Vestland
Vestland within Norway
Vestland within Norway
Coordinates: 60°55′49″N 6°25′57″E / 60.93024°N 6.43261°E / 60.93024; 6.43261Coordinates: 60°55′49″N 6°25′57″E / 60.93024°N 6.43261°E / 60.93024; 6.43261
CountryNorway
RegionWestern Norway
County IDNO-46
Administrative centresBergen, Leikanger
Other townsFlorø, Førde, Leirvik, Måløy, Odda
Government
 • GovernorLars Sponheim
 • County mayorJon Askeland (Sp)
Area
 • Total33,870.99 km2 (13,077.66 sq mi)
 • Land31,978.41 km2 (12,346.93 sq mi)
 • Water1,892.58 km2 (730.73 sq mi)  5.6%
 • Rank5
Population
 (1 January 2021)[3]
 • Total641,292 (2,022)[1]
 • Rank3
Demonym(s)Vestlending
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Official language formNynorsk[4]
Websitevlfk.no

Vestland is a county in Norway established on 1 January 2020.[5][6] The county is located in Western Norway and it is centred around the city of Bergen, Norway's second largest city. The administrative centre of the county is the city of Bergen, where the executive and political leadership is based, but the County Governor is based in Hermansverk. The county is one of two counties in Norway that have Nynorsk as their official written language form (the others are neutral as to which form people use).[7]

Vestland was created in 2020 when the former counties of Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane (with the exception of Hornindal municipality, which became part of Volda municipality in Møre og Romsdal county) were merged.[8]

History

Vestland county is a newly created county, but it has been inhabited for centuries. The area was made up of many petty kingdoms under the Gulating during the Middle Ages. The northern part was the known as Firdafylke (now the Fjordane region; Nordfjord-Sunnfjord), the central are was known as Sygnafylke (now the Sogn region), and the southern part was known as Hordafylke.

In the early 16th century, Norway was divided into four len. The Bergenhus len was headquartered in Bergen and encompassed much of western and northern Norway including Firdafylke, Sygnafylke, Hordafylke, and Sunnmørafylke (in the present day Møre og Romsdal county). The new Bergenhus len was administered from the Bergenhus Fortress in the city of Bergen.

In 1662, the lens were replaced by amts. On 19 February 1662, a royal decree changed the name to Bergenhus amt. The new Bergenhus amt originally consisted of the present-day areas of Vestland and the Sunnmøre region of Møre og Romsdal, plus the far northern Nordlandene amt was subordinate to Bergenhus amt. The Sunnmøre region was transferred to Romsdalen amt in 1689 and the Nordlandene amt was separated around that time as well.

In 1763, the amt was divided into northern and southern parts: Nordre Bergenhus amt and Søndre Bergenhus amt. When the amt was split, the present day municipality of Gulen was split with the southern part ending up in Søndre Bergenhus amt. In 1773, the border was re-drawn so that all of Gulen was located in the northern part.

On 1 January 1919, Nordre Bergenhus amt was renamed Sogn og Fjordane fylke and Søndre Bergenhus amt was renamed Hordaland fylke during a period of time when many location names in Norway were changed.[9]

The city of Bergen was removed from the Bergenhus amt in 1831 and it was classified as a city-county (byamt) from 1831 to 1972. During that time in 1915, the municipality of Årstad was annexed into Bergen. In 1972, the neighbouring municipalities of Arna, Fana, Laksevåg and Åsane were annexed into the city of Bergen. Also at that same time, the city of Bergen lost its county status, and became a part of Hordaland county once again.

On 1 January 2020, Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane counties were merged back together once again, forming Vestland county.

Geography

Hardanger is one of Norway's most important sources of fruit, providing about 40% of Norway's fruit production, including apples, plums, pears, cherries, and redcurrants.
Hardanger is one of Norway's most important sources of fruit, providing about 40% of Norway's fruit production, including apples, plums, pears, cherries, and redcurrants.

Vestland is located on the western coast of Norway. It is split up by several long, deep fjords including the Nordfjorden, Sognefjorden, and Hardangerfjorden, some of Norway's most notable fjords and great tourist attractions. About half of the Hardangervidda National Park is in the county. It also includes the Jostedal, Folgefonna, and Hardangerjøkulen glaciers. The county also includes many well-known waterfalls, such as Vøringsfossen and Stykkjedalsfossen. Ramnefjellsfossen (previously called Utigardfossen) is the tallest in Norway and third tallest in the world and Vettisfossen is one of Norway's highest waterfalls with a vertical drop of 275 metres (902 ft). Both are located in the Jotunheim mountains.

