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Counties of Norway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A map of mainland Norway with its 11 first-order subnational divisions (fylker or "counties") from 2020.
A map of mainland Norway with its 11 first-order subnational divisions (fylker or "counties") from 2020.
Coat of arms of Norway.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Norway is divided into 11 administrative regions, called counties (singular Norwegian: fylke, plural Norwegian: fylker (Bokmål) / fylke (Nynorsk) from Old Norse: fylki from the word "folk", Northern Sami: fylka, Southern Sami: fylhke, Lule Sami: fylkka, Kven: fylkki) until 1918, they were known as amter. The counties form the first-level subdivisions of Norway and are further divided into 356 municipalities (kommune, pl. kommuner / kommunar). The island territories of Svalbard and Jan Mayen are outside the county division and ruled directly at the national level. The capital Oslo is considered both a county and a municipality.

In 2017 the government decided to abolish some of the counties and to merge them with other counties to form larger ones, reducing the number of counties from 19 to 11, to be implemented from 2020.[1]

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We are the five Norweigan reigons. With a capital named Oslo, visit any season. We're the five Norweigan reigons. We're in Northern Europe, so let the learning begin! I am Nord-Norge or Northern Norway. The Barents and Norwegian Seas spray my coast all day. I'm about 35% of the Norwegian mainland. And I'm located in the north of Norway so you understand. I'm Midt-Norge also called Trøndelag. I'm in the middle of Norway. Put that in your geography log. The Trondheim Fjord is an inlet of the Norwegian Sea. People have lived here for thousands of years in my history. We are the five Norwegian regions. With a capital named Oslo, visit any season. We're the five Norwegian regions. We're in Northern Europe. So, let the learning begin! My name is Vestlandet or Western Norway. Located on the west coast of Norway. Yeah, that's where I stay. My coastline touches the Norwegian and the North Seas. Now onto the next region. That's enough about me. I am Sørlandet or Southern Norway. I'm the most southern part of the Norwegian coastline I'd say. My coastline touches the North Sea and the Skagerrak Strait. My regions beautiful, come see it. Don't you wait. We are the five Norwegian regions. With a capital named Oslo, visit any season. We're the five Norwegian regions. We're in Northern Europe. So, let the learning begin! I'm Østlandet or Eastern Norway you see. On the east side of Norway touching Sweden, the country. I am home to the capital of the country of Norway. Its name is Oslo and this star is where it lays. My name is Norway, a Northern European country. I'm Scandinavia's western part in Europe you see. I have a capital named Oslo as this star will show you. Please join me to sing the chorus before this song is through. We are the five Norwegian regions. With a capital named Oslo, visit any season. We're the five Norwegian regions. We're in Northern Europe. So, let the learning begin! We are the five Norwegian regions. With a capital named Oslo, visit any season. We’re the five Norwegian regions. We're in Northern Europe. So, let the learning begin!


List of counties

Below is a list of the Norwegian counties, with their current administrative centres. Note that the counties are administered both by appointees of the national government and to a lesser extent by their own elected bodies. The county numbers are from the official numbering system ISO 3166-2:NO, which originally was set up to follow the coastline from the Swedish border in the southeast to the Russian border in the northeast, but with the numbering has changed with county mergers.

ISO-code County (Fylke) Administrative centre County Mayor County Governor Area (km2) Population
03  Oslo City of Oslo Marianne Borgen (SV) Valgerd Svarstad Haugland 454.12 673,469
11  Rogaland Stavanger Marianne Chesak (Ap) Lone Merethe Solheim 9377.10 473,526
15  Møre og Romsdal Molde Jon Aasen (Ap) Rigmor Brøste 14355.62 266,856
18  Nordland Bodø Kari Anne Bøkestad Andreassen (Sp) Tom Cato Karlsen 38154.62 243,335
30  Viken Oslo, Drammen, Sarpsborg Roger Ryberg (Ap) Valgerd Svarstad Haugland 24592.59 1,234,374
34  Innlandet Hamar Even Aleksander Hagen (Ap) Knut Storberget 52072.44 370,994
38  Vestfold og Telemark Skien Terje Riis-Johansen (Sp) Per Arne Olsen 17465.92 415,777
42  Agder Kristiansand Arne Thomassen (H) Stein A. Ytterdahl 16434.12 303,754
46  Vestland Bergen Jon Askeland (Sp) Lars Sponheim 33870.99 631,594
50  Trøndelag


Steinkjer Tore O. Sandvik (Ap) Frank Jenssen 42201.59 458,744
54  Troms og Finnmark

Romsa ja Finnmárku

Tromssa ja Finmarkku

Tromsø Ivar B. Prestbakmo (Sp) Elisabeth Aspaker 74829.68 243,925

Former county map

Norway counties.svg Former map of Norwegian counties.
For an updated county map, see above.

Responsibilities and significance

Every county has two main organisations, both with underlying organisations.

