Faroe Islands - education
The education system is built according to the Danish pattern. In the 1930's,
the Danish curricula and materials were gradually adapted to Faroese conditions,
and from 1938, the Faroese language has been the language of instruction in
schools. Preschool offers are available in the form of nurseries and
kindergartens. The first seven years of primary school are compulsory, after
which most continue in the three-year secondary school. Youth education is
offered at colleges and vocational schools, and only approximately 10% of a youth
cohort do not complete an upper secondary education (1995). There are several
higher education offers, including university (Fróðskaparsetur Føroya).
The education system is administered by the Faroese authorities and is
divided into joint affairs, which are financially supported by the Danish state,
and into special affairs. Common matters are primary and lower secondary
school, seminary, business school, technical school and mechanical engineering
school, while, for example, upper secondary school, fishing school, maritime
school and university are special matters.
OFFICIAL NAME: Faroe Islands
CAPITAL CITY: Tórshavn
POPULATION: 47,200 (2007)
AREA: 1399 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Faroese, Danish
COIN: Danish krone (but own banknotes)
CURRENCY CODE: DKK
ENGLISH NAME: Faroe Islands
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Faroese 100%
GDP PER residents: $ 22,000 (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 76 years, women 83 years (2006 est.)
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .fo
Faroe Islands, archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean north of Scotland,
approximately midway between Norway and Iceland.
The islands have extensive home rule in common with Denmark and, unlike the
rest of the Danish Commonwealth (Denmark, Greenland), have never been a
member of the EC/EU.
During the 1900-t. The Faroe Islands have undergone a drastic development
from isolated and backward agricultural land, with sheep farming in particular
and some coastal fishing to a modern export economy based on fishing and the
associated fishing industry.
Faroe Islands - ecclesiastical conditions
In 2007 the Faroe Islands got their own independent national
church; previously, the Faroe Islands had been an independent diocese in the
Danish national church. Jógvan Friðriksson became the first bishop in the
Faroese national church. Although there are three times as many churches as
priests, worship is held every Sunday in all the churches. In churches where
there is no priest present, a lay service is held, ie. that the service be
conducted by a woman or man of the congregation; a printed sermon is then read,
and no baptism and communion are held.
Danish was the official church language from the Reformation until
1939; since then the Bible, hymnal and rituals have been published in Faroese.
The church in Kirkjubøur, the episcopal see of the islands until 1557, is
the only one of the 60 churches dating from the Middle Ages; ten of the churches
are wooden churches from the period 1829-47, outside black tarred with white
plinth and roof of turf, inside most often of unpainted pine.
Within the Danish National Church, there is a lay movement that is a branch
of the Danish Inner Mission. The most significant of several denominations
outside the national church is made up of a Baptist movement descended from the
English Plymouth Brethren. Both of the mentioned lay movements have always used
Faroese language in their preaching.
Faroe Islands - Constitution
The Constitution of the Faroe Islands appears partly from the Danish
Constitution of 5 June 1953, partly from the Act on the Home Rule of the Faroe
Islands of 23 March 1948, called the Home Rule Act, and partly from the Act of
24 June 2005 on the Faroese authorities' takeover of cases and subject areas.
The Constitution constitutes the common constitutional basis for Denmark, the
Faroe Islands and Greenland and states that the constitutionally constitutes a
unit with one common legislative, one common judiciary and one common executive,
which is common to the whole kingdom.
