Sortland in Vesterålen is situated in the realm of hundreds of islands that form a fantastic skerry landscape. With a population of 10,000, Sortland is a rapidly developing regional hub, and among the few urban centres in Northern Norway that has seen an increase in population during recent years.
Sortland is also known as the blue city, and has become the centre of national and international attention. It all began in conjunction with the new millennium observances. Sortland's idea was to paint the city blue. This was the start of a lively process involving not only local artists, but the general public as well. Come ashore to see how the blue colour scheme is coming along. Set aside some time for a poetic stroll through the downtown area, where you can enjoy “Writings on a field of blue”.
In addition, the city boasts art exhibitions, a church dating from 1901 and breathtaking hiking trails. Sortland has plenty of shopping opportunities and is known for the highest annual turnover per capita in all of Northern Norway. Sortland is recognized as one of the best music communities in Norway. Sortland Jazz Festival takes place every autumn.
The municipality is named after the old Sortland farm, in Old Norse; Svortuland, where the first church was built. The first element is from a river name Svorta, meaning black or dark, and the last element is land that means land or farm. The church is mentioned in scrolls from 1370. And the municipality of Sortland was established in 1841.