Norwegian Language Blog

Norwegian counties Posted by on May 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

Similar to the 50 states of the United States, Norway as et land (a country) is divided into 19 fylker (counties), or  politiske administrative regioner (take a guess-political administrative regions), which are further subdivided into a total of 431 kommuner (municipalities).  Prior to 1919 when these regioner were renamed fylker, they were called (singular) amt, ting, len, and syssel, all names for these politcal, administrative, and geographical entities. 

The map and list of fylker below was taken from Wikipedia and is quite a nice, simple overview of these areas and their names.

Norway counties.svg

Besides Oslo, which is a by (city), kommune, and fylke, Vestfold fylke is the smallest in area, conatining about 5% of the befolkning (population) of Norway.  Vestfold is to the west of the Oslofjord and is among the best agricultural land in the country.  Tønsberg, Sandefjord, and Larvik are among the well-known byer in Vestfold fylke.

Østfold fylke is the southeasterly fylke that, similar to Vestfold, is not extremely dense with about 5% of the country’s befolkning residing there.  Østfold fylke is known for granite mines, from which Gustav Vigeland used granite stone to produce his skulpturer.

Akershus fylke is the second densest fylke in Norway after Oslo.  It is named after the Akershus Fortress.

With about 250,000 inhabitants, Buskerud fylke is ranked 7th densest by befolkningBuskerud is known for hydroelectric power, agriculture and an abundance of trees which supply wood pulp mills and lumberyards.

Heading north, Oppland is a central Norwegian fylke.  The county seat is Lillehammer.  Besides Hedmark fylke, Oppland is the only other fylke that is landlocked.  Oppland is the 5th largest fylke by area.

Hedmark is the 3rd largest fylke by area and shares a long border with Sweden.  This fylke is also known for agriculture and timber.

Heading south and west into many hills and valleys, there’s Telemark fylke, which certainly is one of the least dense fylker in Norway.  Telemark skiing received it’s name from this fylke.

Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder are in the deep south of Norway on the coast.  Maritime and commerce, as well as recreation dominate the industry in these fylker.

Just to the west of Vest-Agder is Rogaland fylke, home to one of Norway’s largest cities, Stavanger.  Rogaland is fourth largest by befolkning, but 13th by area.

Hordaland fylke is 3rd largest by befolkning with the county seat in Bergen.  This fylke is split from the southwest to northeast by Hardangerfjorden, one of Norway’s most visited tourist attractions.

A bit north is Sogn og Fjordane fylke, where you will find many, many fjords.

In the northernmost part of western Norway is Møre og Romsdal fylke, which is served by 9 flyplasser (airports) and also relies heavily on båttrafikk (boat traffic) for transportation due to all of the fjords and islands.

Sør-Trøndelag fylke has double the befolkning that Nord-Trøndelag fylke has, and is slighlty smaller in area.  Nord-Trøndelag has the second largest lake in Europe, Salsvatnet

Nordland fylke is the long fylke that connects the big wide part of Norway (I’ve always thought it looks like a spoon) with the top (handle of the spoon).  Nordland is the second largest fylke by area and the 9th highest in befolkning numbers. 

Troms fylke, where the city of Tromsø lies, is one of the least populated fylker in Norway and the fourth largest.  The entire fylke is located north of polarsirkelen (the polar circle).

And finally, the northernmost fylke in Norway is Finnmark, the largest and least populated.  Makes sense, right?  It is the northernmost part of continental Europe, and is an area where eastern and western culture meet. 

Now you know your norske fylker!

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!