The starting point of state law has been that the competence of the home
government is delegated to the authorities of the home government, so
that the competence can be revoked unilaterally by the legislator in Denmark at
In practice, however, home rule has evolved in a way that seems to transcend
these boundaries, and recent theory has highlighted that this view no longer
corresponds to reality. The Home Rule Government, for example, collects taxes in
the Faroe Islands, makes expropriations and determines penalties directly in
accordance with the Legislative Act, even though the Constitution stipulates
that these steps can only be taken by parliamentary law. The raw material area
has also been fully taken over by the Home Rule Government, despite previous
statements that the right to underground raw materials cannot be transferred to
any single part of the kingdom. Furthermore, the Act of 24 June 2005 on the
conclusion of international agreements by the Faroese National Government has
created a legal basis for the National Government to enter into agreements on
its own with third countries and international organizations within the areas
taken over by the Home Rule Government. However, the agreements are concluded
"on behalf of the Kingdom" and under the name "Kingdom of Denmark as far as the
Faroe Islands are concerned"; they bind the kingdom as a whole, and any
international law liability for non-compliance with an agreement will therefore
rest with the whole kingdom. The law also contains the quite extensive
restriction that the National Government cannot enter into international law
agreements that affect defense and security policy, or which must apply to
Denmark as a whole, or which are negotiated within an international organization
of which Denmark is a member. The Home Rule Government must therefore, within
its objectively and geographically delimited competence, be assumed to occupy an
independent position that cannot be unilaterally changed or revoked by the
national authorities. The same applies to acts of the Home Rule Government, and
the Lagting and the National Government must, in relation to the Constitution,
be assumed to be located at the same level as the Folketing and the
government. The consequence of these considerations is that the kingdom's
constitutional unity has been broken and Denmark no longer constitutes a
constitutional unit, but rather aCommonwealth consisting of three independent
legal systems, the Danish, the Faroese and the Greenlandic, each with its own
constitutional, executive and, if necessary, judicial power.
As of 2008, the Lagting consists of 33 members; The Faroe Islands are made up
of a single constituency. The members are elected for four years at a time,
unless an extraordinary election is announced in advance. The leader of the
politically strongest party or of a coalition in the Lagting is appointed as
legislator, who then appoints the National Government of normally seven
members. The county governors do not have to be a member of the Lagting. The
Lagting and the Court of Appeal together have the legislative power, while the
National Government handles the political and administrative functions of the
Home Rule Government.
The judiciary is under the Ministry of Justice and is handled by the judge
(judge) in Tórshavn.
In the Faroe Islands, two Faroese members of parliament are elected.
Faroese members of parliament, the Faroe Islands' two representatives in the
Folketing, who since the Faroese Home Rule Act of 1948 have been elected by the
Faroese at the same time as new elections to the Folketing. Over the years,
there has been a changing practice with regard to whether the Faroese members of
parliament completely join one of the Danish parties' parliamentary groups and
participate in votes on "purely internal Danish" affairs.
Faroe Islands - the political system
the Faroe Islands were from 1035 a Norwegian tax area, until in 1380 they
together with Norway became part of the Danish kingdom. 1816-1948, the Faroe
Islands were a Danish county, and with the June Constitution of 1849, the Faroe
Islands got two elected representatives to the Riksdag, one to the Folketing and
one to the Landsting. With the Danish Kingdom's Constitution of 5 June 1953, the
Faroe Islands got two elected members of the Folketing, who have since tried to
have a good relationship with the incumbent Danish governments and promote
1852-54, the Faroe Islands got a popularly elected county council under the
name of the Lagting, which was also used for the Faroe Islands' highest assembly
in the Middle Ages. In 1872, a municipal system was introduced, which in 1997
included 49 primary municipalities.
From approximately In 1909, the Lagting was split due to a national politicization
of more independence, represented by Sjálvstýrisflokkurin (Selvstyrepartiet), or
close to Denmark, represented by Sambandsflokkurin (Sambandspartiet). In the
1920's, a socio-economic dividing line in Faroese politics also arose, first
with Javnaðarflokkurin, the Faroese Social Democratic Party, and later with a
bourgeois party, Fólkaflokkurin (Folkeflokken). Despite later more radical party
formations on the wings, eg Tjóðveldi(Republicans) who have demanded real
independence, it is still in the 1990's the national political and the
socio-economic issues that are dominant in Faroese politics. In often
conflict-filled party-political coalitions, the Faroese have since 1948 steered
towards the two goals that have been politically agreed upon: to become a Nordic
welfare state and to have an efficient fishing industry.
Faroe Islands - economy
The Faroe Islands are a prosperous society with a small and very open economy
that is vulnerable to fluctuations in fishing and in the prices of fish; in
2010, fish and fish products amounted to approximately 91% of exports. Oil drilling
and other initiatives seek to diversify the economy, which is, however, hampered
by the tendency of the highly educated to emigrate.
