It would seem that the further north you go, the more the seasons leave their mark on the local inhabitants. There is greater variation in the north, and the contrast between the Midnight Sun and the Dark Season has an effect on most of the people there.
The following is a brief account of how the year unfolds in Henningsvær:
January 6: The sun reappears above the horizon for the first time after a month of darkness.
The Lofoten Fishing Season gradually begins in February, although it is not until March that the visiting boats begin to fill the harbour in Henningsvær. The fishing season reaches its peak during the six to eight weeks from the beginning of March until late April. Then the village is busy and full of life with several hundred visiting fishing boats and hectic activity at all the fish halls and landing stations.
March 21 is vernal equinox, and the daytime lasts equally as long all over the country, but from then on, the further north you go, the longer the daylight lasts.
The spring comes slowly to Lofoten. Even though the days get longer, and it gradually becomes light all night, it takes a long time for the winter to let go. There may easily be snowfall in April, but there may also be fantastic Easter weather, too. It takes a long time, however, before the surroundings turn really green, and it is not until the last week of May that the birch trees are lush and their foliage fully unfolded. But then nature finally bursts into bloom, the flowers blossom, and within a couple of weeks, the landscape is lush and luxuriant.
June 5 is the first day the sun can be seen above the horizon all night long. In Henningsvær, however, it does disappear behind the mountains in the north, but if you drive out to Gimsøy, for instance, you will have a first class view of the Midnight Sun.
June 23 is mid-summer’s eve – the brightest night of the year.
July is the peak season for the tourist industry in Henningsvær, and the village becomes a hive of activity night and day. After the general public holidays, things calm down a bit, and there are fewer Norwegian holidaymakers, but still a large number of visitors from Germany and southern Europe.
The autumn is changeable and unpredictable. Some years the mountainsides come alive in every imaginable shade of red and yellow – other years, all the leaves are lost in the autumn storms before they even manage to turn yellow. This is what happened in 1986, when the hurricane "Frode" hit Henningsvær with full force, tearing down several houses there.
September 22 is autumnal equinox, and from then on it quickly gets darker and darker. The days become discernibly shorter and Henningsvær prepares for the dark season, and what almost seems like a kind of winter hibernation.
On December 6, the sun can be seen for the last time before retiring below the horizon for a whole month. It is not completely dark all the time during the dark season, however. Around mid-day, there are a few hours of "blue light", and in this kind of winter illumination, Lofoten can sometimes be at its most beautiful. At times like this, the Northern Lights may also be seen dancing across the skies on clear crisp nights.
Henningsvær In Lofoten
Henningsvær is a fishing village on the Lofoten Wall which used to have a very specialized reason for being - it was home to many fishermen during the big cod catches in spring every year.
Henningsvær is spread out over a number of small islands, between Stamsund and Svolvær. The roads going to Henningsvær are relatively new, and until the fishing decreased in importance after the Second World War most traffic was on the water.
Today Henningsvær is a much visited tourism sight, and the houses in the village are being restored and put to use as hotels and galleries.
The color of the houses used to indicate the wealth of the owner. Red color means that the paint was made of the cheapest materials, fish blood and fish oil. The yellow was nationally produced and could not be made locally and a bit more expensive, and the white was made from imported zinc, and was the most expensive color.
Currently there are some 750 inhabitants in Henningsvær. Because it's pretty far out in the boondocks, not many Norwegians wanted to live here, but in order to keep the village from becoming one large summerhouse area, the municipality decided that you cannot buy a house here without also living in it. Consequently Henningsvær is still pretty sparsely inhabited.
These drying racks are still in use every spring. Cods are hung to dry for a few months, and then brought indoor where it is sorted into one of some 20 different qualities and sold to especially Italy.