Vikingene i Lofoten

Based on the famous account by the chieftain, Ottar, we have substantial evidence to suggest that trade routes between North Norway and Europe were in existence as early as the 900’s.

Burial finds confirm this. At Eltoft in Vestvågøy, for instance, a sword of bronze and silver has been found which scientists believe was made in England.

The first known Viking chieftain of any importance form Lofoten was Tore Hjort from Vågan. His income came from taxes in the form of fish, furs, skins and walrus tusks.


Viking ships were very well developed, and were used to carry goods to England and a number of other countries. In exchange, they were given corn, wine, clothing, honey and various tools and instruments. Down and feathers were also an important commodity, as were birds of prey. Øystein Magnusson, who was the brother of Sigurd Jorsalfar, had a monopoly on the trade of eagles and gyr falcons caught on the islands where today we find Henningsvær.

At this point in time, Lofoten held an extremely significant position in the fields of trade and value creation. The region was so important that as early as the year 1103, King Øystein began work on the building of rorbu cabins and a church in Vågan.