About Nordland

Nordland County is a long, narrow sliver of land, measuring only 6 km across at one point from the Norwegian Sea to the border with Sweden. The Arctic Circle runs through the middle of the county. The economy of Nordland is strongly globalized. In 2018, companies located in the county delivered goods and services valued at a total of 233 billion NOK of which exports constituted around 45 billion NOK. Nordland has a long tradition of cooperation with regions, knowledge institutions, and businesses in other parts of Europe. The stockfish trade with Italy famously began in the 15th century, and export of stockfish remains a quintessential part of the county’s trade and culture to this day. Fishery in general has been the bread and butter of people in Nordland throughout history because of the exceptionally long coastline. Nordland is known for its spectacular natural scenery featuring fjords and mountains, and nature-based experiences are important for both locals and visitors.

Key statistics:

• 44 municipalities
• 243,479 inhabitants (53,000 in Bodø, the capital)
• More than 22,000 businesses
• 38.456 km² in total area (12% of the surface area of Norway)
• 505 km as the crow flies from south to north
• 25% of the coastline of Norway

Civil Society

The population of Nordland has shown no significant growth in recent decades, although a number of cities, led by Bodø, Sortland, Narvik, and Mo i Rana, have reported positive growth for several years. An important goal for Nordland is to increase the size of the population and especially to improve the long-term declining population trend among the younger demographic. Nordland is committed to keeping and attracting young people by providing first-rate opportunities for education and work within the county.

Research & Education

Two universities have campuses in Nordland: Nord University and the University of Tromsø. Nord University, whose main campus is located in Bodø, counts a total of 12,000 students and 1,200 staff distributed across nine locations. Focus areas of Nord University include blue and green growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, welfare, health, and education. The University of Tromsø, which excels in the areas of engineering and science, is represented in Nordland with campuses in three different cities. Nordland also has several independent research institutes and a strong tradition of cooperation among academia, the business community, and government institutions.

Legislation & Policy

Nordland County is divided into 44 municipalities. Nordland County Municipality is the governing body of the region. A county council is elected every four years. The county council provides important services within upper secondary education, transportation, regional planning, business development, public health, and cultural experiences.

Industry & Business

Companies located in Nordland deliver goods and services within a variety of industries including metals, minerals, chemicals, energy, seafood, tourism, and leisure. The county has a proliferation of small and medium-sized companies but also hosts several large industrial enterprises. In total more than 22,000 companies are registered in Nordland. Nordland bases its innovation strategy on the European Union’s smart specialization platform. The county has innovation clusters in several industries including tourism and seafood.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement nº 824588.

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