The Grip archipelago consists of 82 islets and skerries 14 km into the Norwegian Sea northwest off Kristiansund in Norway. The fishing village is located on Gripholmen, which is the largest and only habitable islet. On the south side of the fishing village is the main harbour, protected by two breakwaters. The older and northern harbour is smaller and less protected. Other breakwaters protects the fishing village from large ocean waves. The highest point is just 10 m above mean sea level.
Grip lighthouse, was built between 1885 and 1888 on the just 7 m high islet Bratthårskollen, north of Gripholmen. The 47 m tall lighthouse is a cast iron tower on a large stonemasonry foundation. It is the second tallest lighthouse tower in Norway, with a light range of 19 nautical miles. The islet is barren rock with just the lighthouse tower, a concrete boathouse and two wharves. A radio beacon was operated between 1947 and 1986. Grip lighthouse was electrified in 1932, and is unmanned after it was automated in 1977. In 2000 it became protected as a cultural heritage site.
The first indications of settlement at Grip is from the 9th century, where fishermen settled close to the fishing grounds. Grip might because of that, be the oldest settlement in the Nordmøre district. Exports of fish from Norwegian fishing villages became important during the monopoly of the Hanseatic League. Grip stave church is thought to have been constructed around 1470. The village belonged to the archbishop of Norway until the protestant reformation of Denmark-Norway in 1536.
Merchant Hans Horneman in Trondheim bought the islet from King Frederick IV in 1728 and the fishermen and their families became, in effect, vassals. The fishermen had to sell the catch to the merchants at a price decided by them later. This arrangement lasted until it was forbidden in 1893. The merchants, becoming landlords, also bought most of the private properties.
The population fluctuated for centuries, following the profitability of fishing, between 100 and 400 people. A now deserted village, it was once a busy place, when 2000 fishermen could stay there during the height of the fishing season, when fishermen rowed and sailed to Grip from all over, to catch cod. Centralization led to a declining population after World War II, and Grip became deserted in 1974 when Hildur and Kasper Larsen left just before christmas.
After being deserted, the old houses has become popular summer houses, and in the summer Grip has about 250 residents, primarily the earlier population and their decendants in Kristiansund. The harbour is still a popular dock for small fishing vessels, and the village is a popular destination for tourism in Kristiansund. In the summer season, a highspeed passenger ferry connects Grip to Kristiansund with one or two 30 minute crossings from the town centre every day.
When the diesel generator was started in 1950, the population was supplied with electric energy. The summer residents now get their electricity from 0700 to 2300 with two generators installed in the local power station, totalling 210 kVA power. The power station was privatized in 1992. The archipelago has mobile phone coverage from a radio tower in Kristiansund. There is no natural source of fresh water, so the residents collect rainwater, flush the toilets with seawater, and travel to town to do their laundry.
The law of formannskapsdistrikt of 1837 required that every parish in Norway should be constituted as a municipality January 1, 1838. It also required that parishes composed of a town with a rural district should be divided into two municipalities (a pure town - and a pure rural district). Grip was an annex to the parish of Kristiansund in 1837, but this annex had no men with the right to vote.
The right to vote was in Norway until 1884 mostly limited to men with property. In a fishing village where a merchant in the town owned all the houses, nobody had the right to vote. Through constitutional changes in 1884 the right to vote was extended to men who paid taxes, and the fishermen in Grip paid income taxes. Grip municipality was incorporated in 1897 with a popultation of 198.
Grip municipality bought the fishing village from Ludvig Williamsen in 1909. The entire community had previously been the property of a merchant in Kristiansund, not including the church, school and three private houses. The price of 110,000 kroner was financed through a public loan to be paid back in 45 years. The municipality then began selling the houses to their inhabitants. A census in 1910 showed a population of 187.
With a land area of only 0.48 km², and a population of 104, Grip was the smallest municipality in Norway until it merged with Kristiansund in 1964. Today Kvitsøy is the smallest municipality in Norway, and Utsira is the municipality with the smallest population, both small island communities.
The name is first recorded in 1338 ("Gripar") - Norse Grípar, a plural form (natural, since Grip is an archipelago). The etymology of the name is uncertain, but it is maybe related to the Norse verb grípa 'catch, seize, grip'. If this is the case, then it probably refer to the catching of fish here.
It is pronounced "greep" (the vowel sounding like the one in "weep").