Havøysund is a small port located in Finnmark, and the stay in port is not long enough for you to make the most of this little town. Still, it’s worth getting off the ship and exploring where you can. If there is even less time than scheduled, go and stand outside on the ship and look out at Havøysund.
Havøysund is a fishing village with a population of around 1,000 inhabitants. Fishing really is the backbone of this village; most people work in the industry in some form, whether it be fish processing, the boat yard, or fishing.
The oldest finds from the area date back to the Neolithic Age, however it’s believed that the area was home to a number of fishing villages as far back as the Middle Ages.
Havøysund wasn’t mentioned until 1666, when a tax return showed that two persons from Havøysund paid taxes that year. In the 18th century, up to seven families lived there. The first trading licence was issued to a merchant in 1811.
King Louis Philippe
From 1838 until 1944, a bronze statue of King Louis Philippe could be seen in Havøysund. He visited the area in 1795, staying with families along the way. From Trondheim he travelled on a boat to Alta, overland to Hammerfest, and from there in a boat to North Cape and then back to Alta, then onto Kautokeino and Sweden. He said of Norway “where such hospitality was very welcome in a country where comforts were so lacking.”
Later, as King of France, he did not forget Finnmark. He sent them gifts and letters as a token of his gratitude, and also equipped three expeditions that in the years 1838, 1839 and 1840 carried out scientific research in Svalbard. In 1838 he sent a bust of himself as a gift to the town. There is some uncertainly as to how the bust made its way to Havøysund, as his hosts were actually from a different island (Måsøya). It is assumed that by 1838 they were deceased and their next of kin had moved to Havøysund. Today the bust can be seen in the Måsøy Museum in Havøysund, and it has clear marks from a fire caused by the German soldiers’ retreat in 1944.
Havøysund was also a key area for the Pomor Trade with Russia.
By 1940, there were three fish processing plants in Havøysund. The fish was mainly prepared as salted or dried product. The first ever cold storage warehouse for fish was built in Havøysund.
As the German soldiers evacuated Finnmark in 1944/45, they burned down the entire town of Havøysund. Everything you will see was built after the war.
Havøysund rebuilt rapidly after the war. In the 1950s, Havøysund came to be recognised as an important fishing community and had an impressive fleet of small and large fishing boats.
Today, Havøysund is still regarded as an important fishing community and is home to several factories, cold storage warehouses, fillet factories, fish salting plants and a covered dock. Depending on the fish stocks, Havøysund can be teeming with people or just have a few boats offloading their catch.
Excursion: RIB Safari to North Cape