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Hurtigruten ASA (Norwegian Shipping Company)

Last modified: 2021-08-25 by christopher oehler
Keywords: house flag | shipping: norway | hurtigruten asa | hurtigruten route |
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Hurtigruten ASA

Though the distance makes it difficult to discern all details, from what I can see, the ship in today flies a white flag with the red and white Hurtigruten logo. This observation is confirmed by the registry of funnels and house flags kept by the Norwegian Shipping History Society (document no longer available).
Jan Oskar Engene, 26 February 2008

In 1882 Captain Richard With, later the founder of the coastal express service (Hurtigruten) and pilot Andreas Holte had precisely recorded their sails alongside the North Norwegian coast. In 1891 With gained a concession for the route on condition that he secured also the mail service to the remote North. In 1893, after he had established Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab (VDS), he sailed first from Trondheim to Hammerfest. He needed only 67 hours. At the end of the 19th century there existed three postal shipping lines, one from Trondheim to Hammerfest, another one from Bergen to Hammerfest, and the third from Hammerfest eastbound to Vadsø. In 1908 this line was extended to Kirkenes. Already in 1898 the line in the South was extended from Bergen to Stavanger. But due to the development of road connections and railways in the South it was removed in 1919.
WW2 was a disaster for the line, as many ships were either captured or sunk. The line had to use fishing trawlers instead.
Until the end of the 1970ies the line was the only supplier of some locations in the North and thus received high subsidies from the Norwegian government. Due to modern technology and shortening of wait time the number of ships could be reduced from 14 down to 11 in the 1980ies. In 1984 the postoffices on the ships were closed. During the following years the line turned more and more to a cruise line for tourists.
Ofotens og Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab (OVDS) and Troms Fylkes Dampskibsselskap (TFDS) merged on 1 March 2006 as the Hurtigruten Group, which was renamed Hurtigruten ASA in 2007.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 May 2017


(Ed: The links below go to other pages in FOTW)

A number of companies have participated through the more than one hundred years the line has been in operation:

Jan Oskar Engene, 26 February 2008

Flags at Hamburg Exhibition

Hurtigruten literally means "fast track" and was the name of a line transporting mail from Bergen to the northern parts of Norway up to Kirkenes by ship. Meanwhile Hurtigruten also carries tourists and, as far as I know, their ships are partially registered in Nassau (Bahamas).

Hurtigruten is a conglomerate of several shipping companies.

Those are:

1) Det Bergenske Dampskipsselskap A/S

[Bergenske Dampskibsselskab] image by Jan Oskar Engene

Established 12 December 1851 in Bergen. (no image, is already depicted on our pages)

Seat: Bergen
The company was established on 12 December 1851 to undertake services between Bergen and Hamburg. On year later the its first ship was bought, the paddle steamer “BERGEN”. Over the years Bergenske became the leading steamship company in Norway, running regular services to the continent, Great Britain, the Baltic, Iceland, and later even cruise and overseas cargo services. Between the 1920ies and 1960ies the company had about 2,500 employees and 30 – 40 ships.
The company went through a difficult transition in the 1970ies. In order to free reserves for new investments, its 4 coastal express liners were sold to Troms Fylkes Dampskibsselskab (TFDS) in 1979. The company was raided by speculators and in 1984 the majority passed to the Kosmos group. Bergenske became the Kosmos transport division until it was sold in December 1988 to RoNoTro A/S, a company owned by TFDS, Saltens and Stavangerske. The activities were split among the new owners, with the Nor-Cargo transport group as the major reminder.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 May 2009

2) Det Stavangerske Dampskipsselskap A/S

Stavangerske Dampskipsselskap image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 January 2009

Established 12 February 1855 in Stavanger.

Description of flag: The flag looks similar to the flag of Puerto Rico. It is a horizontal 5-stripes flag of alternating red and white stripes, the red ones perhaps slightly smaller, with a dark blue triangle at the hoist having a white 5-point star.

3) Det Nordenfjøldske Dampskipsselskap A/S

[Det Nordenfjeldske Dampskibs] image by Jarig Bakker

Established.28 January 1867 in Trondheim.

