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Svolvær (help·info) is the administrative centre of Vågan Municipality (9,200 inhabitants) in Lofoten, Nordland County, Norway. The town itself has a population of 4,378 as of 1 January 2006. Svolvær was separated from Vågan as a town, and municipality of its own, in 1919 - but it was again merged with Vågan January 1, 1964. The place is first mentioned in 1567 ("Suoluer"), but it is probably much older. The Norse form of the name is assumed to be Svlver. The first element is probably derived from svalr 'cool, chilly', the last element is ver n 'fishing village'. The first town formation known in North Norway, Vågar, was situated around the narrow, natural harbor near Kabelvåg, just west of Svolvær. Vågar is mentioned in Heimskringla, and might have been established as early as 800. One of the first churches in North Norway was most likely built here, approximately 900 years ago. The great cod fisheries in winter has always been the most important economical foundation for the town, but fish farming (salmon) is also important in Vågan, as is Secora and Lofotkraft. Svolvær was given township privileges in 1918, but this was discontinued following a merge with neighbouring municipalities in 1964. Township was established again in 1996.
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