Klaksvík has its roots in the Viking era © Nick Fox, Shutterstock
Sitting snugly around a tight U-shaped inlet crammed with state-of-the-art ocean-going fishing trawlers, Klaksvík is the second-largest settlement in the Faroes and the economic and administrative centre for the northern islands.
Sitting snugly around a tight U-shaped inlet crammed with state-of-the-art ocean-going fishing trawlers, Klaksvík, with a population of around 4,700, is the second-largest settlement in the Faroes and the economic and administrative centre for the northern islands. It’s here that the entire population of the six surrounding islands comes to shop and go about their everyday chores, be it going to the bank, popping into the library or sorting things out at the district council. Klaksvík owes its pre-eminence to its superbly sheltered harbour, which, ever since the town was granted municipal status in 1908, has continued to grow steadily and today is the site of one of the Faroes’s largest and most successful fish-processing plants, served by the town’s sizeable fishing fleet. Remarkably there’s also a brewery in Klaksvík: Föroya Bjór was originally established by a local farmer and has since grown into the country’s biggest and best beer producer, brewing and selling from its store classic European-style lager from imported hops from southern Denmark; the use of the ö in the spelling of the word föroya is an older version of today’s Danicised føroyar.
Although Klaksvík can trace its history back to Viking times when a ting was held here to pronounce upon all things administrative, today’s town effectively grew out of the four farms which were well established by the time a trading station was established here in 1838 during the Danish Trade Monopoly. It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that Klaksvík made the transition from farming to fishing and acquired the modern harbour which today provides the town with its window on the world: one-fifth of the the Faroes’s fish exports originate here.