Outside of the Bergen metropolitan area, the county is mostly a rural area with a scattered population. Cruise ships visit Vestland all summer because of the unique vistas of high mountains and deep blue fjords. The famous Nærøyfjord is located in the south of the county. This is a UNESCO listed fjord area. There are several archipelagos, including Øygarden, Austevoll, Bulandet, Bremangerlandet, and Kinn. The westernmost point in Norway proper is Holmebåen in Solund municipality. The island of Unst, part of Shetland Islands is around 300 kilometres (190 mi) west of Holmebåen.

The terrain changes quite rapidly with mostly smaller mountains on the coastline, gradually increasing to mountains reaching more than 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). Because of the steep rise in elevation and fjords cutting through the terrain, the amount of precipitation is very high. Low pressure systems come in from the west and meet the mountains (a phenomenon known as orographic lifting) and cause rain and snowfall.

Government

Main article: Vestland County Municipality

A county (fylke) is the chief local administrative area in Norway. The whole country is divided into 11 counties. A county is also an election area, with popular votes taking place every 4 years. In Vestland, the government of the county is the Vestland County Municipality. It includes 65 members who are elected to form a county council (Fylkesting). Heading the Fylkesting is the county mayor (fylkesordførar). Since 2020, the Vestland County Municipality has been led by Jon Askeland, the county mayor.[10][11][12]

The county also has a County Governor (fylkesmann) who is the representative of the King and Government of Norway. Lars Sponheim is the current County Governor of Vestland and this office is based in Hermansverk.[12]

The municipalities in Vestland are divided among several district courts (tingrett): Nordhordland District Court, Sunnhordland District Court, Bergen District Court, Hardanger District Court, and Sogn og Fjordane District Court. All of these courts are subordinate to the Gulating Court of Appeal district based in Bergen.[12]

Media gallery

Panorama over the island of Sotra.

Municipalities

Vestland County has a total of 43 municipalities:[13]

