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Faroe Islands (the s.c.nordic FAQ)
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Faroe Islands

 



Subject: 3.6 

Faroe Islands

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

3.6.1 Fact Sheet

Name: Føroyar (Danish: Færøerne)
(Bokmål: Færøyene)
(Nynorsk: Færøyane)
(Swedish: Färöarna)
(Finnish: Färsaaret)
Autonomous region of Denmark
Head of state: Queen Margrethe II represented by a High Commissioner
Flag: flaga 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 (sýslur) each with several municipalities
Area: 1,399 km²
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: Tórshavn (pop: 13,636)
Other major towns: Klaksvík (pop: 4,923 in 1987)
Religion: Evangelic-Lutheran (approximately 75%)
Currency: króna (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
 

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3.6.2 General information

The Faroe Islands consist of 18 islands of which only Koltur and Lítla Dímun are unpopulated. The largest islands are Streymoy, Eysturoy, Vágar, and Suðuroy.

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: Løgtingið, Da: Lagtinget) consists of 27-32 members. The government (Fa: Landsstýrið, 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 Føroya Banki, to the tune of 140 million USD since October 1992.



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© Copyright 1994-2001 by Antti Lahelma and Johan Olofsson.
You are free to quote this page as long as you mention the URL.
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This page was last updated February the 21st in the year of 1998.

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