragon style, made of timber, with 600 seats. It was consecrated on 22 November 1905 and restored between 1965 and 1967. For more information about Buksnes church and the other churches in Vestvågøy municipality, see vestvagoy.kirken.no.

Moskenes Church

Moskenes church is located close to the ferry port at Moskenes. It is a timber cruciform church built in 1819. The interior of the church dates from 1564.

Reine Church

On Reine stands a wooden church built in 1891. By the church stands a copper relief in memory of all those who have lost their lives on the Lofoten Sea in the last 100 years. Created by local Reine resident artist Herman Bendixen.

Sildpollnes Chapel

The chapel is located on Sildpollneset in Austnesfjorden in Vågan municipality. It was built as a house of worship in 1891 and consecrated as a chapel in 1960. The building on Sildpollneset is a popular photo motif.

Kilder: Den norske kirkeArkitekturguiden for Nord-Norge og Svalbard, Lofotens kommuner og de kirkelige fellesrådene.

Sources:  Den norske kirkeArkitekturguiden for Nord-Norge og Svalbard, Lofotens municipalities and the ecclesiastical joint councils.

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