Districts of Norway
The country Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 is historically divided into a number of district
Districts are a type of administrative division, in some countries managed by a local government. They vary greatly in size, spanning entire regions or counties, several municipalities, or subdivisions of municipalities.-Austria:...

s. Many districts have deep historical roots, and only partially coincide with today's administrative units of counties
Counties of Norway
Norway is divided into 19 administrative regions, called counties . The counties form the primary first-level subdivisions of Norway and are further divided into 430 municipalities...

 and municipalities
Municipalities of Norway
Norway is divided into 19 administrative regions, called counties , and 430 municipalities...

. The districts are defined by geographical features, often valley
In geology, a valley or dale is a depression with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river valley may be called a canyon or gorge.The terms U-shaped and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography to characterize the form of valleys...

s, mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

s, fjord
Geologically, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity.-Formation:A fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a U-shaped valley by abrasion of the surrounding bedrock. Glacial melting is accompanied by rebound of Earth's crust as the ice...

s, plains, or coastlines, or combinations of the above. Many such regions were petty kingdom
Petty kingdom
A petty kingdom is one of a number of small kingdoms, described as minor or "petty" by contrast to an empire or unified kingdom that either preceded or succeeded it...

s up to the early Viking age
Viking Age
Viking Age is the term for the period in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, spanning the late 8th to 11th centuries. Scandinavian Vikings explored Europe by its oceans and rivers through trade and warfare. The Vikings also reached Iceland, Greenland,...


Regional identity

A high percentage of Norwegians identify themselves more by the district they live in or come from, than the formal administrative unit(s) whose jurisdiction they fall under. A significant reason for this is that the districts, through their strong geographical limits, have historically delineated the region(s) within which one could travel without too much trouble or expenditure of time and money (on foot or ski
A ski is a long, flat device worn on the foot, usually attached through a boot, designed to help the wearer slide smoothly over snow. Originally intended as an aid to travel in snowy regions, they are now mainly used for recreational and sporting purposes...

s, by horse/ox-drawn cart or sleigh or dog sled
Dog sled
A dog sled is a sled pulled by one or more sled dogs used to travel over ice and through snow. Numerous types of sleds are used, depending on their function. They can be used for dog sled racing.-History:...

, or by one's own small rowing
Watercraft rowing
Watercraft rowing is the act of propelling a boat using the motion of oars in the water. The difference between paddling and rowing is that with rowing the oars have a mechanical connection with the boat whereas with paddling the paddles are hand-held with no mechanical connection.This article...

 or sail boat). Thus, dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s and regional commonality in folk culture
Folk culture
Folk culture refers to the lifestyle of a culture. Historically, handed down through oral tradition, it demonstrates the "old ways" over novelty and relates to a sense of community. Folk culture is quite often imbued with a sense of place...

 tended to correspond to those same geographical units, despite any division into administrative districts by authorities.

In modern times the whole country has become more closely connected, based on the following:
  • Communication technologies such as telegraph, newspapers, telephone, radio and TV. In particular Televerket
    Televerket is the name of two government telecommunications agencies:*Televerket , former name of Swedish company Telia, later merged to TeliaSonera.*Televerket, former name of Norwegian company Telenor...

     and NRK.
  • The construction of mountain crossings, tunnels through mountains, bridges, undersea tunnels; many of these projects, particularly the larger bridges and the undersea tunnels, were undertaken as late as the 1970s forward.
  • Establishing a coastal express route of combined passenger and cargo ships, like the Hurtigruten
    Hurtigruten or Hurtigruta is a Norwegian passenger and freight line with daily sailings along Norway's western and northern coast. Sometimes referred to in English as Norwegian Coastal Express, Hurtigruten ships sail almost the entire length of the country, completing the roundtrip journey in 11...

    , sailing regularly from Bergen to Kirkenes
    is a town in the municipality of Sør-Varanger in the county of Finnmark in the far northeast of Norway...

     and back again, and stopping by at a host of cities and towns along the western and northern coast.
  • The construction of railroads
    Rail transport in Norway
    The Norwegian railway system comprises 4,087 km of track of which 2,622 km is electrified and 242 km double track. There are 696 tunnels and 2760 bridges....

     between distant parts of the country.
  • The opening of dozens of new airports all over the country through the 1960s and 70s.
  • The release of private cars from government rationing and import restrictions from the 1950s onwards.

