Districts of Norway

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The country of Norway is historically divided into a number of districts. Many districts have deep historical roots, and only partially coincide with today's administrative units of counties and municipalities. The districts are defined by geographical features, often valleys, mountain ranges, fjords, plains, or coastlines, or combinations of the above. Many such regions were petty kingdoms up to the early Viking Age.


Regional identity

Southern Norway's districts during the Middle Ages Kart over Sor-Noreg.png
Southern Norway's districts during the Middle Ages
Northern Norway's districts during the Middle Ages Kart over Haalogaland.png
Northern Norway's districts during the Middle Ages

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[ citation needed ]. 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 skis, by horse/ox-drawn cart or sleigh or dog sled, or by one's own small rowing or sail boat). Thus, dialects and regional commonality in folk culture 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:

A concrete display of the Norwegian habit of identifying themselves by district can be seen in the many regional costumes, called bunad , 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 (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, the second Nynorsk.

Nord-Norge / Nord-Noreg (North Norway)

See also Finnmark, Hålogaland and Tromsø.

Sørlandet (Southern Norway)


Vestlandet (Western Norway)

Østlandet / Austlandet (Eastern Norway)

See also Viken and Vingulmark.

See also

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