Coordinates: 62°00′N 06°47′W / 62.000°N 6.783°W /
Coat of arms
Anthem: Tú alfagra land mítt
Thou, my most beauteous land
Location of the
Faroe Islands (circled) in Northern Europe
Location of the
Kingdom of Denmark
Kingdom of Denmark (red), consisting of the Faroe
Greenland and Denmark
and largest city
62°00′N 06°47′W / 62.000°N 6.783°W / 62.000; -6.783
Church of the Faroe Islands
Kingdom of Denmark
Devolved government within parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• High Commissioner
Lene Moyell Johansen
• Prime Minister
Aksel V. Johannesen
• Unified with Norway[a]
• Treaty of Kiel
(ceded to Denmark)[b]
14 January 1814
• Gained home rule
1 April 1948
• Further autonomy
29 July 2005
1,399 km2 (540 sq mi) (unranked)
• Water (%)
• October 2017 estimate
• 2011 census
35.2/km2 (91.2/sq mi)
• Per capita
• Per capita
low · 2
Faroese króna[c] (DKK)
• Summer (DST)
Drives on the
ISO 3166 code
^ The monarchy of
Denmark reached the Faroes in 1380 with the reign of
Olaf II of Denmark.
^ The Faroes,
Iceland were Norwegian possessions until
Norway was united with Denmark.
^ The currency, printed with Faroese motifs, is issued at par with the
Danish krone, uses the same sizes and standards as Danish coins and
banknotes and incorporates the same security features. Faroese krónur
(singular króna) share the Danish
ISO 4217 code "DKK".
Faroe Islands (/ˈfɛəroʊ/; Faroese: Føroyar
pronounced [ˈfœɹjaɹ]; Danish: Færøerne,
pronounced [ˈfæɐ̯øːˀɐnə]), sometimes called the Faeroe
Islands, is an archipelago between the
Norwegian Sea and the North
Atlantic, about halfway between
Norway and Iceland, 320 kilometres
(200 miles) north-northwest of Scotland. The islands are an autonomous
country within the Kingdom of Denmark. Their area is about
1,400 square kilometres (541 square miles) with a population of 50,322
in October 2017.
The Faroes' terrain is rugged, and the islands have a subpolar oceanic
climate (Cfc): windy, wet, cloudy, and cool. Despite this island
group's northerly latitude, temperatures average above freezing
throughout the year because of the Gulf Stream.
Between 1035 and 1814, the Faroes were part of the Hereditary Kingdom
of Norway. In 1814, the
Treaty of Kiel
Treaty of Kiel granted
Denmark control over
the islands, along with two other Norwegian island possessions:
Greenland and Iceland. The
Faroe Islands have been a self-governing
country within the
Kingdom of Denmark
Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. The Faroese have
control of most domestic matters. Areas that remain the responsibility
Denmark include military defence, the policing, the justice
department, currency and foreign affairs. However, as they are not
part of the same customs area as Denmark, the
Faroe Islands have an
independent trade policy and can establish trade agreements with other
states. The islands also have representation in the
Nordic Council as
members of the Danish delegation. The
Faroe Islands also have their
own national teams competing in certain sports.
Politics and government
4.1 Administrative divisions
4.2 Relationship with Denmark
4.3 Relationship with the European Union
4.4 Relationship with international organisations
7.1 Faroese literature
7.3 The Nordic House in the Faroe Islands
7.4 Traditional food
7.8 Public holidays
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
In Faroese, the name appears as Føroyar. Oyar represents the plural
of oy, older Faroese for "island". Due to sound changes, the modern
Faroese word for island is oyggj. The first element, før, may reflect
Old Norse word fær (sheep), alhough this analysis is sometimes
disputed because Faroese now uses the word seyður (from Old Norse
sauðr) to mean "sheep". Another possibility is that the Irish monks,
who settled the island around 625, had already given the islands a
name related to the Celtic word fearrann, meaning "land" or "estate".
This name could then have been passed on to the Norwegian settlers,
who then added oyar (islands). The name thus translates as either
"islands of sheep" or "islands of Fearrann".
In Danish, the name Færøerne contains the same elements, though
øerne is the definite plural of ø (island).
In English, it may be seen as redundant to call them the Faroe
Islands, since the oe comes from an element meaning "island". The name
is also sometimes spelled "Faeroe". Most notably in the
Shipping Forecast, where the waters around the islands are called
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Main article: History of the Faroe Islands
Archaeological evidence shows settlers living on the
Faroe Islands in
two successive periods prior to the arrival of the Norse, the first
between 300 and 600 AD and the second between 600 and 800 AD.
Scientists from the
University of Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen have also found early
cereal pollen from domesticated plants, which further suggests people
may have lived on the islands before the Vikings arrived.
Archaeologist Mike Church noted that
Dicuil (see below) mentioned what
may have been the Faroes. He also suggested that the people living
there might have been from Ireland,
Scotland or Scandinavia, possibly
with groups from all three areas settling there.
A Latin account of a voyage made by Brendan, an Irish monastic saint
who lived around 484–578, includes a description of insulae
(islands) resembling the Faroe Islands. This association, however, is
far from conclusive in its description.
Dicuil, an Irish monk of the early 9th century, wrote a more definite
account. In his geographical work De mensura orbis terrae he claimed
he had reliable information of heremitae ex nostra Scotia ("hermits
from our land of Ireland/Scotland") who had lived on the northerly
islands of Britain for almost a hundred years until the arrival of
Norsemen settled the islands c. 800, bringing Old West Norse, which
evolved into the modern Faroese language. According to Icelandic sagas
such as Færeyjar Saga, one of the best known men in the island was
Tróndur í Gøtu, a descendant of Scandinavian chiefs who had settled
in Dublin, Ireland. Tróndur led the battle against Sigmund
Brestursson, the Norwegian monarchy and the Norwegian church.
Faroe Islands as seen by the Breton navigator Yves-Joseph de
Kerguelen-Trémarec in 1767
The Norse and Norse–Gael settlers probably did not come directly
from Scandinavia, but rather from Norse communities surrounding the
Northern Isles and
Outer Hebrides of Scotland, including
Orkney islands. A traditional name for the islands in
Irish, Na Scigirí, possibly refers to the (Eyja-)Skeggjar
"(Island-)Beards", a nickname given to island dwellers.
According to the Færeyinga saga, more emigrants left
Norway who did
not approve of the monarchy of
Harald Fairhair (ruled c. 872 to 930).
These people settled the Faroes around the end of the 9th century.
