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The down village Lånan

Lånan is the largest egg and down site in the Vega Archipelago World Heritage Area, and consists of several islands, islets and skerries. It has been inhabited for hundreds of years, and as many as eight families used to live here. They fished locally, went to the Lofoten fishing grounds and eventually fished with pots, in addition to cultivating the land and keeping livestock. Lånan had its own post office. No-one lives permanently on Lånan now, but the owners stay here from April to August to tend the eiders and provide accommodation and various activities. The down is used to make quilts and mittens, which the owners sell through their own firm (visit Utværet Lånan AS).  Les mer
During the Second World War, Lånan people were active in the resistance movement and the island was an important link in the illegal transport of weapons from England. Asbjørn Schultz, a young man who was one of the few survivors of the bombing of the Rigel, a ship carrying prisoners of war, was kept in hiding on Lånan.

Bird life and vegetation
The bird life is rich. Many migrating species rest here, and various ducks, geese and gulls nest here, including the northern subspecies of the lesser black-backed gull. Arctic skuas, terns and redshanks are other characteristic species.
Lånan has a very rich flora with many species that depend upon lime, as well as rare bog and aquatic plants. You can see moonwort, adder’s-tongue and several species of orchids on the former meadows, and northern yellow-cress and several species of water-starworts in moist hollows and pools. As elsewhere in the archipelago, the soil has been augmented by seaweed laid out by many generations of inhabitants. The meadows are now extremely overgrown, and the soil has been eroded in many places because it is no longer farmed.

Lånan is protected as a nature reserve and bird sanctuary. The purpose of the nature reserve is to safeguard a nationally valuable coastal site and its natural plant and animal life. It is particularly valuable for barnacle geese, which rest here on their spring migration, and as a breeding, moulting and wintering area for seabirds. It is also noted for special species and communities of plants. The purpose of the bird sanctuary is to preserve good, undisturbed breeding and growing-up sites for seabirds.

Traffic in the area
The vegetation on land and in fresh water is protected from all forms of damage and destruction. New species of plants and animals must not be introduced. The animal and bird life, with nesting sites and vegetation that are important for the habitats of the birds, are protected from all forms of damage and destruction. Dogs must be kept on a lead and should be kept away from the islands in the breeding season. It is forbidden to land in the nature reserve (i.e. anywhere except the main island where the houses are situated, and which is a bird sanctuary) from 15 April to 31 July inclusive.

Please show consideration when you are walking around. Respect people’s privacy, have regard for animal and bird life, and keep to paths and marked tracks. Remember never to light a fire, stove or grill, except on the beach. Please take your litter with you.

Photo: Rita Johansen

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