Vadso is a municipality located in Finnmark County, in the country of Norway. The administrative hub of the municipality is in the village of Vadso, which is also the administrative hub of Finnmark County. Some of the other settlements include Vestre Jakobselv, Valen, Skallelv, Krampenes, Kiby, and Ekkeroy. 

Basic Information 

Vadso was given town status (formerly just a village) in 1833. In 1838, Vadso and the whole rural district around the Varangerfjorden were set up as the municipality of Vadso. The law forced all towns to be cut away from their rural districts, but due to a low population and not enough voters, this was hard to carry out for the Vadso municipality in 1838. 

The western part was cut out to be turned into the Nesseby municipality in 1839. In 1858, Nesseby was collated back into Vadso, and on that same day, the southern part of Vadso was cut out to create Sor-Varanger. In 1864, Nesseby was cut out into a distinct municipality once more. In 1894, the remaining part of the rural area around the town of Vadso was cut out to create the Nord-Varanger municipality. This meant that only the town of Vadso was left in the Vadso municipality. This stayed the same until January 1st, 1964, when the Nord-Varanger municipality was collated back with the area of Vadso to create the current Vadso Municipality. 


The municipality gets its name from the town of Vadso. The town’s name comes from Vadsoya island, because it was the initial townsite. Vatsnoy is an Old Norse word. The first part of vatn translates to “water” and the last part of oy translates to “island”. 


In the 1500s, the Vadso settlement was comprised of the old Vadso Church and a fishing village, on the island of Vadsoya. The settlement was later moved to the mainland. Trade in pomor led Vadso to become a major trading center in this area of Norway. There were a number of settlers from Finland and Sweden in the early 1830s, and they suffered from famine. 

Finnish was becoming the majority language, and this continued on for some decades. Even now, Finnish is spoken throughout the country. 


The municipality is known for its varied birdlife. A lot of the coastal localities are known for their interesting and beautiful birdlife. The Vadso harbor has all three species of Eider. A lot of areas of Northern Norway have varied and interesting birdlife – making it a popular area for birdwatchers.

Vadso Photo Gallery

Vadso: 01 photo Vadso Vadso: 01 photo
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