  1. The county municipality (no: Fylkeskommune) has a county council (Norwegian: Fylkesting), whose members are elected by the inhabitants. The county municipality is responsible mainly for some medium level schools, public transport organisation, regional road planning, culture and some more areas.
  2. The county governor (no: Fylkesmannen) is an authority directly overseen by the Norwegian government. It surveills the municipalities and receives complaints from people over their actions. It also controls areas where the government needs local direct ruling outside the municipalities.


Fylke (1st period)

From the consolidation to a single kingdom, Norway was divided into a number of geographic regions that had its own legislative assembly or Thing, such as Gulating (Western Norway) and Frostating (Trøndelag). The second-order subdivision of these regions was into fylker, such as Egdafylke and Hordafylke. In 1914, the historical term fylke was brought into use again to replace the term amt introduced during the union with Denmark. Current day counties (fylker) often, but not necessarily, correspond to the historical areas.

Fylke in the 10th-13th centuries

Counties (folkland) under the Borgarting, located in Viken with the seat at Sarpsborg:[2]

Counties (first three fylke, last two bilandskap) under the Eidsivating, located in Oplandene with the seat at Eidsvoll:[2]

Counties under the Gulating, located in Vestlandet with the seat at Gulen:[3]

Counties under the Frostating, located in Trøndelag with the seat at Frosta:

Counties not attached to a thing:

Finnmark (including northern Troms), the Faroe Islands, the Orkney Islands, Shetland, the Hebrides, Isle of Man, Iceland and Greenland were Norwegian skattland ("taxed countries"), and did not belong to any known counties or assembly areas.


Syssel in 1300

From the end of the 12th century, Norway was divided into several syssel. The head of the various syssel was the syslemann, who represented the king locally. The following shows a reconstruction of the different syssel in Norway c. 1300, including sub-syssel where these seem established.[4]


From 1308, the term len (plural len) in Norway signified an administrative region roughly equivalent to today's counties. The historic len was an important administrative entity during the period of Dano-Norwegian unification after their amalgamation as one state, which lasted for the period 1536[5]–1814.

At the beginning of the 16th century the political divisions were variable, but consistently included four main len and approximately 30 smaller sub-regions with varying connections to a main len. Up to 1660 the four principal len were headquartered at the major fortresses Bohus Fortress, Akershus Fortress, Bergenhus Fortress and the fortified city of Trondheim.[6] The sub-regions corresponded to the church districts for the Lutheran church in Norway.

Len in 1536

These four principal len were in the 1530s divided into approximately 30 smaller regions. From that point forward through the beginning of the 17th century the number of subsidiary len was reduced, while the composition of the principal len became more stable.[citation needed]

Len in 1660

From 1660 Norway had nine principal len comprising 17 subsidiary len:

  • Akershus len
  • Tunsberg len
  • Bratsberg len
  • Agdesiden len
  • Stavanger len
  • Bergenhus len
  • Trondheim len
  • Nordlandene len
  • Vardøhus len

Len written as län continues to be used as the administrative equivalent of county in Sweden to this day. Each len was governed by a lenman.[7]


With the royal decree of February 19, 1662, each len was designated an amt (plural amt) and the lenmann was titled amtmann, from German Amt (office), reflecting the bias of the Danish court of that period.[citation needed]

Amt in 1671

After 1671 Norway was divided into four principal amt or stiftsamt and there were nine subordinate amt:

  • Akershus amt
    • Smålenene amt
    • Brunla amt
  • Agdesiden amt
    • Bratsberg amt
    • Stavanger amt
  • Bergenhus amt
  • Trondheim amt
    • Romsdalen amt
    • Vardøhus amt

Amt in 1730

From 1730 Norway had the following amt:

  • Vardøhus amt
  • Tromsø amt
  • Nordlands amt
  • Nordre Trondhjems amt
  • Søndre Trondhjems amt
  • Romsdalen amt
  • Nordre Bergenhus amt
  • Søndre Bergenhus amt
  • Stavanger amt
  • Lister og Mandals amt
  • Nedenes amt
  • Bratsberg amt
  • Buskerud amt
  • Oplandenes amt
  • Hedemarkens amt
  • Akershus amt
  • Smaalenenes amt

At this time there were also two counties (grevskap) controlled by actual counts, together forming what is now Vestfold county:

  • Laurvigen county
  • Jarlsberg county

Amt in 1760

In 1760 Norway had the following stiftamt and amt:[8]

  • Akershus stiftamt
    • Opplands amt
    • Akershus amt
    • Smålenenes amt
    • Laurvigen county
    • Jarlsberg county
    • Bratsberg amt (eastern half)
  • Agdesiden stiftamt
    • Bratsberg amt (western half)
    • Nedenes amt
    • Lister and Mandal amt
    • Stavanger amt
  • Bergenhus stiftamt
    • Romsdal amt (southern half)
  • Trondheim stiftamt
    • Romsdal amt (northern half)
    • Nordlands amt
    • Vardøhus amt

Fylke (2nd period)

From 1919 each amt was renamed a fylke (plural fylke(r)) (county) and the amtmann was now titled fylkesmann (county governor).