A concrete display of the Norwegian habit of identifying themselves by district can be seen in the many regional costumes, called bunad
Bunad is an umbrella term encompassing, in its broadest sense, a range of both traditional rural garments as well modern 20th century folk costumes. In its narrow sense the word Bunad does only refer to garments constructed in the early 20th century very loosely based on tradition...

, strictly connected to distinct districts across the country. Commonly, even city dwellers proudly mark their rural origins by wearing such a costume, from their ancestral landscape, at weddings, visits with members of the royal family, Constitution Day
Norwegian Constitution Day
Norwegian Constitution Day is the National Day of Norway and is an official national holiday observed on May 17 each year. Among Norwegians, the day is referred to simply as syttende mai or syttande mai , Nasjonaldagen or Grunnlovsdagen , although the latter is less frequent.- Historical...

 (May 17), and other ceremonial occasions.

List of traditional districts

The following list is non-exhaustive and partially overlapping.

The first name is the name in Bokmål
Bokmål is one of two official Norwegian written standard languages, the other being Nynorsk. Bokmål is used by 85–90% of the population in Norway, and is the standard most commonly taught to foreign students of the Norwegian language....

, the second Nynorsk
Nynorsk or New Norwegian is one of two official written standards for the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. The standard language was created by Ivar Aasen during the mid-19th century, to provide a Norwegian alternative to the Danish language which was commonly written in Norway at the...


North Norway or Nord-Noreg , North Sámi: Davvi-Norga) is the geographical region of northern Norway, consisting of the three counties Nordland, Troms and Finnmark, in total about 35% of the Norwegian mainland. Some of the largest towns in North Norway are Mo i Rana, Bodø, Narvik, Harstad, Tromsø...

 / Nord-Noreg (North Norway)

  • Helgeland
    Helgeland is the most southerly district in Northern Norway. Generally speaking, Helgeland refers to the part of Nordland county that is located south of the Arctic Circle. The district covers an area of about , with nearly 79,000 inhabitants...

  • Lofoten
    Lofoten is an archipelago and a traditional district in the county of Nordland, Norway. Though lying within the Arctic Circle, the archipelago experiences one of the world's largest elevated temperature anomalies relative to its high latitude.-Etymology:...

  • Ofoten
    Ofoten is a district in North Norway, consisting of the municipalities Tysfjord, Ballangen, Evenes, Tjeldsund, Narvik and Lødingen. It is named after the main fjord Ofotfjord, which is at the center of this landscape...

  • Salten
    Salten is a district in Nordland in North Norway, consisting of the municipalities Meløy, Gildeskål, Bodø, Beiarn, Saltdal, Fauske, Sørfold, Steigen and Hamarøy. The district borders Helgeland in the south , Ofoten in the north, Sweden in the east and Vestfjorden in the west...

  • Vesterålen
    Vesterålen is a district and archipelago in Nordland, Norway, just north of Lofoten.-The name:The Norse forms of the name were Vestráll and Vestrálar . The first element is vestr n west, the last element is áll m ' sound, strait'...

See also Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

, Hålogaland
Hålogaland was the northernmost of the Norwegian provinces in the mediaeval Norse sagas. In the early Viking Age, before Harald Fairhair, Hålogaland was a petty kingdom extending between Namdalen in Nord-Trøndelag and Lyngen in Troms.-Etymology:...

 and Troms
or Romsa is a county in North Norway, bordering Finnmark to the northeast and Nordland in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län in Sweden and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in Finland. To the west is the Norwegian Sea...


Trøndelag is the name of a geographical region in the central part of Norway, consisting of the two counties Nord-Trøndelag and Sør-Trøndelag. The region is, together with Møre og Romsdal, part of a larger...

