Counties of Norway

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Fabien Antoine sent me some news items about the merger of the county governments of Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder, coming on 2016-01-01. It's not clear whether the counties themselves will merge to form a single Agder county. There may still be two counties, under a single governor. County offices in the two capitals, Arendal and Kristiansand, will remain open.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-3 is dated 2011-12-15. It merely changes the sort order of the divisions of Norway.

Country overview: 

Short nameNORWAY
ISO codeNO
LanguageNorwegian (no)
Time zone+1 ~


Norway was united with Sweden through most of the 19th century. The united kingdom was called Sweden and Norway. Norway proclaimed its independence on 1905-06-07.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Norge
  2. Dutch: Noorwegen, Koninkrijk Noorwegen (formal)
  3. English: Kingdom of Norway (formal)
  4. Finnish: Norja
  5. French: Norvège f, Royaume m de Norvège f (formal)
  6. German: Norwegen n
  7. Icelandic: Noregur
  8. Italian: Norvegia f
  9. Norwegian: Norge, Kongeriket Norge (formal) (Bokmål), Noreg, Kongeriket Noreg (formal) (Nynorsk)
  10. Portuguese: Noruega, Reino m da Noruega f (formal)
  11. Russian: Королевство Норвегия (formal)
  12. Spanish: Noruega, Reino m de Noruega f (formal)
  13. Swedish: Norge
  14. Turkish: Norveç Krallığı (formal)

Origin of name: 

Old Norwegian Norvegr: Northern way, referring to the sea route

Primary subdivisions: 

Norway is divided into 19 fylker (sing. fylke: counties).

Møre og RomsdalNO.MR15NO08MRNO053243,88815,1045,832Molde
ØstfoldNO.OF01NO13ØfNO031252,5204,1831,615Moss, Sarpsborg
Sogn og FjordaneNO.SF14NO15SFNO052107,26118,6197,189Hermansverk
19 counties4,520,947323,758125,004
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2. They are based on numbers used officially in Norway. Bergen
    was 13 before it merged with Hordaland. Statistical lists are often ordered by these numbers.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Conv: Conventional abbreviations commonly used in Norway. Occasional variations will be
    found, such as Øs for Østfold and Ve for Vestfold.
  • NUTS: Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics codes from Eurostat.
  • Population: 2001-11-03 census
  • Capitals: Some references disagree about these capitals. Some atlases even show different
    capitals on different pages.


Note: In Østfold, Sarpsborg is the seat of the fylkestinget and fylkesadministrasjonen; Moss is the seat of the fylkesmannen.

Postal codes: 

Norway uses four-digit postal codes. The codes don't correlate well with province boundaries. The prefix "NO-" may be used to indicate Norwegian postal codes. The older prefix "N-" is often still used.

Further subdivisions:

See the Municipalities of Norway page.

The provinces are subdivided into kommuner (municipalities), which were of two types: bykommuner (urban) and herredskommuner (rural). On 1992-09-25, the legal distinction between these two types was abolished.

The NUTS code system also defines groupings of counties. All the counties whose NUTS codes begin with the same four characters (for example, NO03-) can be designated as a group using those four characters. Here are the descriptions of the seven level-two NUTS regions of Norway.

Agder og RogalandNO04
Hedmark og OpplandNO02
Oslo og AkershusNO01

Territorial extent: 

Most of the counties have coastlines, and include many islands, mostly quite near shore. Some of the larger or outermost islands are mentioned here.

  1. Akershus includes Håøya, Ostøya, Brønnøya, and Nesøya, all in Oslo Fjord.
  2. Aust-Agder includes Tromøy, Justøya, and Sandøya.
  3. Finnmark includes the islands of Sørøya, Magerøy, Seiland, Skogerøy, Rolvsøy, Silda, and Ingøy.
  4. Hedmark includes Kelgøya in Lake Mjøsa.
  5. Hordaland includes Stord, Osterøya, Store Sotra, Askøy, Holsnøy, Radøy, Fosnøy, Huftarøy, and Hellisøy.
  6. Møre og Romsdal includes Smøla, Gurskøy, Averøy, Tustna, Ertvågøy, Nerlandsøy, and Harøy.
  7. Nord-Trøndelag includes most of the island of Austra, as well as Vikna, Leka, and the fjord island of Ytterøy.
  8. Nordland includes about half of the island of Hinnøy in the north, a share of Austra in the south, and many other islands in the Lofoten and Vesterålen groups and along the shore. Some of the largest are Andøya, Langøy, Austvågøy, Vestvågøy, Moskenesøy, and Vega.
  9. Østfold includes Jeløy, Kirkeøy, Vesterøy, Spjær, Asmaløy, and Rauer.
  10. Rogaland includes Karmøy, Bokn, Ombo, Rennesøy, Finnøy, and Utsira.
  11. Sogn og Fjordane includes Bremanger, Sula, Vågsøy, and Hovden.
  12. Sør-Trøndelag includes Hitra and Frøya.
  13. Telemark includes Skatøy and Jomfruland.
  14. Troms includes about half of the island of Hinnøy, and Soenja, Kvaløy, Ringvassøy, Arnøy, and Vanna.
  15. Vest-Agder includes Kråka and Flekkerøy.
  16. Vestfold includes Nøtterøy, Tjøme, and Bastøy.