The county numbers are from the official numbering system ISO 3166-2:NO, which originally was set up to follow the coastline from the Swedish border in the southeast to the Russian border in the northeast, but with the numbering has changed with county mergers. The number 13, 16 and 17 were dropped, and the number 50 was added to account for changes over the years. The lack of a county number 13 is due to the city of Bergen no longer being its own county, and is unrelated to fear of the number 13.

In 2018, Sør-Trøndelag was merged with Nord-Trøndelag into the new county of Trøndelag, and several followed.

ISO-code County (Fylke) Administrative centre Governor Area (km2) Population (2016) County
after January 1, 2020
01  Østfold Sarpsborg Anne Enger 4,180.69 290,412 Viken (county) Viken
02  Akershus Oslo Nils Aage Jegstad 4,917.94 596,704
06  Buskerud Drammen Kirsti Kolle Grøndahl 14,910.94 278,028
03  Oslo City of Oslo Marianne Borgen (Mayor) 454.07 660,987 no change
04  Hedmark Hamar Sigbjørn Johnsen 27,397.76 195,443 Innlandet Innlandet
05  Oppland Lillehammer Kristin Hille Valla 25,192.10 188,945
07  Vestfold Tønsberg Per Arne Olsen 2,225.08 245,160 Vestfold og Telemark Vestfold og Telemark
08  Telemark Skien Kari Nordheim-Larsen 15,296.34 172,527
09  Aust-Agder Arendal Øystein Djupedal 9,157.77 115,873 Agder Agder
10  Vest-Agder Kristiansand Ann-Kristin Olsen 7,276.91 182,922
11  Rogaland Stavanger Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa 9,375.97 470,907 no change
12  Hordaland Bergen Lars Sponheim 15,438.06 517,601 Vestland Vestland
13 No longer used[a]
14  Sogn og Fjordane Hermansverk Anne Karin Hamre 18,623.41 109,623
15  Møre og Romsdal Molde Lodve Solholm 15,101.39 265,181 no change
16 No longer used[b]
17 No longer used[b]
18  Nordland Bodø Odd Eriksen 38,482.39 241,948 no change
19  Troms Tromsø Bård Magne Pedersen 25,862.91 164,613 Troms og Finnmark
20  Finnmark Vadsø Gunnar Kjønnøy 48,631.04 75,886
50  Trøndelag Steinkjer[c] Frank Jenssen 41,254.29 450,496 [b]
  1. ^ Formerly used for Bergen county, merged into Hordaland on 1 January 1972
  2. ^ a b c Formerly used for Nord-Trøndelag (#17) and Sør-Trøndelag (#16) counties, merged as Trøndelag on 1 January 2018
  3. ^ Steinkjer is the administrative centre, but the county mayor is seated in Trondheim. Steinkjer and Trondheim are sometimes named as co-capitals

Fylke (3rd period)

In 2017 the Norwegian government announced the merge of the existing 19 fylker into 11 fylkeskommuner (regions) by 2020. As a result, several government tasks will be transferred to the new regions.[10]

New fylkeskommuner (regions)
  • Troms og Finnmark, by merging Finnmark and Troms counties in 2020
  • Nordland, no change, same as Nordland county
  • Trøndelag, no change, same as Trøndelag county
  • Møre og Romsdal, no change, same as Møre og Romsdal county
  • Vestland, by merging Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane counties in 2020
  • Rogaland, no change, same as Rogaland county
  • Agder, by merging Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder counties in 2020
  • Vestfold og Telemark, by merging Vestfold and Telemark counties in 2020
  • Innlandet, by merging Hedmark and Oppland counties in 2020
  • Viken, by merging Akershus, Buskerud, and Østfold counties in 2020
  • Oslo, no change, same as Oslo county

See also



  1. ^ "Dette er Norges nye regioner". Archived from the original on 9 March 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Lagting og lagsogn frem til 1797". Borgarting lagmannsrett. Archived from the original on 2011-11-21.
  3. ^ "Frå lagting til allting". Gulatinget. Archived from the original on 2015-04-09.
  4. ^ Danielsen (et al.), 1991, p. 77
  5. ^ Christian III, king of Denmark-Norway, carried out the Protestant Reformation in Norway in 1536.
  6. ^ Kavli, Guthorm (1987). Norges festninger. Universitetsforlaget. ISBN 82-00-18430-7.
  7. ^ Jesperson, Leon (Ed.) (2000). A Revolution from Above? The Power State of 16th and 17th Century Scandinavia. Odense University Press. ISBN 87-7838-407-9.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Danielsen (et al.), 1991, p. 153
  9. ^ "Fylkespolitikerne sier ja til Trøndelag fylke" (in Norwegian). NRK. Archived from the original on 2016-08-28.
  10. ^ moderniseringsdepartementet, Kommunal- og (7 July 2017). "Regionreform". Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2018.


  • Danielsen, Rolf; Dyrvik, Ståle; Grønlie, Tore; Helle, Knut; Hovland, Edgar (2007) [1991]. Grunntrekk i norsk historie (1 ed.). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. ISBN 978-82-00-21273-7.
This page was last edited on 16 January 2020, at 16:06
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