Early in the 11th century,
Sigmundur Brestisson (961–1005) – whose
clan had flourished in the southern islands before invaders from the
northern islands almost exterminated it – escaped to Norway. He was
sent back to take possession of the islands for Olaf Tryggvason, King
Norway from 995 to 1000. Sigmundur introduced Christianity, forcing
Tróndur í Gøtu to convert or face beheading and, though Sigmundur
was subsequently murdered, Norwegian taxation was upheld. Norwegian
control of the Faroes continued until 1814, although, when the Kingdom
Norway (872–1397) entered the
Kalmar Union with Denmark, it
gradually resulted in Danish control of the islands. The Reformation
reached the Faroes in 1538. When the union between
Denmark and Norway
dissolved as a result of the
Treaty of Kiel
Treaty of Kiel in 1814,
possession of the Faroe Islands;
Norway itself was joined in a union
As part of Mercantilism,
Denmark maintained a monopoly over trade with
Faroe Islands and forbade their inhabitants trading with others
(e.g. the geographically close Britain). The trade monopoly in the
Faroe Islands was abolished in 1856, after which the area developed as
a modern fishing nation with its own fishing fleet. The national
awakening from 1888 initially arose from a struggle to maintain the
Faroese language and was thus culturally oriented, but after 1906 it
became more political with the foundation of political parties of the
On 12 April 1940 British troops occupied the Faroe Islands, shortly
after the German invasion of
Denmark on 9 April 1940. In 1942–1943
the British Royal Engineers, under the leadership of Lt. Col. William
Law MC, built the only airport in the Faroe Islands,
Control of the islands reverted to
Denmark following the war, but
Danish rule had been undermined, and Iceland's independence served as
a precedent for many Faroese.
Faroese independence referendum, 1946
Faroese independence referendum, 1946 resulted in 50.73% in favor
of independence to 49.27% against. The
Faroe Islands subsequently
declared independence on 18 September 1946; however, this declaration
was annulled by
Denmark on 20 September on the grounds that a majority
of the Faroese voters had not supported independence and King
Christian X of
Denmark dissolved the Faroese
Løgting on 24
September. The dissolution of the
Løgting was on 8 November
followed by the Faroese parliamentary election of 1946 in which the
parties in favour of full independence received a total of 5,396 votes
while the parties against received a total of 7,488 votes. As a
reaction to the growing self-government and independence movements,
Denmark finally granted the
Faroe Islands home-rule with a high degree
of local autonomy on 30 March 1948.
In 1973 the
Faroe Islands declined to join
Denmark in entering the
European Economic Community
European Economic Community (later absorbed into the European Union).
The islands experienced considerable economic difficulties following
the collapse of the fishing industry in the early 1990s, but have
since made efforts to diversify the economy. Support for independence
has grown and is the objective of the Republican Party.
Main article: Geography of the Faroe Islands
NASA satellite image of the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands are an island group consisting of 18 major islands
about 655 kilometres (407 mi) off the coast of Northern Europe,
Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about halfway
Iceland and Norway, the closest neighbours being the Northern
Isles and the
Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Its coordinates are
62°00′N 06°47′W / 62.000°N 6.783°W / 62.000; -6.783.
Distance from the
Faroe Islands to:
Scotland (uninhabited): 260 kilometres (160 mi)
Shetland (Foula), Scotland: 285 kilometres (177 mi)
Orkney (Westray), Scotland: 300 kilometres (190 mi)
Scotland (mainland): 320 kilometres (200 mi)
Iceland: 450 kilometres (280 mi)
Ireland: 670 kilometres (420 mi)
Norway: 670 kilometres (420 mi)
Denmark: 990 kilometres (620 mi)
The islands cover an area of 1,399 square kilometres
(540 sq. mi) and have small lakes and rivers, but no major
ones. There are 1,117 kilometres (694 mi) of coastline. The
only significant uninhabited island is Lítla Dímun.
The islands are rugged and rocky with some low peaks; the coasts are
mostly cliffs. The highest point is
Slættaratindur in northern
Eysturoy, 882 metres (2,894 ft) above sea level.
Faroe Islands are dominated by tholeiitic basalt lava, which was
part of the great Thulean Plateau during the
Skipanes on Eysturoy, with different weather in the distance
The climate is classed as subpolar oceanic climate according to the
Köppen climate classification: Cfc, with areas having a tundra
climate, especially in the mountains, although some coastal or
low-lying areas can have very mild-winter versions of a tundra
climate. The overall character of the islands' climate is influenced
by the strong warming influence of the Atlantic Ocean, which produces
the North Atlantic Current. This, together with the remoteness of any
source of warm airflows, ensures that winters are mild (mean
temperature 3.0 to 4.0 °C or 37 to 39 °F) while summers
are cool (mean temperature 9.5 to 10.5 °C or 49 to 51 °F).
The islands are windy, cloudy and cool throughout the year with an
average of 210 rainy or snowy days per year. The islands lie in the
path of depressions moving northeast, making strong winds and heavy
rain possible at all times of the year. Sunny days are rare and
overcast days are common.
Hurricane Faith struck the
Faroe Islands on
5 September 1966 with sustained winds over 100 mph
(160 km/h) and only then did the storm cease to be a tropical
An October evening on Eysturoy
The climate varies greatly over small distances, due to the altitude,
ocean currents, topography and winds.
considerably throughout the archipelago. In some highland areas, snow
cover can last for months with snowfalls possible for the greater part
of the year (on the highest peaks, summer snowfall is by no means
rare), while in some sheltered coastal locations, several years pass
without any snowfall whatsoever.
Tórshavn receives frosts more often
than other areas just a short distance to the south. Snow is also seen
at a much higher frequency than on outlying islands nearby. The area
receives on average 49 frosts a year.
The collection of meteorological data on the
Faroe Islands began in
1867. Winter recording began in 1891, and the warmest winter
occurred in 2016-17 with an average temperature of 6.1 °C.
Climate data for
Tórshavn (1981–2010, extremes 1961–2010)
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: Danish Meteorological Institute
Source #2: NOAA (sun, humidity and precipitation days
A collection of Faroese marine algae resulting from a survey sponsored
by NATO,the
British Museum (Natural History) and the
Carlsberg Foundation, is preserved in the
Ulster Museum (catalogue
numbers: F3195–F3307). It is one of ten exsiccatae sets.
Main article: Flora of the Faroe Islands
Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) is common in the Faroe Islands
during May and June.
The natural vegetation of the
Faroe Islands is dominated by
arctic-alpine plants, wildflowers, grasses, moss and lichen. Most of
the lowland area is grassland and some is heath, dominated by shrubby
Calluna vulgaris. Among the herbaceous flora that
occur in the
Faroe Islands is the cosmopolitan marsh thistle, Cirsium
Although there are no trees native to the Faroe Islands, limited
species were able to be successfully introduced to the region,
including the Black Cottonwood, also known as the California Poplar
A few small plantations consisting of plants collected from similar
climates such as
Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego in South America and
on the islands.
Main article: Fauna of the Faroe Islands
Faroese puffins are very common and a part of the local cuisine.
Main article: List of birds of the Faroe Islands
The bird fauna of the
Faroe Islands is dominated by seabirds and birds
attracted to open land like heather, probably because of the lack of
woodland and other suitable habitats. Many species have developed
special Faroese sub-species: common eider, Common starling, Eurasian
wren, common murre, and black guillemot. The pied raven was
endemic to the Faroe Islands, but has now become extinct.
Only a few species of wild land mammals are found in the Faroe Islands
today, all introduced by humans. Three species are thriving on the
islands today: mountain hare (Lepus timidus), brown rat (Rattus
norvegicus), and the house mouse (Mus musculus). Apart from these,
there once was a local domestic sheep breed, the
Faroe sheep (depicted
on the coat of arms), a variety of feral sheep survived on Lítla
Dímun until the mid-19th century.
Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) are common around the
shorelines. Several species of cetacea live in the
waters around the Faroe Islands. Best known are the long-finned pilot
whales (Globicephala melaena), which are still hunted by the islanders
in accordance with longstanding local tradition. Killer whales
(Orcinus orca) are regular visitors around the islands.
The domestic animals of the
Faroe Islands are a result of 1,200 years
of isolated breeding. As a result, many of the islands' domestic
animals are found nowhere else in the world. Faroese domestic breed
include Faroe pony, Faroe cow, Faroe sheep, Faroese goose, and Faroese
Politics and government
Politics of the Faroe Islands
See also: Faroese general election, 2015
Queen since 1972
Aksel V. Johannesen,
Premier since 2015
Lars Løkke Rasmussen,
Prime Minister since 2015
The Faroese government holds executive power in local government
affairs. The head of the government is called the
person") and serves as a premier. Any other member of the cabinet is
called a landsstýrismaður ("national committee man") or
landsstýriskvinna ("national committee woman"). The Faroese
parliament – the
Løgting ("Law assembly") – dates back to Viking
times and is believed to be one of the oldest parliaments in the
world. The parliament currently has 33 members.
Tinganes in Tórshavn, seat of a part of the Faroese government
In contemporary times, elections are held at municipal, national
(Løgting) and Danish (Folketing) levels. Until 2007, there were seven
electoral districts, each comprising a sýsla, while
divided into a northern and southern part (
Tórshavn region). However,
on 25 October 2007, changes were made such that the entire country is
one electoral district, giving each vote equal weight.
Regions of the Faroe Islands
Regions of the Faroe Islands and Municipalities of the
Relief map of the Faroe Islands
Administratively, the islands are divided into 30 municipalities
(kommunur) within which there are 120 or so settlements.
Traditionally, there are also the six sýslur (similar to the British
"shire": Norðoyar, Eysturoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Sandoy, and Suðuroy).
Although today sýsla technically means "police district", the term is
still commonly used to indicate a geographical region. In earlier
times, each sýsla had its own assembly, the so-called várting
Relationship with Denmark
Faroe Islands have been under Norwegian/Danish control since 1388.
Treaty of Kiel
Treaty of Kiel terminated the Danish-Norwegian union, and
Norway came under the rule of the King of Sweden, while the Faroe
Greenland remained Danish possessions. From
ancient times the
Faroe Islands had a parliament (Løgting) which was
abolished in 1816, and the
Faroe Islands were to be governed as an
ordinary Danish amt (county), with the Amtmand as its head of
government. In 1851, the
Løgting was reinstated, but, until 1948,
served mainly as an advisory body.
The islands are home to a notable independence movement that has seen
an increase in popularity within recent decades. At the end of World
War II, some of the population favoured independence from Denmark, and
on 14 September 1946 an independence referendum was held on the
question of secession. It was a consultative referendum; the
parliament was not bound to follow the people's vote. This was the
first time that the Faroese people had been asked whether they
favoured independence or wanted to continue within the Danish kingdom.
Queen Margrethe II, monarch of the Unity of the Realm, during a visit
Vágur in 2005
The result of the vote was a narrow majority in favour of secession,
but the coalition in parliament could not reach agreement on how this
outcome should be interpreted and implemented; and because of these
irresoluble differences, the coalition fell apart. A parliamentary
election was held a few months later, in which the political parties
that favoured staying in the
Danish kingdom increased their share of
the vote and formed a coalition. Based on this, they chose to reject
secession. Instead, a compromise was made and the
Folketing passed a
home-rule law that went into effect in 1948. The Faroe Islands' status
as a Danish amt was thereby brought to an end; the
Faroe Islands were
given a high degree of self-governance, supported by a financial
Denmark to recompense expenses the islands have on Danish
At present, the islanders are about evenly split between those
favouring independence and those who prefer to continue as a part of
the Kingdom of Denmark. Within both camps there is a wide range of
opinions. Of those who favour independence, some are in favour of an
immediate unilateral declaration of independence. Others see it as
something to be attained gradually and with the full consent of the
Danish government and the Danish nation. In the unionist camp there
are also many who foresee and welcome a gradual increase in autonomy
even while strong ties with
Denmark are maintained.
As of 2011[update], a new draft Faroese constitution is being drawn
up. However the draft has been declared by the Danish Prime Minister,
Lars Løkke Rasmussen, as incompatible with Denmark's constitution and
if the Faroese political parties wish to continue with it then they
must declare independence.
Relationship with the European Union
Faroe Islands and the European Union
As explicitly asserted by both treaties of the European Union, the
Faroe Islands are not part of the European Union. The Faroes are not
grouped with the EU when it comes to international trade; for
instance, when the EU and
Russia imposed reciprocal trade sanctions on
each other over the
War in Donbass
War in Donbass in 2014, the Faroes began exporting
significant amounts of fresh salmon to Russia. Moreover, a
protocol to the treaty of accession of
Denmark to the European
Communities stipulates that Danish nationals residing in the Faroe
Islands are not considered Danish nationals within the meaning of the
treaties. Hence, Danish people living in the Faroes are not citizens
European Union (though other EU nationals living there remain
EU citizens). The Faroes are not covered by the Schengen Agreement,
but there are no border checks when travelling between the Faroes and
any Schengen country (the Faroes have been part of the Nordic Passport
Union since 1966, and since 2001 there have been no permanent border
checks between the
Nordic countries and the rest of the Schengen Area
as part of the Schengen agreement).
Relationship with international organisations
Faroe Islands are not a fully independent country, but they do
have political relations directly with other countries through
agreement with Denmark. The
Faroe Islands are a member of some
international organisations as though they were an independent
Faroe Islands are a member of several international sports
federations like UEFA,
FIFA in football and
FINA in swimming
and EHF in handball and have their own national teams. The Faroe
Islands have their own telephone country code, Internet country code
top-level domain, banking code and postal country code.
Faroe Islands make their own agreements with other countries
regarding trade and commerce. When the EU embargo against Russia
started in 2014, the
Faroe Islands were not a part of the embargo
because they are not a part of EU, and the islands had just themselves
experienced a year of embargo from the EU including
the islands; the Faroese prime minister
Kaj Leo Johannesen
Kaj Leo Johannesen went to
Moscow to negotiate the trade between the two countries. The
Faroese minister of fisheries negotiates with the EU and other
countries regarding the rights to fish.
Main article: Demographics of the Faroe Islands
The vast majority of the population are ethnic Faroese, of Norse and
Celtic descent. Recent DNA analyses have revealed that Y
chromosomes, tracing male descent, are 87% Scandinavian. The
studies show that mitochondrial DNA, tracing female descent, is 84%
There is a gender deficit of about 2,000 women owing to migration.
Three hundred women from the
Philippines and Thailand, recruited as
wives because of the Faroes' gender imbalance, make up the largest
ethnic minority in the Faroes.
The total fertility rate of the
Faroe Islands is currently one of the
highest in Europe. The fertility rate is 2.409 children born per
woman (2015 est.).