The country receives block grants from Denmark, in 2010 DKK 635 million. With
large economic growth in recent years, the Faroe Islands have become less
dependent on Denmark.
After a stagnation in the late 1970's and early 1980's, the country entered a
boom from 1983. The fishery was characterized by good catches and favorable
prices, and considerable investment was made in expanding the fishing
capacity. Public infrastructure investment also increased significantly. At the
same time, however, economic growth meant strong import growth, which resulted
in a large deficit on the trade and payments balance.
The economy turned around in 1989, when fishing conditions deteriorated
sharply. The Faroe Islands were suddenly hit by a deep economic recession, which
up to and including 1993 meant a total fall in GDP of approximately 1/3,
massive unemployment in spite of net emigration, falling property prices, large
government budget deficits and banking crisis. The development resulted in a
marked decline in imports, and for a number of years after 1990 there was a
To remedy the negative consequences of the crisis, the Danish government, in
agreement with the National Government, set up a fund to consolidate the banking
sector in 1992, but this was not sufficient to prevent one of the Faroe Islands'
three banks from collapsing in 1993 and the other two merging in 1994.; only
one bank remains, Føroya Banki, and three savings banks.
The National Treasury was also granted a loan on favorable terms; however,
they were made conditional on a number of requirements for fiscal and business
policy, including a quota regulation of fisheries, areas that are normally
determined sovereignly by the National Government. The demands were met with
mixed feelings, as they was considered as crisis-reinforcing and as
interference in internal affairs.
From 1995, the economy again showed great progress with large catches and
high sales prices; there was an annual growth in GDP of 5-15% until 2003. After
a number of years of being between 2 and 4%, however, the unemployment rate in
2010 rose to 6.8%.
Denmark and the Faroe Islands are in monetary union, which is why monetary
and foreign exchange relations are a common concern. Since 1951, Danmarks
Nationalbank has printed Faroese banknotes in the same values and formats as
the Danish ones. The coin circulation consists of Danish coins.
In foreign economic terms, on the other hand, the Faroe Islands are not part
of Denmark, but an independent customs area, which for the sake of national
fisheries policy is outside the EU with which trade agreements have been
concluded. The limited production options mean that the majority of the
necessary consumer and investment goods must be imported.
In 2010, total imports were DKK 4,365 million. DKK, and exports were 4639
mill. The most important trading partner is Denmark, which in 2009 decreased 11%
of exports and delivered approximately 30% of imports, but trade with the United
Kingdom, Norway and Germany is also significant.
Faroe Islands - social conditions
The Faroese social legislation is based on the same principles as the social
legislation that applies to the rest of Denmark. Apart from the statutory
accident insurance and the unemployment insurance, the social area is a common
concern, which until 1995 has been regulated in special laws for the Faroe
Islands. Over a number of years, these laws will be repealed and replaced by
social legislation, which has been passed in the Lagting. However, an adopted
framework law states which social services the forthcoming Faroese social
legislation must be able to offer as a minimum; for example, it must include
old-age and early retirement pensions, special offers for people with physical
or mental disabilities, cash benefits, day care and assistance measures for
children and young people, as well as rehabilitation assistance and unemployment
benefits due to illness or maternity leave.
Since 1975, the Faroese Home Rule Government at Almannastovan
(Socialdirektoratet) has been responsible for the administration of social
legislation. Expenditure on social benefits and social services is financed
partly by taxes in the Faroe Islands and partly by subsidies from the Danish
state. The previous state reimbursements in the social area finally lapsed in
1993, after which the state subsidy to the Faroe Islands was combined into a
block subsidy, in 1996 approximately 860 million kr.
In 1992, a general Faroese unemployment insurance was introduced, which is
financed by contributions paid by employers and employees and administered by
the social partners. At the end of 1995, the unemployment rate was 16%.
Faroe Islands - health conditions
life expectancy in the Faroe Islands is 79.6 years for women, two years
longer than in Denmark. For men, it is 72.8 years, slightly longer than in
Denmark. The mortality rate in the first year of life is 9 per 1000 live births,
approximately 50% higher than in Denmark. The mortality rate from accidents and
cardiovascular diseases is roughly the same as in Denmark, while the cancer
mortality rate in both men and women is lower. The incidence of breast cancer is
less than half that of Danes, and the same applies to lung cancer in both sexes.
