Sandnessjoen a quite small town, located on the island of Alsten, with only 5700 inhabitants.
It is the community centre of the Alstadhaug municipality in Nordland county, which has a population of 7500.
Sandnessjøen became part of the municipality in 1965.
Alstahaug municipality is a community of islands, with about 917 islands and islets.
to the Alstadhaug municipality's own website, the main industries in
Alstadhaug is aquaculture and mechanical service industries.
This also includes shipbuilding and offshore activities that serve the oil industry off the coast of Helgeland.
Sandnessjoen is a port of call for the Hurtigruten, and has been so since 1891. Here is the hurtigruten M/S Polarlys at one of it's visits in July 2011.
From here you can travel with boats and ferrys to the islands like Træna, Herøy, Lovund, Lurøy, Dønna og Vega.
Sandnessjøen has it's own airport, Stokka, and the Widerøe flight company will have daily flights to and from Oslo, starting in June 2011.
This is the beautiful, old wooden Church of Sandnessjoen, build in 1882, and is to be found in the middle of the city.
The church is also called "Helgelandsbruden", which means the Bride of Helgeland.
Helgeland is the name of the region where Sandnessjøen is located.
It's a very typical Norwegian church, but well worth a visit when you visit the town.
Sandnessjøen og Alstadhaug is connected to the mainland by the Helgelandsbrua (brua = bridge).
The bridge is 1065 metres long, has 12 spans, with a main span of 425 metres.
It has a clearance to the sea on 45 metres. Helgeland Bridge was opened in 1991, and was a toll bridge until 2005.
The region has a deep history of tragedy from the WW II, and you find two war cemeteries that reminds of this:
The many Russian prisoners of war that died in Northern Norway during
WW II, was first buried in many different cemetarys in the county.
After the war, the Norwegian government decided to move these to a memorial cemetary in Tjøtta island in Alstadhaug. This was done in 1953.
More than 7500 prisoners of war are buried here, 6725 persons in a common grave and 826 in individual graves.
There is also an International War Cemetary in Alstadhaug. From the website of Alstadhaug Municipality (kommune) we quote the following text:
"This cemetery was devoted to all of those who perished
at the sinking of the troop transport ship “Rigel” on November 27, 1944.
When the Germans retreated from the northern front and Finnmark in autumn 1944, large numbers of troops were transported by sea southwards along the coast of Norway.
One of the ships used was the “Rigel” with 2,248 Russian POW’s, 103 German prisoners and some Serbs, Czechs and Norwegians on board. In addition to these were a few hundred German escort guards and a Norwegian crew, and it is assumed that there were 2,838 people on the ship. On November 27, 1944, allied aircraft attacked the “Rigel”.
The ship sank and altogether 2,457 people perished. The event is considered one of the most significant shipwrecks in the world.
The wreck lay partially submerged off the coast of Rosøya island until about 1970, but has now been removed. This cemetery was consecrated in 1970. All the graves are anonymous, but a memorial stone in the form of a cross has been erected on the site."
The temperature and climate in Sandnessjøen is rather mild, with an average temperature through the year of 5,6° C, and an average July temp. of 14,7° C.
Photo by Renate Hertneck / HRG archive