Regions


Northern Norway

Northern Norway is the geographical region of Norway, consisting of the three northernmost counties Nordland, Troms and Finnmark, in total about 35% of the Norwegian mainland.Some of the largest towns in Northern Norway (from south to north) are Mo i Rana, Bodø, Narvik, Harstad, Tromsø and Alta. Northern Norway is often described as the land of the midnight sun and the land of the northern lights. Further north, halfway to the North Pole, is the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, traditionally not regarded as part of Northern Norway.

The region is multi-cultural, housing not just Norwegians but also the indigenous Sami people, Norwegian Finns (known as Kvens, distinct from the “Forest Finns” of Southern Norway) and Russian populations (mostly in Kirkenes). The Norwegian language dominates in most of the area; Sami speakers are mainly found inland and in some of the fjord areas of Nordland, Troms and particularly Finnmark – though ethnic Sámi who do not speak the language are found more or less everywhere in the region. Finnish is spoken in only a few communities in the east of Finnmark.

Northern Norway covers about a third of Norway. The southernmost part, roughly the part south of the Arctic Circle, is called Helgeland. Here there is a multitude of islands and skerries on the outside of the coastal range, some flat, some with impressive shapes, like Mount Torghatten, which has a hole through it, and the Seven Sisters near Sandnessjøen. The inland is covered with dense spruce forests and mountains near the Swedish border; some of the biggest rivers in the region are the Vefsna and the Ranelva. The highest mountain in Northern Norway is found here in the Okstindan range south of Mo i Rana with Oksskolten reaching 1,915 metres (6,283 ft) above sea level, and with the glacier Okstindbreen.


Central Norway
Central Norway is an administrative division that includes the counties of Nord-Trøndelag, Sør-Trøndelag and Møre og Romsdal and is used by, for example, the regional health authorities and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. Compared to the traditional regions of Norway it covers all of Trøndelag and some of Vestlandet. It has a total population of just under 760,000 people, with the Trondheim metropolitan region accounting for roughly 275,000.
There has been some political movement towards replacing the counties with larger regions. It is then expected that much of Central Norway, at least Trøndelag and Nordmøre, will form one such region due to the historical, cultural and linguistic ties.


Western Norway
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. The region has a population of approximately 1.3 million people. The largest city is Bergen and the second-largest is Stavanger. Agder, Vest-Telemark, Hallingdal, Valdres and northern parts of Gudbrandsdal have at times been included in Western Norway.
The area shares a common history with Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Iceland and to a lesser extent the Netherlands and Britain. For example, the Icelandic horse is a close relative of the Fjord horse and both the Faroese and Icelandic languages have similarities to the West Norwegian dialects.

Western Norway has also had much emigration to the United States, Canada, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the United Kingdom. This applies particularly to the US states of Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana, and South Dakota. The Icelandic and Faroese people, and many people in the British Isles, are descendants of Norsemen and Vikings who emigrated from Western Norway during the Viking Age. On the other hand, thousands of Western Norwegians are descendants of Dutch and German traders who arrived in the 16th and the 17th centuries, especially in Bergen.
Western Norway has the lowest unemployment rates, lowest crime rates, smallest public sector, fewest people on welfare and the most innovative economy in the country. It is generally regarded as Norway’s most functional region.


Southern Norway
Southern Norway is the geographical region of the Skagerrak coast of southern Norway consisting of the two counties of Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder. The total combined area of Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder is 16,493 square kilometres.

Southern Norway is the youngest region of Norway, it was established short after Northern Norway. The first village builder was Vilhelm Krag who thought Southern Norway should have been bigger than it is today, from Egersund to Grenland, but even today it isn’t entirely sure where the border goes. All the way back in 1865, it was talked about “the southern Norway boats”. These boats were built in Lista and the invention was from a man from Lofoten, Northern Norway. So the expression “Sørlandet” first appeared in 1902.
The name and modern concept of this part of the country being considered as a separate region was introduced as late as 1902 by the local author Vilhelm Krag. Prior to this, the area was considered part of Western Norway. Southern Norway coincides roughly with the historic petty kingdom of Agder, which lends its name to the two constituent counties: Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder, as well as the University of Agder.


Eastern Norway
Eastern Norway 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. Eastern Norway is by far the most populous region of Norway. It contains the country’s capital, Oslo, which is Norway’s most populous city.
In Norwegian, the region is called Østlandet and Austlandet (“East Land”) in contrast to Vestlandet.
As of 2010, the region had 2,454,700 inhabitants. In 2014, Norway’s population was 5,156,450.

The region is bounded by mountains in the north and west, the Swedish border to the east and by Viken and Skagerrak to the south. The border towards Sørlandet is less obvious.
The mountains reach a height of 2469 metres in the Jotunheimen mountain range, the highest point in the Nordic countries (excluding Greenland). Other prominent mountain ranges include part of the Dovrefjell in the far north of the region, the Rondane north east of Lillehammer and others. The high plateau of Hardangervidda extends into Western Norway.
Most of eastern Norway’s southern half is dominated of rolling hills with pine and spruce forests, and agricultural land down in the valleys

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