It is estimated that Henningsvær was mainly populated in the 18th century, and during the 19th century the place established itself as one of the country’s most important fishing villages. The rich fishing resource has been the reason why people chose to settle on these small islands in the Vestfjord, and has been the most important source of income in Henningsvær.
In the middle of the 20th century, fishing was at its peak and the place had approx. 1,000 permanent residents. Then began a restructuring of the fishery with, among other things, larger boats and fewer fishermen, which led to a decline in the population, before it stabilized at the current level around 1990. Today, there are approx. 450 inhabitants in Henningsvær.
Fishing is still the main source of income, and dried fish is Henningsvær’s main export item. And Henningsvær is certainly a vibrant fishing village to this day with a school, church, shops and tourism businesses. Today there are five active fish receptions and great activity during Lofoten fishing, and from the start of Lofoten fishing until spring, the fish hangs to dry on the shelves just as it has done for all years. Tourism and travel also play a big role in Henningsvær today and there is a great entrepreneurial spirit, with its 450 inhabitants, Henningsvær has 50 registered businesses.
Midnight Sun and Northern Lights
In addition to the famous Lofoten fishing and the magnificent nature, many come with the hope of seeing the magical midnight sun or the fairy-tale northern lights.
The northern lights can be seen from September to April, there is never any guarantee of seeing the northern lights as it depends both on the activity of the sun and that it is dark and not too low cloud cover. You may need some patience in your pursuit of the Aurora Borealis, and it is wise to plan a few days in the area to increase your chances. But once you get to see the incredible light show dancing across the night sky, it’s well worth the wait! It gives a momentary glimpse into the infinite universe of which we are such a vanishingly small part.
You can experience the midnight sun in Lofoten from approx. 28 May to approx. July 14, the exact date varies slightly from year to year. It is a magical experience to sit on a mountain top at night and watch the sun go down towards the sea and then turn around and start the ascent without going below the horizon. Lofoten also has darkness from approx. 6 December to approx. January 6, during this time the sun does not rise above the horizon. It does not mean that it is completely dark all day, for a short period in the middle of the day while the sun is just below the horizon there is a little daylight. In return, it is a very special light with incredible colors at this time of year. And the more hours it is dark during the day, the greater the opportunity to see the spectacular northern lights.