The statistics are clear and the trend continues: Over the past few decades more and more buildings are abandoned in Norwegian rural districts. Of the approximately 121,000 agricultural properties with residential buildings 33,000 are vacant. 17,000 of these are located in small and rural municipalities with less than 5,000 inhabitants. The buildings are either completely abandoned or used for holiday accommodation only – almost exclusively in the summer months.
The variation between counties is big. In Vestfold County, fewer than 8 percent of agricultural properties are uninhabited, while the corresponding share in Nordland County is 39 percent. There are also significant differences between male and female owners. While 18 percent of the properties of male ownership are uninhabited, the corresponding ratio for properties with female owners is 28 percent.
The reason for the increased centralization and depopulation of small and rural municipalities are many: Increased efficiency in the agricultural sector and the fishing fleet, increase in the education level, lack of jobs for women and few cultural and public services. Another reason may be the lack of local adaptability and creativity when it comes to establishing new and sustainable workplaces such as in the food processing sector and tourism industry.
Many of these abandoned houses are beautiful, undisturbed jewels that more people should experience – far away from city stress. Here are some of the places that are out there for sale (Norwegian eBay).
Text by: Thor Lanesskog, Thor News
Photos by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, Thor News (photographs from Leka Municipality, Nord-Trøndelag County)
Statistics Norway: Agricultural and forestry properties, by the municipalities number of inhabitants and type of agricultural and forestry property. 2010,
Statistics Norway: Internal migration, by centrality of municipalities. Migration between municipalities with the same centrality are included. The whole country. 1996-2011