E69 is the world’s northernmost highway and one of Norway’s marvels of engineering.
From the BBC:
Running 129km north from Olderfjord to Nordkapp on a finger of land at the top of Arctic Norway, the E69 is the world’s most northerly highway, a marvel of engineering along the coast of Western Europe’s northernmost peninsula. First proposed as early as 1908 by Landslaget for Reiselivet i Norge (the country’s fledgling national tourist association), yet only completed in 1999, the road is a brilliant contradiction, connecting a handful of remote and fragile fishing communities that have long proven they are capable of living without the outside world. For many, wooden boats continue to satisfy their needs.
To drive the road today is to glimpse Norway’s wilderness at its rawest. Obsidian-black bluffs rise up over narrow sea inlets; mountains lurch into the windshield before giving way to vast plateaus pockmarked by dwarf birch; and violent storms frequently roll in from the intimidating Barents Sea. Come winter, the last stretch to Nordkapp and the abrupt cliffs of Knivskjellodden, Europe’s fabled northernmost point, becomes nearly impassable, only open for convoy driving. Without the highway, it’s easy for a first-time visitor to think that the villages along the route would be on the verge of disappearing.
The creation of the E69 came about in the 1930s to counter a downturn in the fishing industry, which brooded on the horizon after Nordkapp fishermen lost control of exclusive concession rights. New sources of income for the fishermen had to be found and a mass meeting was held in 1934 in Honningsvåg, Nordkapp’s most populous village, with harbour bosses demanding the municipal council prioritise a national highway to solve the problem.
This page was last updated on 2018.12.23