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Norway is divided into 11 administrative regions, called counties (singular no|fylke, plural nb|fylker; nn|fylke from Old Norse: ''fylki'' from the word "folk", sme|fylka, sma|fylhke, smj|fylkka, fkv|fylkki) until 1918, they were known as ''amter''. The counties form the first-level administrative divisions of Norway and are further subdivided 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, which was implemented on 1 January 2020. However, two of the newly merged counties (VikenLars Roede,
Viken og Innlandet: Amatørmessige logoer og uhistoriske navn
" ''Aftenposten'', 11 January 2020
and Troms og Finnmark) have seen popular opposition prior to, during, or after the mergers, and have stated their desire to split back up into their original state prior to the mergers, with one (Vestfold og Telemark) seeing opposition in the area of one of the two former counties constituting it.Nå er Telemark og Vestfold slått sammen
''Telemarksavisa''
Some opposition parties have stated their willingness to undo any of the aforementioned mergers if they win a majority in the next general election if the residents of the area so choose.


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.


Responsibilities and significance


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

History



''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: *''Rånrike'' *''Vingulmark'' *''Vestfold'' *''Grenland'' Counties (first three ''fylke'', last two ''bilandskap'') under the Eidsivating, located in Oplandene with the seat at Eidsvoll: *''Raumafylke'' (Glåmdalen, Romerike, Solør) *''Heinafylke'' (Gjøvik, Hedmark) *''Hadafylke'' (Hadeland, Land, Toten) *''Gudbrandsdal'' *''Østerdal'' Counties under the Gulating, located in Vestlandet with the seat at Gulen: *''Sunnmærafylke'' *''Firdafylke'' (Nordfjord, Sunnfjord) *''Sygnafylke'' *''Valdres and Hallingdal'' *''Hordafylke'' *''Rygjafylke'' *''Setesdal'' *''Egdafylke'' Counties under the Frostating, located in Trøndelag with the seat at Frosta: *''Eynafylke'' *''Sparbyggjafylke'' *''Verdælafylke'' *''Skeynafylke'' *''Orkdælafylke'' *''Gauldælafylke'' *''Stjordælafylke'' *''Strindafylke'' *''Naumdælafylke'' *''Nordmærafylke'' *''Romsdælafylke'' Counties not attached to a ''thing'': *''Jamtaland'' *''Herjedalen'' *''Håløygjafylke'' **''Helgeland'' **''Salten'' **''Lofoten'' and ''Vesterålen'' **''Trondenes'' 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''



''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. *''Elvesysle'' *''Rånrike'' *''Borgarsysle'' (two parts) *''Romerike'' (two parts, "northern" and "southern") *''Hedmark'' (two parts, "northern" and "southern") *''Østerdalen'' **''"north of Åmot"'' **''"south of Åmot"'' *''Gudbrandsdalen'' **''"north of Ruste"'' **''"south of Ruste"'' *''Hadeland'' (later ''Ringerike'', two parts, "northern" and "outer") *''Valdres'' and ''Hallingdal'' (two parts) *''Numedal'' and ''Telemark''? *''Tverrdalane'' and ''Modum''? *''Oslosysle'' (northern ''lut'' and western ''lut'') *''Tønsbergsysle'' *''Skiensysle'' *''Eastern part'' (later ''Nedenes'') *''Robyggjelag'' *''Agder Midtsysla'' *''Lista'' *''Rygjafylke'' **''"north of the fjord"'' **''"south of the fjord"'' *''Hordaland'' (''Nordhordland''? and ''Sunnhordland''?) *''Hardanger'' *''Voss'' *''Sogn'' (two parts?) *''Sunnfjord'' *''Nordfjord'' *''Sunnmøre'' *''Romsdal'' *''Nordmøre''? **''Nordmørafylke'' *''Orkdal'' *''Gauldal'' *''Strinda'' *''Herjedalen'' *''Jemtland'' *''Stjørdal'' *''Skogn'' *''Verdal'' *''Sparbu'' *''Eynafylke'' *''Northern part''? (later ''Fosen'') *''Namdalen'' **''"upper half"'' (''Overhalla'') **''"lower half'' (later ''Njardøy'') *''Hålogaland'' (two parts) *''Troms''? *''Finnmark''?

''Len''

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 1536–1814. 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. The sub-regions corresponded to the church districts for the Lutheran church in Norway.

''Len'' in 1536

*Båhus len (later termed Bohuslän after Denmark-Norway ceded it to Sweden by the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658) *Akershus len *Trondheim len *Bergenhus len (which included Northern Norway) 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.

''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''.

''Amt''

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.

''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 **Halsnøy klostergods **Hardanger amt **Nordlandene 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'': *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). *Østfold ''fylke'' *Akershus ''fylke'' *Oslo ''fylke'' *Hedmark ''fylke'' *Oppland ''fylke'' *Buskerud ''fylke'' *Vestfold ''fylke'' *Telemark ''fylke'' *Aust-Agder ''fylke'' *Vest-Agder ''fylke'' *Rogaland ''fylke'' *Bergen ''fylke'', merged into Hordaland fylke in 1972 *Hordaland ''fylke'' *Sogn og Fjordane ''fylke'' *Møre og Romsdal ''fylke'' *Sør-Trøndelag ''fylke'', merged into Trøndelag ''fylke'' in 2018 *Nord-Trøndelag ''fylke'', merged into Trøndelag ''fylke'' in 2018 *Trøndelag ''fylke'', created in 2018 *Nordland ''fylke'' *Troms ''fylke'' *Finnmark ''fylke'' 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.

''Fylke'' (3rd period)

In 2017 the Norwegian government announced the merge of the existing 19 fylker into 11 new fylker by 2020. As a result, several government tasks will be transferred to the new regions. ;New fylker *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


*Municipalities of Norway *Regions of Norway *Traditional districts of Norway *Metropolitan regions of Norway *Subdivisions of the Nordic countries *Lists of County Governors of Norway

References



Footnotes



Bibliography

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Counties Of Norway Category:Subdivisions of Norway Counties Norway 1 Counties, Norway Category:Norway geography-related lists Category:21st-century disestablishments in Norway