Seat: Trondheim
Established on 28 January 1857 by merchants of Trondheim, the company commenced a steamship line to Hamburg. The company co-operated with Bergenske. Both companies remained close allies and rivals for more than a century, operating coastal services in Norway, lines to Hamburg and Newcastle, coastal tourist cruises and later on a cargo line between Great Britain and the Mediterranian, as well as deep-sea shipping and cruise. After Norcem gained the majority of shares in 1984, the company was split. Nordenfjeldske Shipping A/S was to Kosmos in April 1985 and formally reduced to a subsidiary of Bergenske. The remaining activities were included in the sale of Bergenske to RoNoTro in December 1988, and its own two coastal express liners were transferred to TFDS in August 1989.
The symbol in the centre flag is an old symbol of Trondheim city since the 9th century, a similar version having five petals is on the nowadays city flag of Trondheim.
Klaus-Michael Schneider,
27 January 2009

4) Troms Fylkøs Dampskipsselskap A/S

Troms Fylkøs Dampskipsselskap image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 January 2009

Established 1 October 1888 in Tromsø.

Description of flag: It is a dark blue flag, fimbriated white and red. Within a blue field are white capital letters, one capital in each corner "TFDS" around a white 5-point star in the centre.

5) Vesteraalens Dampskipsselskap A/S

Vesteraalens Dampskipsselskap image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 January 2009

Established 10 November 1881 in Stokmarknes.

Description of flag: It is a celestial blue flag with a white edge and divided per bend by a white ribbon containing red capitals "VDS".
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 January 2009

The company was established on 10 November 1881 in Stokmarknes, initiated by Richard With. Richard With had the vision, to connect the sparsely populated North of the county with the South. He was the only one, who dared to sail the way from Bergen to Hammerfest night and day and during the winter months. The isolated villages alongside the coast of Lofoten and Vesteraalen islands badly needed transportation of the fish, caught in the region, as well as the supply with consume and economic goods, which couldn’t be produced on location. In 1893 a regular coastal service between Senja, Vesteraalen, Lofoten and Bergen was established. In addition the company operated local services in Lofoten and Vesteraalen and a cargo line between Oslo and Northern Norway, later on also deep-sea shipping. Ofotens Dampskibsselskab acquired the share majority in 1985, and on 1 January 1988 the companies merged, establishing the Ofotens and Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab (OVDS). Today there is an OVDS branch office in Stokmarknes.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 May 2017

6) Finnmarks Fylkesrederi & Ruheselskap

Finnmarks Fylkesrederi & Ruheselskap image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 January 2009

Established 13 July 1916 in Hammerfest.

Description of flag: It is a dark blue flag with a capital "F" of the same colour within a white lozenge and fimbriated white and red at the top and bottom edge.

7) Det Nordlandske Dampskipsselskap A/S

Nordlandske Dampskipsselskap image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 January 2009

Established 13 August 1927 in Bodø.

Description of flag: It is a dark blue flag with white serifed capitals "NDS" and fimbriated white and red at the top and bottom edge.

8) Ofotens Dampskipsselskap A/S

Ofotens Dampskipsselskap image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 January 2009

Established 24 July 1912 in Narvik.

Description of flag: It is red flag with a white stripe at the top and bottom edge. In the red field is a white lozenge with a black capital "O".

Table Flag

Hurtigruten table flag image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 January 2009

The company has at least a table flag, but I believe they nowadays use a white flag with the company logo, while the funnels are black with the company logo.

Description of flag: It is a white flag with a red disc in its centre. Within the disc are to white rectangles and a triangle forming a kind of "H", all above a white wave.

Source: exhibition of Hurtigruten at the Levantehaus in Hamburg on 27 February 2007.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 January 2009

The Hurtigruten Route

Well, if you ever plan to go up north
Take the sea way, that is THE way to go forth
Cause without fail
The Hurtigrute'll sail.

From Bergen all the way to Kirkeness
It's a 1400 sea mile trip, no less
But, without fail
The Hurtigrute'll sail.

Ålesund's a short stay
In Trondheim the next day
Once Nesna is gone
There will be Midnight Sun

Svolvær in the Lovoten
In Stokmarknes the ships are at home
In Hammerfest be an Ice Bear
In Honningsvåg the Cape's near

Then Kjøllefjord, Båtsfjord,
Vardø and Vadsø, you'll see
To take a trip along the coast
It's the sea route that is THE route that's the most
Cause, without fail
The Hurtigrute'll sail.

The route for a long time was sailed by a number of companies, but over time some of those dropped out while others merged. The final merger in 2005 has left a single company, that is now called Hurtigruten ASA.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 26 February 2008