Municipal
Number
Name Adm. Centre Location in
the county
Established Old Municipal No.
(before 2020)
Former County
(before 2020)
4601
Bergen komm.svg
Bergen
Bergen
NO 4601 Bergen.svg
1 Jan 1972 1201 Bergen Hordaland
4602
Kinn komm.svg
Kinn
Florø
NO 4602 Kinn.svg
1 Jan 2020 1401 Flora
1439 Vågsøy (part)
Sogn og Fjordane
4611
Etne komm.svg
Etne
Etnesjøen
NO 4611 Etne.svg
1 Jan 1838 1211 Etne Hordaland
4612
Sveio komm.svg
Sveio
Sveio
NO 4612 Sveio.svg
1 Jan 1865 1216 Sveio
4613
Bømlo komm.svg
Bømlo
Svortland
NO 4613 Bømlo.svg
1 Jan 1916 1219 Bømlo
4614
Stord komm.svg
Stord
Leirvik
NO 4614 Stord.svg
1 Jan 1838 1221 Stord
4615
Fitjar komm.svg
Fitjar
Fitjar
NO 4615 Fitjar.svg
1 Jan 1863 1222 Fitjar
4616
Tysnes komm.svg
Tysnes
Uggdal
NO 4616 Tysnes.svg
1 Jan 1838 1223 Tysnes
4617
Kvinnherad komm.svg
Kvinnherad
Rosendal
NO 4617 Kvinnherad.svg
1 Jan 1838 1224 Kvinnherad
4618
Ullensvang komm 2020.svg
Ullensvang
Odda
NO 4618 Ullensvang.svg
1 Jan 1838 1227 Jondal
1228 Odda
1230 Ullensvang
4619
Eidfjord komm.svg
Eidfjord
Eidfjord
NO 4619 Eidfjord.svg
1 Jan 1977 1232 Eidfjord
4620
Ulvik komm.svg
Ulvik
Ulvik
NO 4620 Ulvik.svg
1 Jan 1838 1233 Ulvik
4621
Voss herad.svg
Voss
Vossevangen
NO 4621 Voss.svg
1 Jan 1838 1234 Granvin
1235 Voss
4622
Kvam komm.svg
Kvam
Norheimsund
NO 4622 Kvam.svg
1 Jan 1838 1238 Kvam
4623
Samnanger komm.svg
Samnanger
Tysse
NO 4623 Samnanger.svg
1 Jan 1907 1242 Samnanger
4624
Bjørnafjorden komm.svg
Bjørnafjorden
Osøyro
NO 4624 Bjørnafjorden.svg
1 Jan 2020 1241 Fusa
1243 Os
4625
Austevoll komm.svg
Austevoll
Storebø
NO 4625 Austevoll.svg
1 Jan 1886 1244 Austevoll
4626
Sund komm.svg
Øygarden
Straume
NO 4626 Øygarden.svg
1 Jan 1964 1245 Sund
1246 Fjell
1259 Øygarden
4627
Askøy komm.svg
Askøy
Kleppestø
NO 4627 Askøy.svg
1 Jan 1838 1247 Askøy
4628
Vaksdal komm.svg
Vaksdal
Dale
NO 4628 Vaksdal.svg
1 Jan 1964 1251 Vaksdal
4629
Modalen komm.svg
Modalen
Mo
NO 4629 Modalen.svg
1 Jan 1910 1252 Modalen
4630
Osterøy komm.svg
Osterøy
Lonevåg
NO 4630 Osterøy.svg
1 Jan 1964 1253 Osterøy
4631
Alver komm.svg
Alver
Knarvik
NO 4631 Alver.svg
1 Jan 2020 1256 Meland
1260 Radøy
1263 Lindås
4632
Austrheim komm.svg
Austrheim
Årås
NO 4632 Austrheim.svg
1 Jan 1910 1264 Austrheim
4633
Fedje komm.svg
Fedje
Fedje
NO 4633 Fedje.svg
1 Jan 1947 1265 Fedje
4634
Masfjorden komm.svg
Masfjorden
Masfjordnes
NO 4634 Masfjorden.svg
1 Mar 1879 1266 Masfjorden
4635
Gulen komm.svg
Gulen
Eivindvik
NO 4635 Gulen.svg
1 Jan 1838 1411 Gulen Sogn og Fjordane
4636
Solund komm.svg
Solund
Hardbakke
NO 4636 Solund.svg
1 Jan 1858 1412 Solund
4637
Hyllestad komm.svg
Hyllestad
Hyllestad
NO 4637 Hyllestad.svg
1 Jan 1862 1413 Hyllestad
4638
Høyanger komm.svg
Høyanger
Høyanger
NO 4638 Høyanger.svg
1 Jan 1964 1416 Høyanger
4639
Vik komm.svg
Vik
Vikøyri
NO 4639 Vik.svg
1 Jan 1838 1417 Vik
4640
Sogndal komm 2020.svg
Sogndal
Hermansverk
NO 4640 Sogndal.svg
1 Jan 1838 1418 Balestrand
1419 Leikanger
1420 Sogndal
4641
Aurland komm.svg
Aurland
Aurlandsvangen
NO 4641 Aurland.svg
1 Jan 1838 1421 Aurland
4642
Lærdal komm.svg
Lærdal
Lærdalsøyri
NO 4642 Lærdal.svg
1 Jan 1838 1422 Lærdal
4643
Årdal komm.svg
Årdal
Årdalstangen
NO 4643 Årdal.svg
1 Jan 1863 1424 Årdal
4644
Luster komm.svg
Luster
Gaupne
NO 4644 Luster.svg
1 Jan 1838 1426 Luster
4645
Askvoll komm.svg
Askvoll
Askvoll
NO 4645 Askvoll.svg
1 Jan 1838 1428 Askvoll
4646
Fjaler komm.svg
Fjaler
Dale
NO 4646 Fjaler.svg
1 Jan 1838 1429 Fjaler
4647
Sunnfjord komm.svg
Sunnfjord
Førde
NO 4647 Sunnfjord.svg
1 Jan 2020 1430 Gaular
1431 Jølster
1432 Førde
1433 Naustdal
4648
Bremanger komm.svg
Bremanger
Svelgen
NO 4648 Bremanger.svg
1 Jan 1866 1438 Bremanger
4649
Stad komm.svg
Stad
Nordfjordeid
NO 4649 Stad.svg
1 Jan 2020 1439 Vågsøy (part)
1441 Selje
1443 Eid
4650
Gloppen komm.svg
Gloppen
Sandane
NO 4650 Gloppen.svg
1 Jan 1838 1445 Gloppen
4651
Stryn komm.svg
Stryn
Stryn
NO 4651 Stryn.svg
1 Jan 1843 1449 Stryn

See also

References

  1. ^ "Population". SSB. 24 February 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  2. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2020). "09280: Area of land and fresh water (km²) (M)" (in Norwegian).
  3. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2020). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian).
  4. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar (målvedtaksforskrifta)" (in Norwegian). Lovdata.no. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Arealstatistikk for Norge". Kartverket (in Norwegian Bokmål). 8 March 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  6. ^ "19 fylker blir til 11 – dette skal de hete (19 counties becoming 11 – this will be their names)" (in Norwegian). 6 April 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar (målvedtaksforskrifta)" (in Norwegian). Lovdata.no. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Navn på nye kommuner (Name of new municipalities)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  9. ^ Natvik, Oddvar (29 August 2005). "Sogn og Fjordane". Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2008.
  10. ^ Berg, Ole T., ed. (5 March 2021). "fylke". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  11. ^ Berg, Ole T., ed. (19 February 2020). "fylkeskommune". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  12. ^ a b c Thorsnæs, Geir, ed. (12 October 2020). "Vestland". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  13. ^ List of Norwegian municipality numbers