The Vega Archipelago on the Helgeland coast comprises 1037 square kilometres of open cultural landscape made up of a myriad of islands, islets and skerries, where fishing and trapping have been taking place for ten thousand years. The Vega Archipelago was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2004.
The Vega Archipelago is not famous for large monuments or ingenious creations of architects. Its universal value lies in the way the area had handed down history and cultural traditions evolved on an exposed coast with rich natural resources. New commercial enterprises have left few traces to break the long lines back in time.
The archipelago was chosen because it fulfils the cultural landscape criteria, and is the first larger Norwegian area to be registered on the World Heritage List.
Stonge Age settlements
Strand lines that mark former levels of the sea around Vega coastline carry many remains of Stonge Age settlements. Numerous new islands gradually rose from the sea allowing the people to extend their territory.
Over the past 1500 years, generations of islanders have evolved a livelihood based on a combination of fishing, hunting, sealing, farming and collecting eggs and down.
The tending of eider ducks
The tending of eider ducks is mentioned as an occupation in Norway in a documentary source as early as the end of the 9th century. Throughout the Middle Ages and on the present day, collecting eggs and down from wild eider ducks has been an important livelihood on the Helgeland coast.