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Faroe Islands

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The Faroe Islands (Faroese: Føroyar, meaning "Sheep Islands") are a group of islands in the north Atlantic Ocean between Scotland and Iceland. They are an autonomous region of the kingdom of Denmark. Since 1948 they have had self-government in almost all matters except defence and foreign affairs.

The Faeroes gives its name to one of the British Sea Areas.

 Flag of Faroe Islands Seal
(In Detail)(Full Size)

Motto: None

Official language Faroese
MonarchMargrethe II
Prime MinisterJóannes Eidesgaard
 - Total
 - % water
World ranking: 189th
1,399 km²
 - Total (2004)
 - Density
World ranking: 211th
IndependenceNone (Danish dependency. Self governing since 1948.)
CurrencyDanish krone
Time zoneWET (UTC; UTC+1 in summer)
National anthemTú alfagra land mítt
Calling Code298
Electricity230V, 50 Hz


Main article: History of the Faroe Islands

The early history of the Faroe Islands is not clear. It appears that about the beginning of the 9th century Grímr Kamban, a Norwegian emigrant who had left his country to escape the tyranny of Harald I of Norway, settled in the islands. Early in the 11th century Sigmund or Sigmundr Brestisson, whose family had flourished in the southern islands but had been almost exterminated by invaders from the northern, was sent from Norway, whither he had escaped, to take possession of the islands for Olaf Tryggvason, king of Norway. He introduced Christianity, and, though he was subsequently murdered, Norwegian supremacy was upheld, and continued till 1386, when the islands became part of the Kalmar Union and later the double monarchy Denmark-Norway. Denmark retained possession of the Faroe Islands at the Treaty of Kiel in 1815.

On April 12, 1940, the Faroes were invaded and occupied by British troops. In 194243 the British Royal Engineers built the only Airport in the Faroes, the Vagar Airport.


Tinganes in Tórshavn. Seat of the government.
Tinganes in Tórshavn. Seat of the government.

Main article: Politics of the Faroe Islands

A high degree of self-government was attained in 1948 and the Faroese are supported by a substantial annual subsidy from Denmark. The islanders are about evenly split between those favoring complete independence and those who prefer continued presence in the Danish state. Within both camps there is, however, a wide range of opinion. Of those who favor independence some are in favor of an immediate unilateral declaration. Others see it as something to be attained gradually and in full consent with 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 as strong ties to Denmark are maintained.

The islands are administratively parted in seven counties, which again are divided into 120 communities.


Main article: Geography of the Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The uninhabited island Lítla Dímun
The uninhabited island Lítla Dímun

The Faroe Islands are an island group consisting of 18 islands, off the coast of Northern Europe, between the Norwegian Sea and the north Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Iceland to Norway. Its coordinates are 62 00 N, 7 00 W. It is 1,399 square kilometers in area, and includes no major lakes or rivers. There are 1,117 kilometers of coastline, and no land boundaries with any other country. The only island that is uninhabited is Lítla Dímun.

The Faroe Islands generally have cool summers and mild winters, with a usually overcast sky and frequent fog and heavy winds. The fog often causes delays of airplanes. The islands are rugged and rocky with some low peaks; the coasts are mostly bordered by cliffs. The lowest point is at sea level, and the highest is at Slættaratindur, which is 882 meters above sea level.

See also:


Main article: Economy of the Faroe Islands

After the severe economic troubles of the early 1990s, brought on by a drop in the vital fish catch, the Faroe Islands have come back in the last few years, with unemployment down to 5% in mid-1998. Nevertheless, the almost total dependence on fishing means the economy remains extremely vulnerable. The Faroese hope to broaden their economic base by building new fish-processing plants. Oil finds close to the Faroese area give hope for deposits in the immediate area, which may lay the basis to sustained economic prosperity.

Location map
Location map


Main article: Demographics of the Faroe Islands


Main article: Culture of the Faroe Islands

The phrase "Faroe Islands" is tautological, since øerne or oyar means islands in Danish and Faroese respectively. The Faroes have a culture very much their own but the closest cultural relatives are Norway, Iceland and Denmark.

See also:

See also

External links

Nordic Council Logo of the Nordic Council
Denmark | Finland | Iceland | Norway | Sweden
Associate members
Åland | Faroe Islands | Greenland

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Dependencies: Faroe Islands | Gibraltar | Guernsey | Jan Mayen | Jersey | Isle of Man | Svalbard

da:Færøerne de:Färöer et:Fääri saared es:Islas Feroe eo:Ferooj fo:Føroyar fr:Îles Féroé is:Færeyjar it:Isole Fær Øer nl:Faeröer ja:フェロー諸島 no:Færøyene pl:Wyspy Owcze sl:Ferski otoki sv:Färöarna zh:法罗群岛

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