In 1994, sales of tobacco were 1.9 kg per residents, i.e. approximately 2/3 of
the Danish and the consumption of alcohol is about 50% of the Danish. In 1994,
the Faroe Islands spent 9.4% of its GDP on health care, which is predominantly
publicly funded, mainly by the National Treasury, but also with block grants
from Denmark. approximately 2/3 of the cost goes to the
hospitals, of which there is a greater in Torshavn (Landssjúkrahúsið)
and two small in Klaksvík and Suðuroy with a total of 303 beds (1994). In the
same year, there were 81 doctors in the Faroe Islands, of which 25 were general
practitioners (municipal doctors )), and 385 nurses. There
were relatively slightly more nurses on the islands than in Denmark, while there
were only 1.7 doctors per year. 1000 residents against 2.8 in Denmark.
Faroe Islands - management
According to the Home Rule Act of 1948, public administration is exercised
partly by the home rule and partly by the national authorities. The Home Rule's
legislative activities are handled by the Lagting and its administration by
the National Government, ie. the political leadership elected by the Lagting
and its administrative staff. The leader of the National Board is called the
legislator, the other members are the national board members.
Former collegiate government was replaced in 1996 by ministerial government,
and there are laws on the accountability, publicity of public governors and an
The administration is divided into a law office with responsibility for
e.g. relations with Denmark, foreign, security and defense matters as well as 7
national government areas for resp. home affairs, business, finance, fisheries,
health, social affairs and education. In 2000, the institution Lagting's
Ombudsman was established for the purpose of supervising the administration of
the Home Rule Government.
Pursuant to the Home Rule Act, the Home Rule Act has taken over a number of
areas such as special matters, eg taxes, finance, municipal affairs,
fisheries, production, trade, traffic, culture, education, the national church,
public welfare, ships' safety at sea (the Danish Ship Inspectorate), property,
copyright and criminal law and radio communication.
In special cases, the home government has the legislative and administrative
competence and pays the costs in this connection. Non-taken over case areas are
handled by the national authorities as common affairs. However, some
joint affairs are administered by the home government, in particular the
hospital system, with block grants from the Danish state.
The administration of the Home Rule is exercised by a number of institutions
and directorates, eg Almannastovan (Socialdirektoratet) and Toll- og Skattstova
Føroya. The National Ombudsman is the state's highest representative in the
Faroe Islands and the liaison between the home government and the government,
just as he handles the area of supremacy.
Other state institutions are the police, whose chief is called the
land bailiff (police chief), and with a division of the country into 3 police
districts; the court in the Faroe Islands, which consists of two
magistrates (judges), the probation service, the national doctor's
office, the water service and the Arctic Command - with
headquarters in Nuuk - which performs fisheries inspection and assertion of
Following a series of mergers of municipalities, most recently in 2009, there
are 30 Faroese municipalities. The largest is Tórshavn, the
smallest Fugloy. The municipalities' most important tasks are within the
welfare service, the primary school, the primary health service as well as
roads, ports and landing sites.
Faroe Islands - legal system
After the introduction of home rule in 1948, the Faroese legal system
consists of both Faroese and Danish rules.
In the areas that have been taken over by the Home Rule Government as
Faroese special matters, Lagtings laws are passed after three
readings in the Lagting, and the National Government may, in accordance with the
Lagtings Act, issue administrative notices. The Home Rule's laws and
announcements are published in Kunngerðablaðið.
The original scheme in the Home Rule Act of 1948 was that the Home Rule could
take over a number of case areas as special matters, which were
positively listed in Appendix A to the Home Rule Act, and for which the Home
Rule also took over the legislative and administrative competence and also
incurred the costs. By virtue of this, the Home Rule Government had taken over
all the most important areas in the Faroe Islands, including tax, finance,
fisheries, social conditions, education, trade and traffic. With the Joint
Declaration of 4 April 2005 between the Faroese Attorney General and the
Danish Prime Minister and by Act of 24 June 2005 on the Faroese authorities'
takeover of cases and case areas, a legal basis has now been created for the
Faroese authorities to take over other case areas than those originally listed
in Appendix A to the Home Rule Act.. The new areas include passports,
aviation, foreigners, the Danish National Church, property law, personal, family
and inheritance law, criminal law, police, probation and the administration of
justice. From having a "positive list" of areas that the Home Rule Government
could take over, one now has a "negative list" of the areas that cannot be taken
over, including the areas that have to do with the Constitution, citizenship,
the Supreme Court, foreign affairs, security and defense policy as well as
monetary and monetary policy.