The 2011 census shows that of the approximately 48,600 inhabitants of
Faroe Islands (17,441 private households in 2011), 43,135 were
born in the Faroe Islands, 3,597 were born in the other two countries
Kingdom of Denmark
Kingdom of Denmark (
Denmark or Greenland), and 1,614 were born
outside the Kingdom of Denmark. People were also asked about their
nationality, including Faroese. Children under 15 were not asked about
their nationality. 97% said that they were ethnic Faroese, which means
that many of those who were born in either
Denmark or Greenland
consider themselves as ethnic Faroese. The other 3% of those older
than 15 said they were not Faroese: 515 were Danish, 433 were from
other European countries, 147 came from Asia, 65 from Africa, 55 from
the Americas, 23 from Russia. The
Faroe Islands have people from
77 different nationalities.
Faroese stamp by
Anker Eli Petersen
Anker Eli Petersen commemorating the arrival of
Christianity in the islands
If the first inhabitants of the
Faroe Islands were Irish monks, then
they must have lived as a very small group of settlers. Later, when
the Vikings colonised the islands, there was a considerable increase
in the population. However, it never exceeded 5,000 until the 19th
century. Around 1349, about half the population perished in the Black
Only with the rise of the deep-sea fishery (and thus independence from
agriculture in the islands' harsh terrain) and with general progress
in the health service was rapid population growth possible in the
Faroes. Beginning in the 19th century, the population increased
tenfold in 200 years.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the
Faroe Islands entered a deep
economic crisis leading to heavy emigration; however, this trend
reversed in subsequent years to a net immigration. This has been in
the form of a population replacement as young Faroese women leave and
are replaced with Asian/Pacific brides. In 2011, there were 2,155
more men than women between the age of 0 to 59 in the Faroe
The Faroese population is spread across most of the area; it was not
until recent decades that significant urbanisation occurred.
Industrialisation has been remarkably decentralised, and the area has
therefore maintained quite a viable rural culture. Nevertheless,
villages with poor harbour facilities have been the losers in the
development from agriculture to fishing, and in the most peripheral
agricultural areas, also known as
Útoyggjar "Outer Islands", there
are few young people. In recent decades, the village-based social
structure has nevertheless been placed under pressure, giving way to a
rise in interconnected "centres" that are better able to provide goods
and services than the badly connected periphery. This means that shops
and services are now relocating en masse from the villages into the
centres, and slowly but steadily the Faroese population is
concentrating in and around the centres.
In the 1990s, the government abandoned the old national policy of
developing the villages (Bygdamenning), and instead began a process of
regional development (Økismenning). The term "region" referred to the
large islands of the Faroes. Nevertheless, the government was unable
to press through the structural reform of merging small rural
municipalities to create sustainable, decentralised entities that
could drive forward regional development. As regional development has
been difficult on the administrative level, the government has instead
invested heavily in infrastructure, interconnecting the regions.
In general, it is becoming less valid to regard the Faroes as a
society based on separate islands and regions. The huge investments in
roads, bridges and sub-sea tunnels (see also Transport in the Faroe
Islands) have bound the islands together, creating a coherent economic
and cultural sphere that covers almost 90% of the population. From
this perspective it is reasonable to regard the Faroes as a dispersed
city or even to refer to it as the Faroese Network City.[citation
A stamp commemorating V. U. Hammershaimb, a 19th-century Faroese
linguist and theologian
Main article: Languages of the Faroe Islands
Faroese is spoken in the entire area as a first language. It is
difficult to say exactly how many people worldwide speak the Faroese
language, because many ethnic Faroese live in Denmark, and few who are
born there return to the Faroes with their parents or as adults.
Faroese language is one of the smallest of the Germanic languages.
Written Faroese (grammar and vocabulary) is most similar to Icelandic
and to their ancestor Old Norse, though the spoken language is closer
to Norwegian dialects of Western Norway. Faroese is the first official
language of the island while Danish, the second, is taught in schools
and can be used by the Faroese government in public relations.
Faroese language policy provides for the active creation of new terms
in Faroese suitable for modern life.
Main article: Religion in the Faroe Islands
According to the Færeyinga saga,
Sigmundur Brestisson brought
Christianity to the islands in 999. However, archaeology at a site in
Leirvík named Bønhústoftin (English: prayer-house ruin)
and over a dozen slabs from Ólansgarður in the small island of
Skúvoy which in the main display encircled linear and outline
crosses, suggest that
Celtic Christianity may have arrived at least
150 years earlier. The Faroe Islands' Church Reformation was
completed on 1 January 1540. According to official statistics from
2002, 84.1% of the Faroese population are members of the state church,
Church of the Faroe Islands
Church of the Faroe Islands (Fólkakirkjan), a form of
Lutheranism. The Fólkakirkjan became an independent church in 2007;
previously it had been a diocese within the Church of Denmark. Faroese
members of the clergy who have had historical importance include
Venceslaus Ulricus Hammershaimb
Venceslaus Ulricus Hammershaimb (1819–1909), Fríðrikur Petersen
(1853–1917) and, perhaps most significantly, Jákup Dahl
(1878–1944), who had a great influence in ensuring that the Faroese
language was spoken in the church instead of Danish. Participation in
churches is more prevalent among the Faroese population than among
most other Scandinavians.
In the late 1820s, the Christian Evangelical religious movement, the
Plymouth Brethren, was established in England. In 1865, a member of
this movement, William Gibson Sloan, travelled to the Faroes from
Shetland. At the turn of the 20th century, the Faroese Plymouth
Brethren numbered thirty. Today, around 10% of the Faroese population
are members of the Open Brethren community (Brøðrasamkoman). About
3% belong to the Charismatic Movement. There are several charismatic
churches around the islands, the largest of which, called Keldan (The
Spring), has about 200 to 300 members. About 2% belong to other
Christian groups. The Adventists operate a private school in
Jehovah's Witnesses also have four congregations with a
total of 121 members. The Roman Catholic congregation has about 170
members and falls under the jurisdiction of Denmark's Roman Catholic
Diocese of Copenhagen. The municipality of
Tórshavn has an old
Church in Kunoy
There are also around fifteen Bahá'ís who meet at four different
places. The Ahmadiyyas established a community in the
Faroe Islands in
2010. Unlike Denmark,
Iceland with Forn Siðr, the Faroes
have no organised Heathen community.
The best-known church buildings in the
Faroe Islands include Tórshavn
Cathedral, Olaf II of Norway's Church and the
Magnus Cathedral in
Kirkjubøur; the Vesturkirkjan and the Maria Church, both of which are
situated in Tórshavn; the church of Fámjin; the octagonal church in
Haldórsvík; Christianskirkjan in Klaksvík; and also the two
In 1948, Victor Danielsen (Plymouth Brethren) completed the first
Bible translation into Faroese from different modern languages. Jacob
Dahl and Kristian Osvald Viderø (Fólkakirkjan) completed the second
translation in 1961. The latter was translated from the original
Biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek) into Faroese.
