Faroe Islands

Flag of Faroe Islands

Klaksvik, Faroe Islands

Country Faroe Islands (Link to map of Faroe Island location and main islands)
Continent Northern Europe; archipelago half way between Norway & Iceland
Capital Tórshavn
Population 50,456 (July 2016 est)
Language Faroese, Danish
Religion Christian 89% (predominantly Evangelical Lutheran)
Terrain Rugged, rocky (cliffs along most of the coast) with some low peaks.
Sports Football (aka soccer)
Animals Due to the arctic-alpine plants, wildflowers, grasses, etc. the islands have few land mammals; a few existing ones were introduced by humans (mountain hare, brown rat and house mouse).

The domestic animals on the islands are unique due to the 1200 years of isolated breeding (e.g. Faroe pony, cow, goose, sheep and duck).

The bird fauna is dominated by seabirds and other sea animals include the Faroese puffins as well as grey seals, killer whales and long-finned pilot whales.

Facts of Interest 17 inhabited islands and one uninhabited; Streymoy is the most inhabited with over 40% of the total population

Population is largely decedents from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century

Originally it was thought that Christianity was established in 999 by Sigmundur Brestisson; however, there is evidence on the Skúvoy island that Celtic Christianity arrived 150 years earlier.

Islands had a long history with Denmark, but became an autonomous country of the Kingdom of Denmark in 1948.

These rugged islands are windy, wet, cloudy, and cool; however, due to the Gulf Steam, the temperatures average above freezing throughout the year.

Concerns Whaling has been a 1000-year tradition for the islanders.  The custom (called a grind) of using small boats to drive whales (mostly pilot whales) and dolphins into a shallow bay to be killed continues to come under international scrutiny.  Whereas other whaling countries have modified or stopped their killing of whales, Faroe Islanders have refused.

In 2012, The Environmental Investigation Agency reported that a total of 2,423 pilot whales had been will over a 2-year period; an issue in its own right, but the human health issue cannot be overlooked due to the known high levels of mercury and PCB’s in the meat and blubber.

Sources en.wikipedia.org; cia.com; news.nationalgeographic.com; eia-international.org