The recreational ruinFading fishing villageThe labour camp / Inventive Societies



Rebranded as a tourist destination.
The Northern coast contains many picturesque ruin landscapes from bygone heydays of production. Many of these ruin landscapes are maintained for recreational purposes, used as homes for commuting, for the old and retired or as holiday homes. Some of the abandoned villages are rebranded as tourist destinations.

Historically speaking, Mefjordvær is one of the major historical fishing villages on Senja, dating back to at least 1250. Today Mefjordvær is a tourist destination and a recreational area.

The village is built around a natural harbor, the outermost landing place in Mefjorden (The middle fjord), with short utror and partly sheltered from the north by the mountain Knuten. The natural harbor proved too exposed for safely landing larger, engine-driven boats. A number of breakwater constructions were built between 1902 and 1972 but proved insufficient.

Mefjordvær is organized as a traditional fishing village linearly along a main street, with a medieval plot structure running from the sea-shore to the mountain side. The central part of the village is situated on a farm mound, a four meter high refuse dump constituting earlier built-up layers. Mefjordvær today is registered with around 170 inhabitants.

Local production1
The landing and production of fish ended in a fire in 1978. A “rorbu” built as small flats for seasonal workers was after this rented out to tourists. Tourism is nowadays what characterizes the village and its industries. The attractions  for tourism in Mefjordvær are the village itself, the general attractions of North Norway – the midnight sun and the northern light – and access to the sea and opportunities for hiking. Mefjordvær is a marked detour on the Senja, Norwegian Scenic Route and will be provided with a scenic route attraction: rest rooms, a motorhome dump station and a car park by the pier designed by the architects TYIN.

The main tourist facilities are Mefjordvær brygge, an all-year upper holiday resort with 120 beds, also offering tourism activities such as fishing, boat renting, arctic boat safari and guided trips to see Aurora Borealis, and marine fauna. Senja lodge & Mountainguides offers adventure tourism; ski mountaineering, alpine climbing, rock climbing, glacier traverses, ice climbing, and more. Airbnb is widely in use. One might for example trough a German website (Dancenter) rent rooms at Elsahuset in the village.  

Tourism is probably the future for Mefjordvær. The place might be developed into a resort for long-time recreation. Depending on the development of Senjahopen, the two villages might, based on generous regional policies, merge into a society and a sustainable habitat.

1Ottar Brox, «Folk og næringsliv» in Ivar Enoksen red. Ytterst i vest, Berg og Torsken Bygdebok, Bind 3. Finnsnes, Midt Troms Museum, 2011, 92–134.