According to the 2011 Census, there were 33,018 Christians (95.44%),
23 Muslims (0.07%), 7 Hindus (0.02%), 66 Buddhists (0.19%), 12 Jews
(0.03%), 13 Baha'i (0.04%), 3 Sikhs (0.01%), 149 others (0.43%), 85
with more than one belief (0.25%), and 1,397 with no religion
Main article: Education in the Faroe Islands
The levels of education in the
Faroe Islands are primary, secondary
and higher education. Most institutions are funded by the state; there
are few private schools in the country. Education is compulsory for 9
years between the ages of 7 and 16.
Compulsory education consists of seven years of primary education and
two years of lower secondary education; it is public, free of charge,
provided by the respective municipalities, and is called the
Fólkaskúli in Faroese. The Fólkaskúli also provides optional
preschool education as well as the tenth year of education that is a
prerequisite to get admitted to upper secondary education. Students
that complete compulsory education are allowed to continue education
in a vocational school, where they can have job-specific training and
education. Since the fishing industry is an important part of
country's economy, maritime schools are an important part of Faroese
education. Upon completion of the tenth year of Fólkaskúli, students
can continue to upper secondary education which consists of several
different types of schools.
Higher education is offered at the
University of the Faroe Islands; a part of Faroese youth moves abroad
to pursue higher education, mainly in Denmark. Other forms of
education comprise adult education and music schools. The structure of
the Faroese educational system bears resemblances with its Danish
In the 12th century, education was provided by the Catholic Church in
the Faroe Islands. The Church of
Denmark took over education after
the Protestant Reformation. Modern educational institutions
started operating in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and
developed throughout the twentieth century. The status of the Faroese
language in education was a significant issue for decades, until it
was accepted as a language of instruction in 1938. Initially
education was administered and regulated by Denmark. In 1979
responsibilities on educational issues started transferring to the
Faroese authorities, a procedure which was completed in 2002.
The Ministry of Education, Research and
Culture has the jurisdiction
of educational responsibility in the Faroe Islands. Since the
Faroe Islands is a constituent country of the Danish Realm, education
Faroe Islands is influenced and has similarities with the
Danish educational system; there is an agreement on educational
cooperation between the
Faroe Islands and Denmark. In 2012
the public spending on education was 8.1% of GDP. The
municipalities are responsible for the school buildings for children's
education in Fólkaskúlin from age 1st grade to 9th or 10th grade
(age 7 to 16). In November 2013 1,615 people, or 6.8% of the total
number of employees, were employed in the education sector. Of the
31,270 people aged 25 and above 1,717 (5.5%) have gained at least a
master's degrees or a Ph.D., 8,428 (27%) have gained a B.Sc. or a
diploma, 11,706 (37.4%) have finished upper secondary education while
9,419 (30.1%) has only finished primary school and have no other
education. There is no data on literacy in the Faroe Islands, but
CIA Factbook states that it is probably as high as in Denmark
proper, i.e. 99%.
The majority of students in upper secondary schools are women,
although men represent the majority in higher education institutions.
In addition, most young Faroese people who relocate to other countries
to study are women. Out of 8,535 holders of bachelor degrees,
4,796 (56.2%) have had their education in the Faroe Islands, 2,724
(31.9%) in Denmark, 543 in both the
Faroe Islands and Denmark, 94
(1.1%) in Norway, 80 in the
United Kingdom and the rest in other
countries. Out of 1,719 holders of master's degrees or PhDs, 1,249
(72.7% have had their education in Denmark, 87 (5.1%) in the United
Kingdom, 86 (5%) in both the
Faroe Islands and Denmark, 64 (3.7%) in
the Faroe Islands, 60 (3.5%) in
Norway and the rest in other countries
(mostly EU and Nordic). Since there is no medical school in the
Faroe Islands, all medical students have to study abroad; as of
2013[update], out of a total of 96 medical students, 76 studied in
Denmark, 19 in Poland, and 1 in Hungary.
Main article: Economy of the Faroe Islands
Graphical depiction of Faroe Islands' product exports in 28
Economic troubles caused by a collapse of the Faroese fishing industry
in the early 1990s brought high unemployment rates of 10 to 15% by the
mid-1990s. Unemployment decreased in the later 1990s, down to
about 6% at the end of 1998. By June 2008 unemployment had
declined to 1.1%, before rising to 3.4% in early 2009. In December
2014 the unemployment was 3.2%. Nevertheless, the almost total
dependence on fishing and fish farming means that the economy remains
vulnerable. One of the biggest private companies of the Faroe Islands
is the salmon farming company Bakkafrost, which is the largest of the
four salmon farming companies in the Faroe Islands and the eighth
biggest in the world.
Klaksvík, on the island of Borðoy, is the Faroe Islands'
Petroleum found close to the Faroese area gives hope for deposits in
the immediate area, which may provide a basis for sustained economic
13% of the Faroe Islands' national income comes as economic aid from
Denmark. This corresponds to roughly 5% of GDP.
Since 2000, the government has fostered new information technology and
business projects to attract new investment. The introduction of
Burger King in
Tórshavn was widely publicized as a sign of the
globalization of Faroese culture. It remains to be seen whether these
projects will succeed in broadening the islands' economic base. The
islands have one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, but this
should not necessarily be taken as a sign of a recovering economy, as
many young students move to
Denmark and other countries after leaving
high school. This leaves a largely middle-aged and elderly population
that may lack the skills and knowledge to fill newly developed
positions on the Faroes. Nonetheless, in 2008 the Faroes were able to
make a $52 million loan to
Iceland to help with that country's banking
On 5 August 2009, two opposition parties introduced a bill in the
Løgting to adopt the euro as the national currency, pending a
Main article: Transport in the Faroe Islands
The road network on the
Faroe Islands is highly developed. Shown here
is the road from
Syðrugøta on the island of Eysturoy.
By road, the main islands are connected by bridges and tunnels.
Strandfaraskip Landsins provides public bus and ferry
service to the main towns and villages. There are no railways.
Scandinavian Airlines and the government owned Atlantic
Airways both have scheduled international flights to
the islands' only airport.
Atlantic Airways also provides helicopter
service to each of the islands. All civil aviation matters are
controlled from the Civil Aviation Administration Denmark.
Smyril Line operates a regular international passenger, car
and freight service linking the
Faroe Islands with Seyðisfjörður,
Iceland and Hirtshals, Denmark.
The new ferry
MS Smyril enters the
Faroe Islands at
port in Suðuroy, 2005
Because of the rocky terrain in the Faroe Islands, its road transport
system was not[when?] as extensive as in other places of the world.
This situation has now changed, and the infrastructure has been
developed extensively. Some 80 percent of the population of the
islands is connected by tunnels through the mountains and between the
islands, bridges and causeways that link the three largest islands and
three other larger and smaller islands to the northeast together.
While the other two large islands to the south of the main area,
Sandoy and Suðuroy, are connected to the main area with ferries, the
Stóra Dímun have no ferry connection, only
helicopter service. Other small islands—Mykines in the west, Kalsoy,
Fugloy in the north,
Hestur west of Streymoy, and Nólsoy
east of Tórshavn—have smaller ferries and some of these islands
even have helicopter service. In February 2014 all the political
parties of the
Løgting agreed on making two subsea tunnels, one
Eysturoy (the Eysturoyartunnilin) and one between
Sandoy (Sandoyartunnilin). The plan is that both tunnels
should open in 2021 and they will not be private. The work to dig
the Eysturoy-tunnel started on 1 March 2016 above the village of
Hvítanes near Tórshavn.