Cases that have not been taken over by the Faroese Home Rule Government as
special matters are joint affairs and are handled as a starting point
by the national authorities, but certain joint affairs are nevertheless
administered by the Home Rule Government with block grants from the Danish
state, e.g. the hospital system. These areas remain principally national affairs
and are financed via block grants from Denmark, but are regulated in practice by
the Home Rule Government. Danish laws and executive orders in these areas are
submitted to the Home Rule Government and published in Kunngerðablaðið.
Raw materials in the subsoil were originally reserved on a list in Appendix B
to the Home Rule Act as a case area that, after later negotiation, could be
transferred to the Faroe Islands as a special matter. In December 1992, a final
agreement was reached between the government and the National Government on the
latter's complete takeover of both regulation and financing of the area.
Police and courts in the Faroe Islands continue to fall under the Ministry of
Justice, but according to recent theory, these areas can also be taken over by
the Home Rule Government.
Under the auspices of the Prime Minister's Office, a special Law Register for
the Faroe Islands is regularly published, which can be viewed on the Ombudsman's
Faroe Islands - Libraries and archives
Føroya Landsbókasavn (grdl. 1828, building from 1979) is the country's
national and central library and also serves the university. The locals of
Tórshavn mainly use the municipal library, Býarbókasavnið, grdl. 1969.
Føroya Landsskjalasavn is the Faroe Islands' National Archive in Tórshavn,
grdl. 1932; however, a centralized collection of the Faroese official archives
began as early as 1859. Archives from the 1600's are stored in the National
Archives. to the present, the islands' oldest church book from Østerø
(Eysturoy) 1688 and the lagting archive back to 1614.
The nationwide cultural history museum is called Føroya Fornminnissavn.
Faroe Islands - print mass media
The Islands' first newspaper, Færingetidende, was published in 1852, but only
with nine issues, when it was closed after the Faroese's fierce criticism of the
Danish officials and the Danish monopoly trade. In 1878, the first regular
newspaper, Dimmalætting, was established, which quickly gained a lasting
foothold with a mixture of foreign material, Faroese material and debate.
Other newspapers were more pronouncedly launched on the subject of public
opinion, especially party politics. The first newspaper of this kind in Faroese
was Föringatíðindi. The party press remained intact longer than in the other
Nordic countries, by virtue of large subsidies from the political
parties. As a result, the islands had nine newspapers in 1989, when newspaper
First and foremost, however, the development of print media is conditioned by
the late emergence of radio and television. Virtually all households have kept
more than one newspaper because the newspapers have only issued 1-3 issues per
issue. week. Only the two largest, Dimmalætting and Sosialurin, the latter
under changing names, went on to be published five times a week. Oyggjatíðindi
has not had a printed version of the newspaper since 2011. Dimmalætting went
bankrupt in 2013.
Of the now closed newspapers, Tingakrossur in particular played a role as an
organ for Sjálvstýrisflokkurin (Self-Government Party) and on 14 September as an
organ for radical separatists.
The Faroese provincial press consists of the weekly newspaper Nordlysið in
Klaksvík, which has been published with breaks since 1915. Other cities have
only briefly had their own newspapers or newspaper-like publications.
Faroe Islands - electronic mass media
Radio and television came to the Faroe Islands relatively late. In 1952, a
circle of private initiators began experimenting with radio, but only with the
establishment of Útvarp Føroya (Faroe Islands Radio) in 1957 did this
linguistically very important medium gain the support of the Lagting.
Similarly, Faroese television was originally founded on private initiative
(in 1979), and in 1984 was taken over by a new public institution, Sjónvarp
Føroya (Faroese Television).
