Template:Combi |Counties of Norway. |- |Template:Politics of Norway |} Norway is divided into 19 administrative regions, called counties (Norwegian: singular fylke, plural fylker (Bokmål) / fylke (Nynorsk); until 1918 known as amt, pl. amter / amt). The counties form the primary first-level subdivisions of Norway and are further divided into 431 municipalities (kommune, pl. kommuner / kommunar). The capital Oslo is considered as both a county and a municipality.

There is some political disagreement on whether counties are a practical, economical or even necessary level of administration. See politics of Norway for more information.

List of counties[]

Below is a list of the Norwegian counties as they have been since 1919, with their current administrative centres. The county numbers are from the official numbering system ISO 3166-2:NO, which follows the coastline from the Swedish border in the southeast to the Russian border in the northeast. The number 13 was dropped from the system when the city of Bergen (county no. 13) was merged into Hordaland (county no. 12) in 1972.

ISO-code Arms Country (Fylke) Prefecture
01 File:Ostfold vapen.png Østfold Sarpsborg
02 File:Akershus vapen.svg Akershus Oslo
03 Oslo komm.svg Oslo City of Oslo
04 File:Hedmark vapen.png Hedmark Hamar
05 File:Oppland vapen.png Oppland Lillehammer
06 File:Buskerud vapen.png Buskerud Drammen
07 File:Vestfold vapen.png Vestfold Tønsberg
08 File:Telemark vapen.png Telemark Skien
09 File:Aust-Agder vapen.png Aust-Agder Arendal
10 File:Vest-Agder vapen.png Vest-Agder Kristiansand
11 File:Rogaland vapen.png Rogaland Stavanger
12 File:Hordaland vapen.png Hordaland Bergen
14 File:Sogn og Fjordane vapen.png Sogn og Fjordane Leikanger
15 File:More og Romsdal vapen.png Møre og Romsdal Molde
16 File:Sor-Trondelag vapen.png Sør-Trøndelag Trondheim
17 File:Nord-Trondelag vapen.png Nord-Trøndelag Steinkjer
18 File:Nordland vapen.png Nordland Bodø
19 File:Troms vapen.png Troms Tromsø
20 File:Finnmark vapen.png Finnmark Vadsø



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.



Formerly 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[1]1814.

At the beginning of the 1500s 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[2]. 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 1600s the number of subsidiary len was reduced, while the composition of the principal len became more stable.[3]

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. [4]


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.[5]

Amt in 1671[]

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

  • Stiftsamt: Akershus amt (headquarters: Christiania)
    • Amt: Smålenene amt, Brunla amt
  • Stiftsamt: Agdesiden amt (headquarters: Kristiansand)
    • Amt: Bratsberg amt, Stavanger amt
  • Stiftsamt: Bergenhus amt (headquarters: Bergen)
    • Amt: Halsnøy klostergods, Hardanger amt, Nordlandene amt
  • Stiftsamt: Trondheim amt (headquarters: Trondheim)
    • Amt: Romsdalen amt, Vardøhus amt

Amt in 1730[]

From 1730 Norway had the following amt:

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

  • Laurvigen grevskap (now: Larvik city)
  • Jarlsberg grevskap


A geopolitical map of Norway, exhibiting its 19 first-order subnational divisions (fylker or "counties") with Svalbard and Jan Mayen

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

References and notes[]

  1. ^ Christian III, king of Denmark-Norway, carried out the Protestant Reformation in Norway in 1536.
  2. ^ Kavli, Guthorm (1987). Norges festninger. Universitetsforlaget. ISBN 82-00-18430-7. 
  3. ^ Len on Norwegian Wikipedia
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Amt at Norwegian Wikipedia

See also[]

External links[]

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