Port Profile: Lerwick, in the Shetland Islands
Today’s feature, the Lerwick, Shetland Islands.
In the port of Lerwick is a sign with a motto of times past: "Med lögum skal land byggja." The language is not English, and not one of the Scandinavian languages. The language on the sign is Norn, an extinct tongue that was once spoken in Shetland and Orkney, and off the north coast of main Scotland – when Shetland was known as Hjaltland and was ruled from Scandinavia.
Even though relatively few of the islanders nowadays might be able to interpret the words on the sign, it still has a story to tell: that of exploration and change. In fact, official sources on the Shetland Islands officially claim to have "5,000 years of immigration behind us."
The islands nowadays count some 22,000 inhabitants, whereof 7,500 in Lerwick. The main town of the islands, Lerwick is classified as the only burgh in the Shetlands. Construction of the town started in the 1600s after Dutch herring fishermen had started to utilize the good natural harbor in the area. By the year 1700, some 700 inhabitants called Lerwick home. Read the full Port Profile of Lerwick.