Norway also includes several external territories. Svalbard is a large Arctic island group. It became part of Norway on 1925-08-14. Jan Mayen is an island east of Greenland, incorporated on 1930-02-27. Bouvet Island is an island in the South Atlantic, which became a Norwegian dependency on 1930-02-27. These are treated as two separate countries by ISO 3166 (and this website): Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands, and Bouvet Island. However, ISO 3166-2 assigns Jan Mayen the alternative Norwegian code NO-22, and Svalbard, NO-21. Peter I Island, near Antarctica, became a Norwegian dependency on 1933-03-24. Norway has also claimed part of Antarctica, Queen Maud Land, since 1939-01-14. In view of the Antarctic Treaty, I have listed both Peter I Island and Queen Maud Land under Antarctica.

The UN LOCODE page  for Norway lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Bergen: Old Norse Björgvin, from björg: mountain, vin: pasturage
  2. Finnmark: Norwegian for field of the Finns
  3. Østfold: East of Folden (old name of the Oslo fjord)
  4. Vestfold: West of Folden

Change history: 

There have been many minor boundary changes. Probably the most people were affected on 1948-01-01 when Oslo annexed many of its suburbs from Akershus.

  1. 1804-09-24: Trondhjem split into Nordre Trondhjem and Søndre Trondhjem.
  2. 1821: Jarlsberg og Larvik formed by merging Jarlsberg and Larvik.
  3. 1842: Kristiania split from Akershus.
  4. 1866-10-01: Tromsø split from Finmarken.
  5. 1919-01-01: Name of Nedenes county changed to Aust-Agder; Finmarken changed to Finnmark; Hedemarken changed to Hedmark; Søndre Bergenhus changed to Hordaland; Romsdal changed to Møre; Nordre Trondhjem changed to Nord-Trøndelag; Kristian changed to Opland; Smaalenene changed to Østfold; Stavanger changed to Rogaland; Nordre Bergenhus changed to Sogn og Fjordane; Søndre Trondhjem changed to Sør-Trøndelag; Bratsberg changed to Telemark; Tromsø changed to Troms; Lister og Mandal changed to Vest-Agder; Jarlsberg og Larvik changed to Vestfold.
  6. 1925: Name of capital of country changed from Kristiania to Oslo.
  7. ~1950: Name of Møre changed to Møre og Romsdal.
  8. ~1955: Name of Opland changed to Oppland.
  9. 1972-01-01: Bergen county merged with Hordaland. Before the merger, Bergen was the capital of both. Bergen's county number was 13, and its FIPS code, NO03.

Other names of subdivisions: 

The letters Ö ö sometimes appear instead of Ø ø, even in Norwegian sources. The word 'og' means 'and', and is sometimes translated.

  1. Aust-Agder: Austur-Agðir (Icelandic); Nedenes (obsolete)
  2. Finnmark: Finmarken (obsolete); Finnmárkku (Sami); Finnmörk (Icelandic)
  3. Hedmark: Hedemarken (obsolete); Heiðmörk (Icelandic)
  4. Hordaland: Hörðaland (Icelandic); Søndre Bergenhus (obsolete)
  5. Møre og Romsdal: Møre, Romsdal (obsolete)
  6. Nord-Trøndelag: Nordre Trondhjem (obsolete); Norður-Þrændalög (Icelandic)
  7. Oppland: Kristian, Opland (obsolete); Upplönd (Icelandic)
  8. Oslo: Kristiania (obsolete); Osló (Icelandic)
  9. Østfold: Austfold (Icelandic); Smaalenene (obsolete)
  10. Rogaland: Stavanger (obsolete)
  11. Sogn og Fjordane: Nordre Bergenhus (obsolete); Sogn og Firða-Fylki (Icelandic)
  12. Sør-Trøndelag: Søndre Trondhjem (obsolete); Suður-Þrændalög (Icelandic)
  13. Telemark: Bratsberg (obsolete); Þelamörk (Icelandic)
  14. Troms: Romsa (Sami); Tromsø (obsolete); Troms-Fylki (Icelandic)
  15. Vest-Agder: Lister og Mandal (obsolete); Vestur-Agðir (Icelandic)
  16. Vestfold: Jarlsberg og Larvik (obsolete)

Population history:

The data in the following table are from source [2].

Møre og Romsdal49,32857,32556,45263,87172,50281,31390,282104,361116,780127,804136,137
Nordland40,83552,055 53,46559,45866,29677,49989,536103,222131,650151,916
Sogn og Fjordane44,08252,59955,82563,78770,77577,97781,49586,80186,10787,55089,038
Troms12,75719,374 21,95326,86131,43838,35745,47654,08865,33374,599


Møre og Romsdal136,137144,621159,387165,062182,856191,436213,025223,359236,174238,409243,888
Sogn og Fjordane89,03890,03990,11391,80696,84897,67899,842100,760105,904106,659107,261


  1. [1] Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen  (Historical overview of changes in municipal and county division). Statistisk sentralbyrå report (retrieved 2007-02-20).
  2. [2] Folke- og boligtellingen 2001 , on the Statistisk sentralbyrå website (retrieved 2004-10-12). I clicked on each of the county or city names, then on Fylkeshefte, then on Tabeller. These data differ somewhat from the data in the book "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries". One possible reason is that the Statistisk sentralbyrå may have corrected the data to reflect the present-day boundaries. Another possibility is that the figures were adjusted by small amounts at random, in order to circumvent any attempt to identify an individual person's data. Totals in the population history table were calculated by adding up the individual county data.
  3. [3] "Hvem Hva Hvor." Chr. Schibsteds Forlag. Oslo, 1964.
  4. [4] Fourth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, Vol. II, United Nations, New York, 1987.
  5. [5] Sterke regioner  (Strong regions) is a report on proposals for region creation from KS (Kommunesektorens interesse- og arbeidsgiverorganisasjon), retrieved 2011-12-23.
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