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Nordic FAQ - 3 of 7 - DENMARK
Section - 3.6 Faroe Islands

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   <From: Jens C. Madsen & Jacob Sparre Andersen>
  3.6.1 Fact Sheet

Name:  F°royar (Danish: FŠr°erne)
               (Bokmňl: FŠr°yene)
               (Nynorsk: FŠr°yane)
               (Swedish: Fńr÷arna)
               (Finnish: Fńrsaaret)
       Autonomous region of Denmark

Head of state:  Queen Margrethe II represented by a High Commissioner

Flag:  a red Nordic cross outlined in blue on a white background,
       dimensions (6-1-2-1-12 * 6-1-2-1-6)

Languages:  Faroese, Danish (both official)

Administrative units:  7 counties (sřslur) each with several municipalities

Area:  1,399 km▓

Terrain:  18 islands of volcanic origin, steep cliffs,

Land boundaries:  None

Population:  48,065 (1993)  - Much lower today, because of economic crisis

Life expectancy:  male: 74.5 years, female: 81.5 years

Capital:  Tˇrshavn (pop: 13,636)

Other major towns:  KlaksvÝk (pop: 4,923 in 1987)

Religion:  Evangelic-Lutheran (approximately 75%)

Currency:  krˇna (Danish crown, DKK).
           The Faroes issue their own bank notes but use Danish coins.

Climate:  temperate sea-climate.
          Average temp.: 3 C in the coldest month, 11 C in the warmest

Annual precipitation:  1430 mm

Natural resources:  fish, sheep, potatoes, whaling

Exports:  fish and fish products (88% of total export), ships

  3.6.2 General information
   The Faroe Islands consist of 18 islands of which only Koltur and LÝtla
   DÝmun are unpopulated. The largest islands are Streymoy, Eysturoy,
   Vßgar, and Su­uroy.
   The inhabitants of the Faroe Islands descend from the Viking settlers
   who arrived in the 9th century and the pre-existing Celtic population.
   Apart from fishing and sheep husbandry the Faroese have traditionally
   also been netting birds, gathering eggs, and hunting the small pilot
   whale. These activities remain an important supplement to the economy
   in the Faroese society today. The Faroese have a rich cultural
   heritage; language and customs (such as the old traditional Faroese
   chain dance) are kept very much alive.
   The parliament (Fa: L°gtingi­, Da: Lagtinget) consists of 27-32
   members. The government (Fa: Landsstřri­, Da: Landsstyret) has
   executive power in all local affairs. The political parties in the
   Faroe Islands cover the traditional left-right spectrum. But in
   addition to that (and independent from that) there is another
   political spectrum regarding the relations to Denmark; from unionists
   over more-home-rule advocates to republicans. The Faroes elect two
   members to the Danish parliament.
   These days the Faroese must cope with the decline of the all-important
   fishing industry and one of the world's heaviest per capita external
   debts of nearly 30,000 USD. The fishing industry has been plagued with
   bankruptcies. Denmark has threatened to withhold its annual subsidy of
   130 million USD - roughly one-third of the islands' budget revenues -
   unless the Faroese make significant efforts to balance their budget.
   In addition to its annual subsidy, the Danish government has (through
   the Faroese government) bailed out the second largest bank, the F°roya
   Banki, to the tune of 140 million USD since October 1992.

[ the sections above are available at the www-page ]

  3.6.3 History
   ca.600 ?
          Celtic settlers (Irish monks) make it to the Faroes.
          The Faroe Islands are colonized by Norwegian settlers.
          The Faroe Islands become a Norwegian dependency.
          Along with Norway, the Faroes become united with Denmark.
          The Faroes become (technically) a part of Zealand, Denmark.
          When Denmark cedes Norway in the peace treaty of Kiel, the
          Faroes remain with Denmark.
          The independence movement starts.
          The Faroes are occupied by British forces during WWII. Trade
          with the UK leads to economic growth. The Faroese flag is
          commonly used since the UK does not tolerate the flag of
          German-occupied Denmark.
          The Faroe Islands are granted autonomy within the Danish
          When Denmark joins the European Community (EC) the Faroe
          Islands choose to stay outside the EC.
          Good prospects in the fishing industry lead the Faroes to
          invest large sums in infrastructure to prevent depopulation of
          small villages.
          A recession in the fishing industry leaves the Faroes with a
          large debt and in an economic crisis. Emigration to Denmark

[ the sections above are available at the www-page ]

  3.6.4 Main tourist attractions
   You can get to the Faroes by air from Copenhagen daily (Maersk Air and
   Atlantic Airways). There are several weekly connections from Iceland
   with Icelandair. The airport is located on the island of Vßgar with a
   bus-ferry-bus shuttle to Tˇrshavn. Also Smyril Line operates the ferry
   Norr÷na during the summer months in cooperation with Scandinavian
   Seaways. The ferry sails to Tˇrshavn from Esbjerg (Denmark) on
   Saturdays; from Bergen (Norway) on Tuesdays; and from Sey­isfj÷r­ur
   (Iceland) on Thursdays (1994 schedule). Strandfaraskip Landsins is
   operating Smyril on the route to Scotland once a week.
   There is an official camping site in Tˇrshavn and Selatra­. There are
   a few youth hostels on the islands and a few hotels also. Camping can
   be a somewhat wet experience since the weather is highly variable -
   even for Nordic standards, but on a clear day the views are absolutely
   Popular places are the westernmost island of Mykines with its large
   colonies of gannets (S˙la; sea birds); - on Streymoy the ruins of the
   never-finished Magnus Cathedral at Kirkjub°ur, the tiny community of
   Saksun with its magnificent fjord and the bird-cliffs between Saksun
   and Vestmanna. Also, the capital Tˇrshavn is a very charming city with
   small narrow streets and beautiful old houses in the center. On
   Eysturoy some attractions are the rock formations "Risin og kellingin"
   north of Ei­i; the village of Gjˇgv with its very characteristic
   natural harbour - and nice youth hostel. Also SlŠttaratindur, the
   islands' highest point of 882 m is a popular destination for a hike.
   < From: Durant Imboden >
   - The Faroe Islands, a Danish dependency in the North Atlantic reached
   via car ferry from Esbjerg on the Smyril Line. (It's a two-night
   trip.) You can continue on to a fishing town in Eastern Iceland, if
   you like, in which case you'll see some lovely and dramatic scenery as
   you pass between the islands on the m/v Norr÷na.

[ the sections above are available at the www-page ]

  3.6.5 Faroese literature and language
   The Faroese language resembles both Icelandic and Western Norwegian
   dialects. It is almost mutually intelligible with other North Germanic
   languages - at least in its written form. The written form of Faroese
   was established in the 19th century by Venzel Hammershaimb and modeled
   after Icelandic with almost the same alphabet. Written Faroese
   apperared rather late and at a time when the language was under strong
   pressure from Danish, which had become the established language for
   the church and civil servants of the Faroes. But when written Faroese
   was established, it meant a great boost for Faroese culture and
   language. Today the Faroes have one of the highest number of books
   published per capita. The best known authors are William Heinesen
   (1900-1991) and He­in Br˙ (alias Hans Jacob Jacobsen, 1901-1987).

[ the sections above are available at the www-page ]


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