The islands around Vega were awarded world heritage status by UNESCO in 2004. Here, “bird guardians” have set up a unique partnership with the eider birds. And now you have the chance to experience this interaction at first hand.

Your meeting with the island kingdom

You have just gone ashore at Skjærvær – a little “bird village” outside Vega. It is remarkably quiet here. It has its own ambience. Sharp, dark-blue mountains and the open waters form the backdrop to this grassy green island. “The eider was a sacred bird for the guardians here,” explains the guide, presenting the little triangular houses that have been made specifically for the birds.

You can imagine how the down was gathered and painstakingly processed. A unique collaboration between humans and birds. A hard life. But probably a good, rewarding life as well. A life in harmony with nature. You look forward to eating redfish soup at Øystein’s on Hysvær in the cafe he built himself – of driftwood!

Most important natural and cultural heritage in the world

Cultural memorials, cultural landscapes and nature areas nominated for world heritage status must have a unique and universal value in the global context. When the UNESCO world heritage committee processed the nomination of Vega Island at its meeting in China on 1 July 2004, it justified its decision to award world heritage status as follows:

“Vega Island demonstrates how generations of fishermen and farmers over the past 1,500 years have maintained a sustainable way of life in tough conditions close to the Arctic Circle, a way of life based on the now unique tradition of eider farming. The status also recognises the women’s contribution to the down processing work.”

Information

To find out more about the world heritage area, visit www.verdensarvvega.no. The local Tourist Board is found under www.visitvega.no. For more information and booking for the whole Helgeland region visit www.visithelgeland.com