Ålesund has one of the largest and important fishing harbors in Norway. The town's fishing fleet is one of the most modern in Europe. Ålesund and surroundings also has a large furniture industry. Some well-known household items are manufactured here. In the 1950s and 1960s, Ålesund was one of the chief stations of the herring fishery business.
To the east of Ålesund lies the village of Sykkylven. The Ekornes factory, producing furniture such as the StressLess chair. Håhjem, another village near Ålesund, contains the headquarters of the Stokke company. Ålesund is also one of the harbours at which the Hurtigruten arrives two times per day.
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