  • Fosen
    Fosen is a traditional district in Trøndelag, consisting of the municipalities Osen, Roan, Åfjord, Bjugn, Ørland, Rissa, Agdenes, Snillfjord, Hemne, Hitra and Frøya. The district is dominated by forested valleys, lakes, coastal cliffs but also shallow areas, and in the interior mountains reaching...

     or Fosna
  • Gauldalen
  • Innherred or Innherad
    Innherred or Innherad is a traditional district in Nord-Trøndelag county in the central part of Norway. It consists of the areas around the inner part of the Trondheimsfjord including the municipalities of Levanger, Frosta, Steinkjer, Verdal, Inderøy, Mosvik, and Verran. Sometimes the...

  • Namdalen
    Namdalen is a traditional district in the central part of Norway, consisting of the municipalities Namsos, Grong, Overhalla, Røyrvik, Fosnes, Nærøy, Høylandet, Namdalseid, Flatanger, Lierne, Leka, Namsskogan, and Vikna, all in Nord-Trøndelag county. The district has two towns: Kolvereid and Namsos...

  • Orkdalen
    Orkdalen or Orkladalen is a traditional Norwegian district in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. In the early Viking Age, before Harald Fairhair, Orkdalen was also a petty kingdom....

  • Stjørdalen
    Stjørdalen is a valley and a traditional district in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway. It makes up the southern part of the Inntrøndelag region....

Western Norway is the region along the Atlantic coast of southern Norway. It consists of the counties Rogaland, Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane, and Møre og Romsdal and the region has a population of approximately 1.3 million people. The largest city is Bergen, second largest is Stavanger...

 (The Westland)

  • Dalane
    Dalane is a traditional district in the south-western part of Norway, consisting of the municipalities Lund, Sokndal, Eigersund and Bjerkreim. Dalane is one of the 15 districts in Western Norway....

  • Hardanger
    Hardanger is a traditional district in the western part of Norway, dominated by the Hardangerfjord. It consists of the municipalities of Odda, Ullensvang, Eidfjord, Ulvik, Granvin, Kvam and Jondal, and is located inside the county of Hordaland....

  • Haugalandet
  • Jæren
    Jæren is a traditional district in the county of Rogaland. The others are Dalane, Ryfylke and Haugalandet.Jæren is the largest flat lowland area in Norway, stretching from the municipality of Randaberg in the north to Hå in the south. The coast is flat compared to the rest of the Norwegian coast,...

  • Midhordland
    Midhordland , is a traditional district in the western part of Norway, consisting of the central portion of the county of Hordaland...

  • Nordfjord
    Nordfjord is a fjord and a traditional district in the northern part of Sogn og Fjordane county in Western Norway. The district comprises the municipalities of Selje, Vågsøy, Bremanger, Eid, Gloppen, Hornindal, and Stryn. Nordfjord covers an area of and is home to a population of approximately...

  • Nordhordland
    Nordhordland is a traditional district in the western part of Norway, consisting of the northern portion of the county of Hordaland. It includes the municipalities Austrheim, Fedje, Lindås, Masfjorden, Meland, Modalen, Osterøy, Radøy and Vaksdal....

  • Nordmøre
    Nordmøre is a traditional district in the Norwegian county of Møre og Romsdal. The area comprises the northern third of the county including the municipalities of Kristiansund, Averøy, Tingvoll, Surnadal, Rindal, Aure, Halsa, Eide, Sunndal, Gjemnes, and Smøla...

  • Romsdal
    Romsdal is the name of a traditional district in the Norwegian county Møre og Romsdal, located between Nordmøre and Sunnmøre. The district of Romsdal comprises Aukra, Fræna, Midsund, Molde, Nesset, Rauma, Sandøy, and Vestnes. It is named for the valley of Romsdalen, which covers part of Rauma.The...

  • Ryfylke
    Ryfylke is a traditional district in Norway, located northeast of Stavanger and east of Haugesund. In the east it borders Setesdal and Sirdal.Ryfylke comprises the contemporary municipalities of Sauda, Suldal, Finnøy, Hjelmeland, Forsand, Strand, Kvitsøy and Rennesøy...

  • Sogn
    Sogn is a traditional district in Western Norway . It is located in the county of Sogn og Fjordane, surrounding the Sognefjord. Sogn consists of the municipalities of Aurland, Balestrand, Hyllestad, Høyanger, Gulen, Leikanger, Luster, Lærdal, Sogndal, Solund, Vik, and Årdal. The district covers ...