Pr. In 2005, the two organizations merged into one organization, Kringvarp
Føroya, which broadcasts both radio and television and runs a joint website
www.kringvarp.fo with news services, links to programs, etc. It is broadcast in
Faroese, but in the case of television, Danish and foreign programs are also
broadcast from DR and TV 2/Denmark.
The broadcasts are funded by a mix of licensing, advertising and revenue at
Radio and TV Bingo. After being directly controlled by the Faroese Ministry of
Culture, established per. January 1, 2007 a board of directors for Kringvarp
In addition to Kringvarp Føroya, there are a number of local radio and
television companies, which, however, primarily broadcast Danish and foreign
radio and television channels.
Faroe Islands - visual arts and architecture
The first testimonies of a pictorial culture in the Faroe Islands date from
the Viking Age and include of smaller utensils adorned with Celtic-inspired
Medieval art is best known from the small settlement of Kirkjubøur, which
was then the episcopal see of the Faroe Islands. Here are the ruins of the
probably never completed, Gothic Magnus Cathedral, begun approximately 1300. Of the
decoration is preserved a Calvary representation on the cover plate of St.
Magnus' reliquary and a Madonna with the child (Føroya Fornminnissavn,
The museum also has plaster casts of 14 carved chair ends from approximately 1400,
which during the renovation of St. Olav's Church in Kirkjubøur was among the
furniture that in 1874 was transferred to the National Museum in Copenhagen.
In the centuries after 1400, the traditions of woodcarving in particular were
kept alive. Fine examples are the decorative works of the many folk artists in
the new wooden churches of the 19th century, for example in Skálavík, which the
farmer Tróndur á Trøð (1846-1933) decorated. From this period the first Faroese
painter, Díðrikur á Skarvanesi (1802-65), is known, who especially painted
With an incipient prosperity at the end of the 19th century, interest in the
art of painting and in teaching the subject grew, and many artists have since
been educated, especially in Copenhagen, but also in Norway and Iceland. Niels
Kruse (1871-1953) and Christen Holm Isaksen (1877-1935) were together with
Jógvan Waagstein (1879-1949) pioneers in landscape painting.
Samuel Joensen-Mikines, who attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen
1928-32, is, however, the real pioneer in Faroese art. With him, the expressive
and narrative imagery was created, which has since become the epitome of Faroese
art, and with him, Faroese art also gained recognition outside the
country. Mikines painted the gate killing, he made room for the drama in nature,
for the harsh conditions of reality and the big emotions, but he also depicted
quiet motifs from the small settlements.
William Heinesen is best known as an author, but also gained popularity with
his paper collages, book illustrations and public decorations; like the graphic
artist Elinborg Lützen (1919-95), he often worked with myths and
legends. Outside the tradition are e.g. Ruth Smith (1913-58), Bergithe
Johannessen (1905-95) and Hans Hansen (1920-70).
One of the most significant painters of recent times is Ingálvur av Reyni,
who renounces the narrative tradition in favor of an increasingly abstract and
spontaneous painting; especially the intense color and strong but are also
among Zacharias Heinesen and Amariel Norðoy while Tummas Arge (1942-78) saw
nature in a new intimate perspective.
Olivur við Neyst (b. 1953) and Torbjørn Olsen (b. 1956) have not only renewed
the art of portraiture, but also helped to give graphics new life.
The sculptors Janus Kamban (1913-2009) and Fridtjof Joensen (1920-88) created
the basis for a modern sculptural art, often with naturalistic everyday motifs
and with the Faroese basalt as material.
Hans Pauli Olsen experiments especially with the human figure, and the
multi-artist Tróndur Patursson (b. 1944) has, among other things. created
decorations in glass. Barður Jákupsson (b. 1943) is also active in several
genres; he is also a writer and director of Listasavn Føroya (Faroe Islands Art
Museum), which opened in 1989. Ingi Joensen (b. 1953) creates staged
The visual arts are a central and integral part of Faroese society, the
number of both amateur artists and professionals is large, there is an active
audience, and many exhibitions are held, especially in Tórshavn and
Klaksvík. Public decorations are found in large numbers, and many artists work
with, for example, book illustrations and theatrical scenery.
