Øyer is a municipality in the county of Oppland, Norway.

The parish of Øier was established as a municipality January 1, 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). It is one of very few municipalities in Norway with unchanged borders since that date.


In Oppland, Øyer is bordered by Ringebu municipality to the north, Ringsaker to the southeast and Lillehammer to the south. To the east, located in Hedmark county, lies Stor-Elvdal municipality. The municipality is divided in two parishes: Øyer in the south, and Tretten in the north.


Traditional Occupations

Øyer has traditionally been a farming and lumbering municipality.


Recreation is increasingly important economically. Since it opened in 1989, Øyer's Hafjell Alpine Ski Center has grown to include over 14 lifts and 28 runs as wells as extensive cross country skiing runs. It is an easy 15 kilometers from Lillehammer, making it very accessible. Tobogganing, luge and bobsled racing (on the 1994 Olympic course) are also found in the area.


Black Death

The Black Death reached Norway in the winter of 1349/50. Øyer was one of the parishes most severely impacted; estimates based on tax payments suggest that between 2/3 and 3/4 of all residents died. Many of the farms there became deserted (øygarder), which remained vacant until the late 1600-hundreds. The parish of Tretten was annexed to Øyer after the Black Death, because the decimated population of Tretten no longer could maintain their own priest.

The name

The Norse form of the name was Øyja (accusative and dative), from *Øyi (nominative). Two lakes in Norway had the name Øyi(r) in Norse times (see Øymark and Øyeren), and these names are derived from the word øy f 'flat and fertil land along a waterside'. It is good reasons to seek the same name of a lake here: The river of Lågen widens out in the sentral part of the municipality - and it creates two riverlakes (Jemnefjorden and Gildbusfjorden). *Øyi was probably the old name of one (or both) of these 'fjords'.

Until 1918 the name was written "Øier".


The coat-of-arms is from modern times (1983). It shows a helder - a traditional tool made of wood for fastening a rope around a load.

(See also the coat-of-arms for Masfjorden.)


For those with ancestors from Øyer in Oppland the church books for baptisms and deaths between 1671and 1857 are available in Norwegian at the Oppland archive’s web page.


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