  • Sunnfjord
    Sunnfjord is a traditional district in Western Norway located in Sogn og Fjordane county. It includes the municipalities of Askvoll, Fjaler, Flora, Førde, Gaular, Jølster, Naustdal, and the southernmost parts of Bremanger...

  • Sunnhordland
    Sunnhordland is a traditional district in the western part of Norway, consisting of the southern, coastal regions of the county of Hordaland, from the mouth of the Hardangerfjord and outwards to the Atlantic Ocean...

  • Sunnmøre
    Sunnmøre is the southernmost traditional district of the western Norwegian county of Møre og Romsdal. Its main city is Ålesund. The region comprises the municipalities of Giske, Hareid, Herøy, Norddal, Sande, Skodje, Haram, Stordal, Stranda, Sula, Sykkylven, Ulstein, Vanylven, Volda, Ørskog,...

  • Voss
    is a municipality in Hordaland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional district of Voss. The administrative center of the municipality is the village of Vossevangen....

Eastern Norway or Austlandet ) is the geographical region of the south-eastern part of Norway. It consists of the counties Telemark, Vestfold, Østfold, Akershus, Oslo , Buskerud, Oppland and Hedmark....

 / Austlandet (The Eastland)

  • Eiker
    Eiker is a traditional district in the county of Buskerud, Norway.-History:Eiker consists of the municipalities of Nedre Eiker and Øvre Eiker . The area is located in the southern part of Buskerud county....

  • Follo
    Follo is one of three districts in the county of Akershus, Norway. It is located between Oslo and Østfold and includes the southwestern part of the county's area east of Oslo, namely the municipalities Frogn, Oppegård, Ski, Vestby, Ås, Nesodden, and Enebakk...

  • Grenland
    Grenland is a traditional district in the county of Telemark, in the south of Norway. It is composed of the municipalities Skien, Porsgrunn, Bamble, Nome, and Siljan. Sometimes the municipalities Kragerø, and Drangedal are considered being part of the area...

  • Gudbrandsdal
    The Gudbrandsdalen is a valley and traditional district in the Norwegian county of Oppland. The valley is oriented in a north-westerly direction from Lillehammer at Mjøsa, extending 230 km toward Romsdal...

  • Hadeland
    Hadeland is a traditional district in the south-eastern part of Norway. It is located around the southern part of lake Randsfjorden in Oppland county, and consists of the municipalities of Gran, Jevnaker and Lunner. Hadeland occupies the area north of the hills of Nordmarka close to the Norwegian...

  • Hallingdal
    Hallingdal is a valley and traditional district in Buskerud county in Norway. It consists of the municipalities of Flå, Nes, Gol, Hemsedal, Ål and Hol.-History:Ancient routes went to Vestlandet through Valdres and Hallingdal and down Røldal to Odda...

  • Hedmarken
    Hedmarken is a traditional district in the county of Hedmark in Eastern Norway....

  • Land
    Land, Norway
    Land is a traditional district in Oppland, Norway consisting of the municipalities Nordre Land and Søndre Land. Land was a formannskapsdistrikt from 1837, and split into Nordre- and Søndre Land in 1847. By the time of partition Land had a population of 9,199....

  • Midt-Telemark
    Midt Telemark
    Midt-Telemark is a traditional district of Norway situated in the middle of Telemark county.It comprises three municipalities: Bø, Sauherad and Nome. The largest population centres in the region are Bø, Ulefoss, Bjervamoen and Gvarv, of which Ulefoss is the largest with 2,696 inhabitants...

  • Numedal
    Numedal is a traditional district and valley Buskerud, Norway. Running north–south, it extends between Kongsberg in the south to Rødberg in the north, passing through the municipalities of Kongsberg, Flesberg, Rollag and Nore og Uvdal.. The river Numedalslågen, the third-longest in the country,...

  • Odalen
  • Ringerike
    oskar er kjempe kulRingerike is a municipality in Buskerud county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Ringerike...