Culture of the Faroe Islands
The culture of the
Faroe Islands has its roots in the Nordic culture.
Faroe Islands were long isolated from the main cultural phases and
movements that swept across parts of Europe. This means that they have
maintained a great part of their traditional culture. The language
spoken is Faroese and it is one of three insular North Germanic
languages descended from the
Old Norse language spoken in Scandinavia
in the Viking Age, the others being Icelandic and the extinct Norn,
which is thought to have been mutually intelligible with Faroese.
Until the 15th century, Faroese had a similar orthography to Icelandic
and Norwegian, but after the Reformation in 1538, the ruling
Norwegians outlawed its use in schools, churches and official
documents. Although a rich spoken tradition survived, for 300 years
the language was not written down. This means that all poems and
stories were handed down orally. These works were split into the
following divisions: sagnir (historical), ævintýr (stories) and
kvæði (ballads), often set to music and the medieval chain dance.
These were eventually written down in the 19th century.
Main article: Faroese literature
Rasmus Rasmussen, the writer who wrote the first novel in the Faroese
language (poetical name: Regin í Líð) and Símun av Skarði, the
poet who wrote the Faroese national hymn
Faroese written literature has only really developed in the past
100–200 years. This is mainly because of the islands' isolation, and
also because the
Faroese language was not written down in a
standardised format until 1890. The
Danish language was also
encouraged at the expense of Faroese. Nevertheless, the Faroes have
produced several authors and poets. A rich centuries-old oral
tradition of folk tales and Faroese folk songs accompanied the Faroese
chain dance. The people learned these songs and stories by heart, and
told or sung them to each other, teaching the younger generations too.
This kind of literature was gathered in the 19th century and early
20th century. The Faroese folk songs, in Faroese called kvæði, are
still in use although not so large-scale as earlier. Some of the
Faroese folk songs have been used by the Faroese Viking metal band
Týr, i.e., Ormurin Langi.
The first Faroese novel, Bábelstornið by Regin í Líð, was
published in 1909; the second novel was published 18 years later. In
the period 1930 to 1940 a writer from the village
Skálavík on Sandoy
island, Heðin Brú, published three novels: Lognbrá (1930),
Fastatøkur (1935) and Feðgar á ferð (English title: The old man
and his sons) (1940). Feðgar á ferð has been translated into
several other languages. Martin Joensen from
Sandvík wrote about life
on Faroese fishing vessels; he published the novels Fiskimenn
(1946) and Tað lýsir á landi (1952).
Well-known poets from the early 20th century are among others the two
brothers from Tórshavn:
Hans Andrias Djurhuus
Hans Andrias Djurhuus (1883–1951) and
Janus Djurhuus (1881–1948), other well known poets from this
period and the mid 20th century are
Poul F. Joensen
Poul F. Joensen (1898–1970),
Regin Dahl (1918–2007) and Tummas Napoleon Djurhuus
(1928–71). Their poems are popular even today and can be found
in Faroese song books and school books. Jens Pauli Heinesen
(1932–2011), a school teacher from Sandavágur, was the most
productive Faroese novelist, he published 17 novels. Steinbjørn B.
Jacobsen (1937–2012), a schoolteacher from Sandvík, wrote short
stories, plays, children's books and even novels. Most Faroese writers
write in Faroese; two exceptions are
William Heinesen (1900–91) and
Jørgen-Frantz Jacobsen (1900–38).
Women were not so visible in the early
Faroese literature except for
Helena Patursson (1864–1916), but in the last decades of the 20th
century and in the beginning of the 21st century female writers like
Ebba Hentze (born 1933) wrote children's books, short stories, etc.
Guðrið Helmsdal published the first modernistic collection of poems,
Lýtt lot, in 1963, which at the same time was the first collection of
Faroese poems written by a woman. Her daughter, Rakel Helmsdal
(born 1966), is also a writer, best known for her children's books,
for which she has won several prizes and nominations. Other female
writers are the novelists
Oddvør Johansen (born 1941), Bergtóra
Hanusardóttir (born 1946) and novelist/children's books writers
Marianna Debes Dahl (born 1947), and
Sólrun Michelsen (born 1948).
Other modern Faroese writers include Gunnar Hoydal (born 1941), Hanus
Kamban (born 1942),
Jógvan Isaksen (born 1950),
Jóanes Nielsen (born
1953), Tóroddur Poulsen and
Carl Jóhan Jensen
Carl Jóhan Jensen (born 1957). Some of
these writers have been nominated for the Nordic Council's Literature
Prize two to six times, but have never won it. The only Faroese writer
who writes in Faroese who has won the prize is the poet Rói Patursson
(born 1947), who won the prize in 1986 for Líkasum.
In the 21st century, some new writers had success in the Faroe Islands
Bárður Oskarsson (born 1972) is a children's book writer
and illustrator; his books won prizes in the Faroes, Germany and the
West Nordic Council's Children and Youth Literature Prize
West Nordic Council's Children and Youth Literature Prize (2006).
Though not born in the Faroe Islands, Matthew Landrum an American poet
and editor for the Structo magazine, has written a collection of poems
about the Islands.
Sissal Kampmann (born 1974) won the Danish literary
Klaus Rifbjerg's Debutant Prize (2012), and
Rakel Helmsdal has
won Faroese and Icelandic awards; she has been nominated for the West
Nordic Council's Children and Youth Literature Prize and the Children
and Youth Literature Prize of the
Nordic Council (representing
Iceland, wrote the book together with and Icelandic and a Swedish
Marjun Syderbø Kjelnæs (born 1974) had success
with her first novel Skriva í sandin for teenagers; the book was
awarded and nominated both in the Faroes and in other countries. She
Nordic Children's Book Prize (2011) for this book, White Raven
Deutsche Jugendbibliothek (2011) and nominated the West Nordic
Council's Children and Youth Literature Prize and the Children and
Youth Literature Prize of the
Nordic Council (2013).
Main article: Music of the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands have an active music scene, with live music being a
regular part of the Islands' life and many Faroese being proficient at
a number of instruments. Multiple Danish Music Award winner Teitur
Lassen calls the Faroes home and is arguably the Islands' most
internationally well-known musical export.
The Islands have their own orchestra (the classical ensemble
Aldubáran) and many different choirs; the best-known of these is
Havnarkórið. The best-known local Faroese composers are Sunleif
Rasmussen and Kristian Blak, who is also head of the record company
Tutl. The first Faroese opera was by Sunleif Rasmussen. It is entitled
Í Óðamansgarði (The Madman's Garden) and was premiered on 12
October 2006 at the Nordic House. The opera is based on a short story
by the writer William Heinesen.
Young Faroese musicians who have gained much popularity recently are
Eivør Pálsdóttir, Anna Katrin Egilstrøð, Lena (Lena Andersen),
Høgni Reistrup, Høgni Lisberg, HEIÐRIK (Heiðrik á Heygum),
Guðrið Hansdóttir and Brandur Enni.
