Østfold [ˈœ̂stfɔl] (About this soundlisten) is a traditional region, a former county and a current electoral district in southeastern Norway. It borders Akershus and southwestern Sweden (Västra Götaland County and Värmland), while Buskerud and Vestfold are on the other side of Oslofjord. The county's administrative seat was Sarpsborg. The county controversially became part of the newly established Viken County on 1 January 2020.

Østfold fylke
Rødenes in late - June 2006
Rødenes in late - June 2006
Østfold within Norway
Østfold within Norway
County IDNO-01
Administrative centreSarpsborg
 • GovernorAnne Enger
 • County mayorOle Haabeth
 • Total4,180.7 km2 (1,614.2 sq mi)
 • Land3,887 km2 (1,501 sq mi)
Area rank#17 in Norway, 1.28% of Norway's land area
 (30 September 2019)
 • Total299,647 Increase
 • Rank#6 (5.61% of country)
 • Change (10 years)
7.5 %
Time zoneUTC+01 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02 (CEST)
Official language formBokmål
Income (per capita)138,600 NOK
GDP (per capita)200,084 NOK (2001)
GDP national rank8 (3.30% of country)
Data from Statistics Norway
Historical population
Source: Statistics Norway.[1]

Many manufacturing facilities are situated here, such as the world's most advanced biorefinery, Borregaard in Sarpsborg. Fredrikstad has shipyards. There are granite mines in Østfold and stone from these were used by Gustav Vigeland.

The county slogan is "The heartland of Scandinavia". The local dialect is characterized by its geographical proximity to Sweden.

The nameEdit

The old name of the Oslofjord was Fold; Østfold means 'the region east of the Fold' (see also Vestfold). The name was first recorded in 1543; in the Middle Ages the name of the county was Borgarsysla 'the county/sýsla of the city Borg (now Sarpsborg)'. Later, when Norway was under Danish rule, the Danish king divided the area into many baronies. These were merged into one county (amt) in 1662 - and it was then named Smaalenenes Amt 'the amt consisting of small len'. The name was changed back to Østfold in 1919.


Østfold is among the nation's oldest inhabited regions, with petroglyphs (rock drawings) and burial mounds throughout the area.

In the Viking Age, the area was part of Vingulmark, which in turn was part of Viken and included Båhuslen (which is now the Swedish province called Bohuslän). It was partly under Danish rule until the time of Harald Fairhair.

Later, when Norway was under Danish rule, the Danish king divided the area into many baronies. The barony of Heggen og Frøland, consisting of the municipalities Askim, Eidsberg and Trøgstad, originally belonged to Akershus - but it was transferred to Østfold in 1768.


Østfold sits between the Oslo Fjord and Sweden. It is dominated by flat landscape with a lot of woodland in the north and along the Swedish border, a major lake system in the central part, and densely populated lowland area along the coast, with a relatively large archipelago.

Norway’s longest river, the Glomma, flows through the county and out into the Oslo Fjord in Fredrikstad.


Most of the county's population is located in the coastal area. The cities of Moss, Sarpsborg, Fredrikstad and Halden are situated here, along with some relatively highly populated rural municipalities. Including these coastal cities, Østfold also has another two cities, Askim and Mysen.

Transport and infrastructureEdit

Østfold is located strategically between Oslo and Sweden. The main highway E6 between Oslo and Gothenburg runs as a motorway through the county from the southern border with Sweden and the border with Akershus county. The main highway E18 between Oslo and Stockholm goes through the county from the Swedish border in a southeast-northwest direction. The railway from Oslo to Gothenburg runs roughly parallel with E6, and there is also a railway between Ski and Sarpsborg that covers the inner part. There is no public airport in the county. Moss Airport was one but is now closed. The main airport for Østfold is the Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, with a population of more than 2 million people within two hours distance.

Health careEdit

Aimed at covering general medical needs of Østfold County and [Vestby Municipality] Østfold Hospital provides medical services, diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation to the population of the area.[2] Hospitals, clinics or health stations are located in all municipalities of the county.


Østfold had 18 municipalities:




  • Aremark
  • Asak
  • Askim
  • Berg
  • Borge
  • Båstad
  • Degernes
  • Domkirken i Borge, see Vestre Fredrikstad
  • Eidsberg
  • Enningdal
  • Fredrikshald, see Halden
  • Fredrikstad
  • Glemmen
  • Gressvik
  • Hafslund
  • Halden
  • Heli
  • Hobøl
  • Hovin
  • Hvaler
  • Hærland
  • Idd
  • Ingedal
  • Kråkerøy
  • Moss
  • Onsøy
  • Os
  • Rakkestad
  • Rokke
  • Rolvsøy
  • Rygge
  • Rødenes
  • Rømskog
  • Råde
  • Sarpsborg
  • Skiptvet
  • Skjeberg
  • Skjebergdalen
  • Spjærøy (Dypedal)
  • Spydeberg
  • St. Peter's
  • Svinndal
  • Tom
  • Tomter
  • Torsnes
  • Trøgstad
  • Trømborg
  • Tune
  • Ullerøy (Ullerø)
  • Varteig
  • Vestre Fredrikstad
  • Våler
  • Østre Fredrikstad
  • Øymark
  • Fredrikstad Branch (LDS, 1852-1925)
  • Fredrikstad (Kristi Menighet, 1893-1914)
  • Vestre Fredrikstad (Kristi Menighet, 1904-1933)
  • Halden Branch (LDS, 1854-1949)
  • Moss Branch (LDS, 1905-1949)
  • Sarpsborg Branch (LDS, 1931-1949)
  • Sarpsborg (Metodistkirken, 1840-1923)


Former MunicipalitiesEdit

Coat of armsEdit

The coat of arms is from modern times (1958). The lines represent sunrays at sunrise in the east. (See above under the name.) They also represent the worship of the Sun in the Bronze Age (depicted in several rock carvings found in the county).

Number of minorities (1st and 2nd gen.)
in Østfold by country of origin in 2017
Nationality Population (2017)
  Poland 6,711
  Iraq 4,470
  Somalia 3,068
  Kosovo 2,695
  Sweden 2,620
  Bosnia-Herzegovina 2,372
  Vietnam 1,889
  Lithuania 1,822
  Syria 1,334
  Denmark 1,291
  Iran 1,270
  Pakistan 1,188
  Philippines 1,008
  Thailand 992
  Germany 967
  Russia 879
  Turkey 829
  Afghanistan 816
  Iceland 579
  United Kingdom 494

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Projected population - Statistics Norway
  2. ^ "Sykehuset Østfold". Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents, by immigration category, country background and percentages of the population". ssb.no. Retrieved 24 June 2017.

Coordinates: 59°20′00″N 11°20′00″E / 59.33333°N 11.33333°E / 59.33333; 11.33333