Orkney Islands Council is set to explore its “Nordic connections” as it discusses alternative forms of governance which could see the islands’ legal status change.
Council leader James Stockan has put forward a motion which says it is time for Orkney to consider other forms of governance which could provide more economic opportunity.
It suggests this could include looking at crown dependencies such as Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.
“Nordic connections” are also suggested, with a report going before a council meeting this week mentioning the Faroe Islands – a self-governing territory of Denmark in the North Sea.
The council leader’s motion does not commit the council to any of these options and the officials’ report notes that any constitutional change would likely require a combination of petitions, referenda and legislation at Holyrood and Westminster.
Mr Stockan told the BBC he felt that Orkney is being “failed dreadfully” by Governments in both Edinburgh and London.
Funding is less per head than Shetland and the Western Isles receive, he said.
Orkney was under Norwegian and Danish control until 1472 when the islands were given to Scotland as part of Margaret of Denmark’s wedding dowry to King James III of Scotland.
Mr Stockan told the BBC: “We were part of the Norse kingdom for much longer than we were part of the United Kingdom.
“On the street in Orkney, people come up and say to me when are we going to pay back the dowry, when are we going back to Norway.
“There is a huge affinity and a huge deep cultural relationship there. This is exactly the moment to explore what is possible.”
The Scottish Lib Dem MSP for Orkney, Liam McArthur, said he supported empowering island communities but warned there are dangers in “putting up barriers”.
He said: “I am due to meet local councillors on Monday and will be interested to learn more about what is envisaged.
“There were similar proposals considered by OIC around the time of the last independence referendum and I am keen to understand how these would differ.
“Locally, I think islanders will also want to be reassured that this exercise won’t result in council resources being taken away from the day-to-day running of services at a time when these are under real pressure.”