Well-known bands include Týr, Gestir, Hamferð, The Ghost, Boys in a
Band, ORKA, 200, Grandma's Basement, SIC, and the former band
The festival of contemporary and classical music, Summartónar, is
held each summer. The
G! Festival in
Norðragøta in July and
Klaksvík in August are both large, open-air
music festivals for popular music with both local and international
musicians participating. The world renowned Zappa Jazz Festival will
be held August 2016.
The Nordic House in the Faroe Islands
Nordic House in the Faroe Islands
Nordic House in the Faroe Islands (Faroese: Norðurlandahúsið)
is the most important cultural institution in the Faroes. Its aim is
to support and promote Scandinavian and Faroese culture, locally and
in the Nordic region.
Erlendur Patursson (1913–86), Faroese member
of the Nordic Council, raised the idea of a Nordic cultural house in
the Faroe Islands. A Nordic competition for architects was held in
1977, in which 158 architects participated. Winners were Ola Steen
Norway and Kolbrún Ragnarsdóttir from Iceland. By staying true
to folklore, the architects built the Nordic House to resemble an
enchanted hill of elves. The house opened in
Tórshavn in 1983. The
Nordic House is a cultural organization under the Nordic Council. The
Nordic House is run by a steering committee of eight, of whom three
are Faroese and five from other Nordic countries. There is also a
local advisory body of fifteen members, representing Faroese cultural
organizations. The House is managed by a director appointed by the
steering committee for a four-year term.
Main article: Faroese cuisine
Traditional Faroese food is mainly based on meat, seafood and potatoes
and uses few fresh vegetables. Mutton of the
Faroe sheep is the basis
of many meals, and one of the most popular treats is skerpikjøt, well
aged, wind-dried mutton, which is quite chewy. The drying shed, known
as a hjallur, is a standard feature in many Faroese homes,
particularly in the small towns and villages. Other traditional foods
are ræst kjøt (semi-dried mutton) and ræstur fiskur, matured fish.
Another Faroese specialty is tvøst og spik, pilot whale meat and
blubber. (A parallel meat/fat dish made with offal is garnatálg.)
Meat and blubber from a pilot whale means food for a long time. Fresh
fish also features strongly in the traditional local diet, as do
seabirds, such as Faroese puffins, and their eggs. Dried fish is also
There are two breweries in the Faroe Islands. The first brewery is
Föroya Bjór and has produced beer since 1888 with exports
Iceland and Denmark. The second brewery is called Okkara
Bryggjarí and was founded in 2010. A local specialty is fredrikk, a
special brew made in Nólsoy. Production of hard alcohol such as snaps
is forbidden in the Faroe Islands, hence the Faroese akvavit is
Since the friendly British occupation, the Faroese have been fond of
British food, in particular fish and chips and British-style chocolate
such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, which is found in many of the island's
shops, whereas in
Denmark this is scarce.
Main article: Whaling in the Faroe Islands
Boats driving a pod of pilot whales into a bay of
Suðuroy in 2012
There are records of drive hunts in the
Faroe Islands dating from
Whaling in the Faroe Islands
Whaling in the Faroe Islands is regulated by Faroese
authorities but not by the
International Whaling Commission
International Whaling Commission as there
are disagreements about the Commission's legal authority to regulate
cetacean hunts. Hundreds of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala
melaena) could be killed in a year, mainly during the summer. The
hunts, called grindadráp in Faroese, are non-commercial and are
organized on a community level; anyone can participate. When a whale
pod by chance is spotted near land the participating hunters first
surround the pilot whales with a wide semicircle of boats and then
slowly and quietly begin to drive the whales towards the chosen
authorised bay. When a pod of whales has been stranded the killing
is begun. Faroese animal welfare legislation, which also applies to
whaling, requires that animals are killed as quickly and with as
little suffering as possible. A regulation spinal lance is used to
sever the spinal cord, which also severs the major blood supply to the
brain, ensuring both loss of consciousness and death within seconds.
The spinal lance has been introduced as preferred standard equipment
for killing pilot whales and has been shown to reduce killing time to
This "grindadráp" is legal and provides food for many people in the
Faroe Islands. However, a study has found whale meat and
blubber to currently be contaminated with mercury and not recommended
for human consumption, as too much may cause such adverse health
effects as birth defects of the nervous system, high blood pressure,
damaged immune system, increased risk for developing Parkinson's
disease, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and Diabetes mellitus type 2:
Therefore we recommend that adults eat no more than one to two meals a
month. Women who plan to become pregnant within three months, pregnant
women, and nursing women should abstain from eating pilot whale meat.
Pilot whale liver and kidneys should not be eaten at all.
Faroese Islanders consider the hunt an important part of their
culture and history. Animal rights groups, such as the Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society, criticize it as being cruel and unnecessary,
since it in their point of view is no longer necessary as a food
source for the Faroese people, while the hunters claim in return that
most journalists do not exhibit sufficient knowledge of the catch
methods or its economic significance.
The sustainability of the Faroese pilot whale hunt has been discussed,
but with a long-term average catch of around 800 pilot whales on the
Faroe Islands a year the hunt is not considered to have a significant
impact on the pilot whale population. There are an estimated 128,000
pilot whales in the Northeast Atlantic, and Faroese whaling is
therefore considered a sustainable catch by the Faroese
government. Annual records of whale drives and strandings of
pilot whales and other small cetaceans provide over 400 years of
documentation, including statistics, and represents one of the most
comprehensive historical records of wildlife utilization anywhere in
Faroe Islands have competed in every biennial
Island Games since
they were established in 1985. The games were hosted by the islands in
1989 and Faroes won the
Island Games in 2009.
Pál Joensen, Faroese swimmer
Football is by far the biggest sports activity on the islands, with
7,000 registered players out of the whole population of 50,000. Ten
football teams contest the
Faroe Islands Premier League, currently
ranked 51st by UEFA's League coefficient. The
Faroe Islands are a full
UEFA and the
Faroe Islands national football team
Faroe Islands national football team competes
UEFA European Football Championship qualifiers. The country is
also a full member of
FIFA and therefore the
Faroe Islands football
team also competes in the
FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The country won
its first ever competitive match when the team defeated Austria 1–0
UEFA Euro 1992 qualifying. The nation's biggest success in
football came in 2014 after defeating Greece 1–0, a result that was
considered "the biggest shock of all time" in football thanks to
a 169-place distance between the teams in the
FIFA World Rankings when
the match was played. The team climbed 82 places to 105 on the FIFA
ranking after the 1–0 win against Greece. The team went on to
defeat Greece again on 13 June 2015 by a score of 2–1. On 9 July
2015 the national football team of the Faroes climbed another 28
places up on the
IHF Emerging Nations Championship
IHF Emerging Nations Championship has been played twice, starting in
Faroe Islands national handball team
Faroe Islands national handball team has won both editions.
Faroe Islands are a full member of
FINA and compete under their
own flag at World Championships, European Championships and World Cup
events. The Faroese swimmer
Pál Joensen (born 1990) won a bronze
medal at the 2012
FINA World Swimming Championships (25 m) and
four silver medals at the European Championships (2010, 2013 and
2014), all medals won in the men's longest and second longest
distance the 1500 and 800 metre freestyle, short and long course. The
Faroe Islands compete in the Paralympics and have won 1 gold,7 silvers
and 5 bronze medals since 1984 Summer Paralympics.