  • Romerike
    Romerike is a traditional district located north-east of Oslo, in what is today south-eastern Norway. It consists of the Akershus municipalities Fet, Lørenskog, Nittedal, Rælingen, Skedsmo, Sørum and Aurskog-Høland in the southern end , and Ullensaker, Gjerdrum, Nannestad, Nes, Eidsvoll and Hurdal...

  • Solør
    Solør is a Norwegian traditional district consisting of the valley between Elverum in the north and Kongsvinger in the south. It is part of the county of Hedmark, and includes the municipalities Våler, Åsnes and Grue.-Glomma valley :...

  • Toten
    Toten is a traditional district in Oppland county in the eastern part of Norway. It consists of the municipalities Østre Toten, Vestre Toten, and Gjøvik.Toten was a petty kingdom in the early Viking Ages, with Halfdan Hvitbeinn as the most notable king....

  • Valdres
    Valdres is a traditional district in central, southern Norway, situated between Gudbrandsdal and Hallingdal.Administratively, Valdres belongs to Oppland. It consists of the municipalities Nord-Aurdal, Sør-Aurdal, Øystre Slidre, Vestre Slidre, Vang and Etnedal. The main town in the region is...

  • Vestfold
    is a county in Norway, bordering Buskerud and Telemark. The county administration is in Tønsberg.Vestfold is located west of the Oslofjord, as the name indicates. It includes many smaller, but well-known towns in Norway, such as Larvik, Sandefjord, Tønsberg and Horten. The river Numedalslågen runs...

  • Vest-Telemark
    The Vest-Telemark traditional district of Norway comprises the upper and western areas of the county of Telemark. The region consists of six municipalities: Fyresdal, Tokke, Vinje, Nissedal, Kviteseid and Seljord....

  • Vinger
    Vinger is a traditional district and a parish as well as being a former municipality in Kongsvinger in Hedmark, Norway.The parish of Vinger was established as a municipality January 1, 1838 ....

  • Østerdalen
    Østerdalen is a valley and traditional district in Hedmark County, in Eastern Norway. It consisting of the municipalities Rendalen, Alvdal, Folldal,Tynset, Tolga and Os in the north, Elverum, Stor-Elvdal, Engerdal, Trysil and Åmot in the south.-Geography:...

  • Østfold
    is a county in southeastern Norway, bordering Akershus and southwestern Sweden , while Buskerud and Vestfold is on the other side of the bay. The seat of the county administration is Sarpsborg, and Fredrikstad is the largest city.Many manufacturing facilities are situated here. Moss and...

  • Øst-Telemark
    Øst Telemark
    Øst-Telemark is a traditional district in the county of Telemark in Norway.It comprises three municipalities: Hjartdal, Notodden and Tinn. The largest population centres in the region are the cities Notodden and Rjukan, of which Notodden is by far the largest with 8,319 inhabitants...

See also Glåmdal
Glåmdalen is a traditional district in Hedmark county in Eastern Norway. It comprises the municipalities of Eidskog and Kongsvinger. The regional center is the city of Kongsvinger...

, Viken
Viken was the historical name for the district in southeastern Norway, including the area surrounding the Oslofjord and Skagerrak, the strait running between Norway and the southwest coast of Sweden and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark.-History:...

 and Vingulmark
Vingulmark is the old name for the area in Norway which today makes up the counties of Østfold, western parts of Akershus , and eastern parts of Buskerud , and includes the site of Norway's capital, Oslo...


See also

  • Regions of Norway
    Regions of Norway
    Norway is divided into five major regions , which consist of counties as follows:*Northern Norway **Finnmark**Troms**Nordland*Trøndelag**Nord-Trøndelag**Sør-Trøndelag...

  • Counties of Norway
    Counties of Norway
    Norway is divided into 19 administrative regions, called counties . The counties form the primary first-level subdivisions of Norway and are further divided into 430 municipalities...

  • Metropolitan regions of Norway
    Metropolitan regions of Norway
    There are 16 statistical metropolitan areas in Norway, of which six count as "Greater City Regions" and ten as "City Regions" . The classification comes from Storbymeldingen from the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development...

  • Subdivisions of Norden
  • Traditional districts of Denmark
    Traditional districts of Denmark
    The traditional districts of Denmark differ from the country's administrative country subdivisions, as their existence and extent are usually not defined by law...

External links

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