Nusfjord, one of Norway’s oldest and best-preserved fishing villages, may soon be fenced off to the general public. Only local residents and tourists willing to pay an entrance fee will be allowed into the idyllic spot if its major property owner gets its way.
Nusfjord AS owns most of the properties in the village and has invested heavily in renovations since 2003. Its leader told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Tuesday that the company is forced to charge tourists in order to cover operating costs.
“The ticket income goes towards maintenance of the toilets, to pay for parking attendants and offer historic tours,” Roar Jacobsen of Nusfjord AS told business news website E24. Until now, tourists could choose whether to pay for entry. “Not everyone who comes here pays anything, and it will all be much easier if you have to have a ticket to come in.”
Plans thus call for construction of a 20-meter-long fence around the village that would be a meter-and-a-half high with a gate. Local residents would receive a code to unlock the gate, while others would need to pay NOK 50 (around USD 6).
Opposition has been swift, also from local residents who find it distasteful to restrict access to the village in such a manner. “When I heard that it would cost money to wander along a wharf in Lofoten, I got angry,” Wibeke Johansen, who was born and reared in Nusfjord, told NRK. She also thinks the fence would violate Norway’s open-air access regulations known as allemannsretten.
The mayor of the local municipality of Flakstad on Lofoten, Hans Fredrik Sørdahl, said officials want to ensure equal access for both locals and residents. Nusfjord’s proposal to build a fence has yet to come up for political debate at the municipal council.
“The right to free access is strong here, and it will be evaluated in relation to laws and regulations,” Sørdahl told NRK.
Jacobsen of Nusfjord, an architect who has spent the past 15 years rehabilitating the village’s old wooden buildings, said the fence would give the owners better control over ticket sales that generate the revenues needed to maintain and preserve the village.
“We’re proud over what we’ve accomplished here,” he said. “There’s a lot of work behind what Nusfjord is today.”