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Photos: Dennis Janssen/Getty
Photos: Dennis Janssen/Getty

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On the doorstep of wilderness in Lofoten

The Lofoten archipelago has been described as one of the world’s crown jewels of biodiversity. There are activities for everyone here, but above all, there’s varied unspoiled nature, clean air and pure water.

What visitors to Lofoten remember most is its striking natural scenery. The archipelago has long been known for fantastic fishing but in recent years, its other attractions have become increasingly popular, and no wonder. Who can resist hiking in the mountains, whale watching in the bays and wandering around picturesque villages such as Nusfjord, where you can stay in quaint red fishermen’s cabins called rorbuer.

Our guide is native islander Børge Iversen, who lives in the village of Ballstad on Vestvågøy.

The sea has always been an important part of life for the 58-year-old fisherman and local politician. Just as it has been for his father and grandfather. It’s not only the fishing that gets him out on his boat. “Life is perfect with the wonders of nature all around,” Iversen says. “My job is more like a hobby.”

A life lived outdoors

The best thing about living in Lofoten? 
“The freedom and the clean air. And the people. People here are hard-working, and there is almost no crime on the islands.” Like many other islanders, Iversen is happiest outdoors. In winter, locals ski on the peaks surrounding the fjords and in the summer, the villages compete in soccer matches.

Soccer is Iversen’s favorite sport. He would like to attend a match in London or Barcelona, but beyond that, big cities don’t appeal to him. He has only visited Oslo and Stavanger a few times. 

In his role as a local politician, Iversen works to promote the active cultural life of the islands and to prevent oil drilling that might disturb the fish. The family tradition is set to continue. One of Iversen’s daughters has chosen a path similar to her father’s and is training to be a sea captain.

Although the Gulf Stream gives Lofoten a milder climate than other places at the same latitude, the weather can still be challenging. Conditions can change quickly when icy Arctic winds sweep in across the area. In summer, the temperature rarely rises above 15C. If Iversen could wish for anything, it would be warmer weather now and then.

“Sometimes I wish for that,” he says. “But then I just take the family on vacation somewhere warmer!”

A vital habitat

The Barents Sea is one of the cleanest and most productive marine areas in the world – and therefore extremely rich in biodiversity. Several different habitats are found here, including sandy bottoms, coral reefs and sponge communities. These are important living and spawning environments for many species of fish, marine mammals and sea birds.

 

Text: Johan Augustin

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