World heritage

Vegaoyan – The Vega Archipelago

The Vega Archipelago is located off the Helgeland coast in the Norwegian region of Nordland. The area has been a centre for fishing and hunting for 10,000 years. As the first islands became inhabited, the characteristic landscape was shaped by the interaction of fisherman farmers and the archipelago’s inhospitable yet rich nature.

Picture from the Skjærvær in the Vega Archipelago off the Helgeland coast in the Norwegian region of Nordland. The area has been a centre for fishing and hunting for the last ten thousand years. Harvesting eggs and down from the wild eiders has been an important source of income here since the Middle Ages. The Vega Archipelago is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Photo by Jon Brænne, NIKU
Skjærvær in the Vega Archipelago off the Helgeland coast in the Norwegian region of Nordland. The area has been a centre for fishing and hunting for the last ten thousand years. Harvesting eggs and down from the wild eiders has been an important source of income here since the Middle Ages. The Vega Archipelago is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Foto: Jon Brænne, NIKU

About the Vega Archipelago

This heritage landscape covers 1,037 square kilometres and includes islands, islets, reefs and sea.

The archipelago consist of fifteen island groups where a total of 59 individual islands have at some point been inhabited. An island group consists of inhabited or uninhabited islands that together form a social unit.

Eider duck farming is mentioned as a Norwegian industry in documents dating all the way back to the end of the 9th century. From the Middle Aged right through to the present day, the harvesting of eggs and down from wild eiders has been an important source of income on the Helgeland coast. The tradition of gathering down for down production continues on several islands in the World Heritage area.

The eider industry has been a source of income for local women and the area’s inscription on the World Heritage List should be seen as recognition of their efforts.

World Heritage

The Vega Archipelago was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004.

Explore the Vega Archipelago

View photos of the Vega Archipelago

The harbour in Skjærvær. Skjærvær fishing harbour on Vega in Nordland. The breakwaters were built to provide safe harbour for the motorised smacks. Photo from the archives of The Directorate for Cultural Heritage
The harbour in Skjærvær.: Skjærvær fishing harbour on Vega in Nordland. The breakwaters were built to provide safe harbour for the motorised smacks.
Foto: The Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Picture of a Eider duck house on Vega. The eider duck houses are cleaned, and the seaweed replaced every year. A value creation project entitled ‘The valuable coastal culture in Nordland’ (Den verdifulle kystkulturen i Nordland) has helped carry the knowledge of eider husbandry forward, and to ensure that eiderdown products can still be found on the market. Photo by Marit Bendz, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Eider duck house on Vega.: The eider duck houses are cleaned, and the seaweed replaced every year. A value creation project entitled ‘The valuable coastal culture in Nordland’ (Den verdifulle kystkulturen i Nordland) has helped carry the knowledge of eider husbandry forward, and to ensure that eiderdown products can still be found on the market.
Foto: Marit Bendz, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Photo of the buildings on Skjærvær. Skjærvær is part of the Vega Archipelago World Heritage Site. Photo by Jon Brænne, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Skjærvær.: Skjærvær is part of the Vega Archipelago World Heritage Site.
Foto: Jon Brænne, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Picture of the Vega houses. Photo by J.H. Jørgensen, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Vega houses.: View of beautiful Vega Archipelago houses.
Foto: J.H. Jørgensen, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Photo of the buildings by the shore at the Vega Archipelago. Photo by Jon Brænne, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Vegaøyan – The Vega Archipelago:
Foto: Jon Brænne, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
The picture shows wild ducks bathing in the water. From Skjærvær on Vega, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004. Photo by Jon Brænne, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Vegaøyan – The Vega Archipelago.: From Skjærvær on Vega, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004.
Foto: Jon Brænne, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Picture of the Vega Archipelago. Photo: From the archives of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
The Vega Archipelago:
Foto: From the archives of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Picture of Vegaøyan – The Vega Archipelago. Photo: From the archives of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage
Vegaøyan – The Vega Archipelago:
Foto: From the archives of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage

Publisert: 12. February 2020 | Endret: 8. December 2020