Since 1948, the Faroese Art Association has every year around St. Olai's Day
(29/7) arranged the Olavsøkuframsyningin (Olai exhibition) in Tórshavn,
where many young artists have made their debut. The Graphic Workshop opened in
1993 in the former exhibition building Listaskálin in Tórshavn.
The traditional Faroese building style with the use of tarred wood, basalt,
grass roofs and with the gable as an important part of the expression has been
continued in much contemporary architecture, eg Christianskirken in Klaksvík
(1963) and in Tórshavn Nordens Hus (1983) and Færøernes Kunstmuseum (1989)
. With its very large copper roof, Vesturkirkjan from 1975 is a distinctive
break with tradition.
Faroese visual art was also vibrant at the end of the 20th
century. Established artists have further developed their style or motif circle,
eg Eyðun av Reyni (b. 1951), Hans Pauli Olsen and Torbjørn Olsen (b. 1956) with
his two very large altar paintings for the churches in Haldarsvík (1996) and
Innovation is also seen in textile artists such as Súsan í Jákupsstovu (b.
1946) and the Finnish-born Tita Vinther (b. 1941), who in some works approach a
But more important for Faroese art life is that new talents have flowed in:
the graphic artists Marius Olsen (b. 1963) and Karstin Olgar Lamhauge (b. 1971),
the painters Anker Mortensen (b. 1961), Hansina Iversen (b. 1966), Hanni
Bjartalið (b. 1968) and Øssur Johannesen (b. 1970), who is also a musician and
author, as well as Edward Fuglø (b. 1965), who is a set designer, costume
designer, painter and book illustrator.
Rannvá Pálsdóttir (b. 1975) is also known by a Danish audience for her images
of the body's inner life and structure.
Significant exhibitions in the Faroe Islands are the censored Spring
Exhibition, organized by the Association of Visual Artists and held in March in
Listaskálin at the Art Museum, the Olai exhibition, which is held around Olai
day 29/7 in the same place, and from 2001 the new Listastevna Føroya, Faroe
Islands Culture Festival. held in August in Nordens Hus.
Faroe Islands - theater
Folkeminde collector and linguist J.Chr. In his Reports from a Journey in
the Faroe Islands 1781-82, Svabo tells of young students who
returned to Tórshavn and performed Holberg's The Eleventh of June and The
Political Pitcher. Actors and the audience for the theater came mainly
from the Danish authorities in the Faroe Islands. approximately In 1890, the Faroese
play was born as a manifestation of the language and the national
movement; newly written and translated melodramas and singing plays saw the
light of day. Havnar Sjónleikarfelag (Thorshavn Teaterforening, 1918) with its
own theater, Sjónleikarhúsið (1926), unofficially became the islands' national
After World War II, the demands for an artistic theater grew; Among other
things, met the audience and the language the classic drama: Ibsen, Strindberg,
Shakespeare, Beckett. In the 1960's, education and professionalism gained ground,
and in 1973, acting came under the Faroese Finance Act. The professional theater
group GRÍMA ('mask') was formed in 1976.
Faroe Islands - dance
The Faroese's most important dance is the quad dance, a song dance to their
own accompaniment. The dance, which consists of a very simple step pattern, has
roots in the Middle Ages. It is led by a lead singer (skipari), who
is responsible for the songs and the Danish songs, which are the text's textual
and musical basis of existence, work. Previously, people only danced at weddings
and on certain days. The "dance time" stretched from the eve of Christmas Day to
Shrove Tuesday; during this period, dances were performed on public holidays,
New Year's Day, Holy Trinity, Candlemas and at Shrove Tuesday. In addition,
there was dancing on St. John's Day and St. Olai's Day (29/7). In some places,
parties were held according to both old and new calendars. During Lent, when you
were not allowed to dance, you played singing games, the so-called dance
games. In the first half of the 1800's. couple dancing to instrumental music
became popular in the Faroe Islands. Many of the new dances were of English
origin, and the couple dances therefore came to be known as the English
dance dance clock. Today, the quad dance is mostly danced in associations
and on festive occasions.
Faroe Islands - music
Faroese traditional music is fundamentally characterized by two factors: the
islands' isolated location, which has provided rich opportunities for the
national distinctiveness to be developed and maintained, and the fact that music
culture until recently has been purely vocal, as musical instruments did not
exist at all.