Two Faroese athletes have competed at the Olympics, but under the
Danish flag, since the Olympic Committee does not allow the Faroe
Islands to compete under its own flag. The two Faroese who have
competed are the swimmer
Pál Joensen in 2012 and the rower Katrin
Olsen. She competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in double sculler
light weight together with Juliane Rasmussen. Another Faroese rower,
who is a member of the Danish National rowing team, is Sverri Sandberg
Nielsen, who currently competes in single sculler, heavy weight, he
has also competed in double sculler. He is the current Danish record
holder in the men's indoor rowing, heavy weight; he broke a
nine-year-old record in January 2015 and improved it in January
2016. He has also competed at the 2015 World Rowing Championships
making it to the semifinal; he competed at the 2015 World Rowing
Championship under-23 and made it to the final where he placed
Faroe Islands applied to the IOC for full Faroese membership in
1984, but as of 2017[update] the
Faroe Islands are still not a member
of the IOC. but in the
2015 European Games
2015 European Games in Baku,Azerbaijan, and the
Faroe Islands were not allowed to compete under the Faroese flag; they
were, however, allowed to compete under the Ligue Européenne de
Natation flag.Before this, the Faroese prime minister Kaj Leo Holm
Johannesen had a meeting with the IOC president
Thomas Bach in
Lausanne on 21 May 2015 to discuss Faroese membership in the
Faroese people are very active in sports; they have domestic
competitions in football, handball, volleyball, badminton, swimming,
outdoor rowing (Faroese kappróður) and indoor rowing in rowing
machines, horse riding, shooting, table tennis, judo, golf, tennis,
archery, gymnastics, cycling, triathlon, running, and other
competitions in athletics.
Faroe Islands was given the opportunity to compete in the
Electronic Sports European Championship (ESEC) in E-Sports. 5
players, all of Faroese nationality, faced
Slovenia in the first
round, eventually getting knocked out with a 0-2 score.
At the 2016 Baku Chess Olympiad, the
Faroe Islands got their first
Helgi Ziska won his third GM norm and thus, won the
title of chess grandmaster.
Faroe Islands was given another chance to compete internationally
in E-Sports, this time attending Northern European Minor Championship
2018. Team captain this year was Rókur Dam Norðoy.
Not to be confused with
Fair Isle (technique).
Faroese handicrafts are mainly based on materials available to local
villages—mainly wool. Garments include jumpers, scarves, and gloves.
Faroese jumpers have distinct Nordic patterns; each village has some
regional variations handed down from mother to daughter. There has
recently been a strong revival of interest in Faroese knitting, with
young people knitting and wearing updated versions of old patterns
emphasized by strong colours and bold patterns. This appears to be a
reaction to the loss of traditional lifestyles, and as a way to
maintain and assert cultural tradition in a rapidly-changing society.
Many young people study and move abroad, and this helps them maintain
cultural links with their specific Faroese heritage.
There has also been a great interest in Faroese sweaters from the
TV series The Killing, where the main actress (Detective Inspector
Sarah Lund, played by Sofie Gråbøl) wears Faroese sweaters.[citation
Lace knitting is a traditional handicraft. The most distinctive trait
Faroese lace shawls
Faroese lace shawls is the centre-back gusset shaping. Each shawl
consists of two triangular side panels, a trapezoid-shaped back
gusset, an edge treatment, and usually shoulder shaping. These are
worn by all generations of women, particularly as part of the
traditional Faroese costume as an overgarment.
Faroese folk dancers, some of them in national costume
The traditional Faroese national dress is also a local handicraft that
people spend a lot of time, money, and effort to assemble. It is worn
at weddings and traditional dancing events, and on feast days. The
cultural significance of the garment should not be underestimated,
both as an expression of local and national identity and a passing on
and reinforcing of traditional skills that bind local communities
A young Faroese person is normally handed down a set of children's
Faroese clothes that have passed from generation to generation.
Children are confirmed at age 14, and normally start to collect the
pieces to make an adult outfit, which is considered as a rite of
passage. Traditionally the aim would have been to complete the outfit
by the time a young person was ready to marry and wear the clothes at
the ceremony—though it is mainly only men who do this now.
Each piece is intricately hand-knitted, dyed, woven or embroidered to
the specifications of the wearer. For example, the man's waistcoat is
put together by hand in bright blue, red or black fine wool. The front
is then intricately embroidered with colourful silk threads, often by
a female relative. The motifs are often local Faroese flowers or
herbs. After this, a row of Faroese-made solid silver buttons are sewn
on the outfit.
Women wear embroidered silk, cotton or wool shawls and pinafores that
can take months to weave or embroider with local flora and fauna. They
are also adorned with a handwoven black and red ankle-length skirt,
knitted black and red jumper, a velvet belt, and black 18th century
style shoes with silver buckles. The outfit is held together by a row
of solid silver buttons, silver chains and locally-made silver
brooches and belt buckles, often fashioned with Viking style motifs.
Both men's and women's national dress are extremely costly and can
take many years to assemble. Women in the family often work together
to assemble the outfits, including knitting the close-fitting jumpers,
weaving and embroidering, sewing and assembling the national dress.
This tradition binds together families, passes on traditional crafts,
and reinforces the Faroese culture of traditional village life in the
context of a modern society.
See also: Public holidays in Denmark
Ólavsøka parade on 28 July 2005
Ólavsøka is on 29 July; it commemorates the death of Saint Olaf. The
celebrations are held in Tórshavn, starting on the evening of the
28th and continuing until the 31st. 28 July is a half working day for
the members of some of the labour unions, while Ólavsøkudagur (St
Olaf's Day) on 29 July is a full holiday for most but not all union
The official celebration starts on the 29th, with the opening of the
Faroese Parliament, a custom that dates back 900 years. This
begins with a service held in
Tórshavn Cathedral; all members of
parliament as well as civil and church officials walk to the cathedral
in a procession. All of the parish ministers take turns giving the
sermon. After the service, the procession returns to the parliament
for the opening ceremony.
Other celebrations are marked by different kinds of sports
competitions, the rowing competition (in
Tórshavn Harbour) being the
most popular, art exhibitions, pop concerts, and the famous Faroese
dance in Sjónleikarhúsið and on Vaglið outdoor singing on 29 July
(continuing after midnight on 30 July). The celebrations have many
facets, and only a few are mentioned here.
Many people also mark the occasion by wearing the national Faroese
New Year's Day, 1 January.
Flag day, 25 April.
General/Great Prayer Day (Dýri biðidagur), 4th Friday after Easter.
Constitution Day, 5 June (half-day holiday).
St.Olav's Eve, 28 July (half-day holiday for some workers' unions).
St.Olav's Day, 29 July (full holiday for some workers' unions).
Christmas Eve, 24 December.
Christmas Day, 25 December.
Boxing Day, 26 December.
New Year's Eve, 31 December (half-day holiday).
Faroe Islands portal
Kingdom of Denmark
Kingdom of Denmark portal
Outline of the Faroe Islands
Faroese language conflict
List of Faroese people
Faroe–Soviet Friendship Association
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