The most well-known and most striking musical genre is the ballad kvæði,
which has roots in the Middle Ages and is used in connection with the Faroese
chain dance, kvaddansen. The performance takes place as an alternating song,
with the lead singer singing the text part of the verses; after he has composed
the verse, he may be helped in the song by the other dancers, but these sing
first and foremost the middle choruses and the long choruses. The chorus
constitutes the musical center of gravity of the verse and is firmer in its
melodic design than the verse part, which has a more reciting, linguistic and
formulaic character. A characteristic feature of this common form of singing is
furthermore that different variants of the melody are sometimes sung at the same
time, whereby a form of heterophony arises .
In addition to the purely Faroese ballads, there have been since the 1600's. A
number of Danish-language ballads have been sung, first and foremost transmitted
through Anders Sørensen Vedel's and Peder Syv's printed song editions. Over
time, the imported melodies have been reshaped and thus approximated to the
Faroese melody structure.
The ballads were also formerly used during the working time at home in the
winter, the evening seat. The songs were performed solo here, and this
meant that the long choruses were often shortened drastically. That even the
epic production itself was contracted by the evening song is put forward as a
hypothesis, but not documented.
Another prominent folk music genre that can still be found in living
tradition is the folk hymn singing, which was previously used both in church and
at house devotion. The well-known Protestant hymn melodies came to the islands
in the post-Reformation period, where they were first and foremost widespread in
connection with the use of the King's hymnal. As in the rest of the Nordic
countries and elsewhere in Northern Europe, they formed the basis for a popular
singing style, king singing, which on the one hand simplifies the
musical structure and approximates it to the rest of the Faroese musical
tradition, while on the other hand it enriches it with embellishments and
melisms. During the song, there can be a certain improvisation also from verse
to verse with octave shifts, which can create a very varied melody
sequence, possibly. with the character of tone painting. In the early
1900-t. the collective use of this style of hymn slipped out, first as a result
of the ecclesiastical hymn reform that removed it from worship, and later by the
fact that house devotion disappeared from homes.
One genre still in operation is shellfish, which includes rhymes,
strips, small songs and lullabies used by adults towards children. While they
textually show close kinship with the rest of the Nordic region and especially
with Norway, musically they have clearly seen their own design with special
melodic phrases. The melodies are predominantly syllabic and constructed as
chains of short melodic formulas. These formulas can be linked together quite
freely, but are usually terminated by a special final formula. The tone range is
quite narrow, often a six, and larger jumps occur only rarely.
Newer musical traditions
Newer musical traditions can be found partly in the Scandinavian-language
sailor songs and penny pressure songs, which are sung on social occasions, and
partly in the melodies for the new dance tradition that came to the islands in
the early 1900's.
In compositional music, choral singing in the 1900's. been very popular with a
number of composers; instrumental music is only known in earnest approximately 1985.
Some of the composers draw inspiration from traditional music, while others are
influenced by modernist European and American currents.
Important for both composition music and jazz are the municipal music
schools, whose teachers form a significant part of the basis for the Føroya
Symphony Orchestra and Tórshavn's Bigband.
Faroe Islands - film
The Faroe Islands are the Nordic region's youngest film nation. The first
professional feature film, Atlantic Rhapsody (1989), was followed by The
Man Who Was Allowed to Go (1994, The Man Didn't Go); both
well-placed and humorous portrayals of Tórshavn with amateurs in the roles and
directed by Katrin Ottarsdóttir (b. 1957), who continued with the
Danish-produced comedy Bye Bye Blue Bird (1999), about two girls
returning to their homeland after several years abroad. Previously, the Faroese
nature has formed the background for Erik Balling's Faith, Hope and
Witchcraft (1960) with a manuscript by William Heinesen and the West
German Barbara (1961) afterJørgen-Frantz Jacobsen's novel, which was
again filmed by Nils Malmros in 1996. The Danish director Ulla Boje Rasmussen's
(b. 1950) documentary 1700 meters from the future (1990) and Tre
blink mod vest (1992) are distinguished examples of this genre's ability to
illuminate changing social structures.