Aust-Agder (Norwegian: [ˈæ̂ʉstˌɑɡdər] (listen), English: "East Agder") was a county (fylke) in Norway until 1 January 2020, when it was merged with Vest-Agder to form Agder county. In 2002, there were 102,945 inhabitants, which was 2.2% of Norway's population. Its area was 9,212 square kilometres (3,557 sq mi). The county's administrative center was the town of Arendal.

Aust-Agder fylke
The lake Vegår in 2001
The lake Vegår in 2001
Flag of Aust-Agder fylke
Official logo of Aust-Agder fylke
Aust-Agder fylke is located in Aust-Agder
Aust-Agder fylke
Aust-Agder fylke
Aust-Agder within Aust-Agder
Aust-Agder fylke is located in Norway
Aust-Agder fylke
Aust-Agder fylke
Aust-Agder fylke (Norway)
Coordinates: 58°34′00″N 08°34′00″E / 58.56667°N 8.56667°E / 58.56667; 8.56667Coordinates: 58°34′00″N 08°34′00″E / 58.56667°N 8.56667°E / 58.56667; 8.56667
DistrictSouthern Norway
 • Preceded byAgdesiden
Disestablished1 Jan 2020
 • Succeeded byAgder county
Administrative centreArendal
 • BodyAust-Agder County Municipality
 • Governor (2016-2019)Svein Ytterdahl (Ap)
 • County mayor
Gro Bråten (Ap)
 (upon dissolution)
 • Total9,158 km2 (3,536 sq mi)
 • Land8,353 km2 (3,225 sq mi)
 • Water805 km2 (311 sq mi)
 (30 September 2019)
 • Total118,127
 • Density13/km2 (33/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Increase +4.3%
Official language
 • Norwegian formNeutral
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-09
Income (per capita)135,700 kr (2001)
GDP (per capita)208,275 kr (2001)
GDP national rank#18 in Norway
(1.4% of country)

The county, located along the Skagerrak coast, extended from Gjernestangen at Risør to the Kvåsefjorden in Lillesand. The inner parts of the area included Setesdalsheiene and Austheiene. Most of the population lives near the coast; about 78% of the county's inhabitants live in the five coastal municipalities of Arendal, Grimstad, Lillesand, Tvedestrand, and Risør. The rest of the county is sparsely populated. Tourism is important, as Arendal and the other coastal towns are popular attractions.

The county includes the larger islands of Tromøya, Hisøya, Justøya, and Sandøya. The interior of the county encompasses the traditional district of Setesdal, through which the river Otra flows to the coast.

In 2017, the Parliament of Norway voted to merge Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder counties into one large region, Agder, effective 1 January 2020.[3]

The county was part of the Aust-Agder District Court and the Church of Norway Diocese of Agder og Telemark.


The meaning of the name is "(the) eastern (part of) Agder", since the word aust is the Nynorsk form of "east".

Until 1919, the name of the county was Nedenes amt. The amt was named after the old Nedenes farm (Norse Niðarnes), since this was the seat of the amtmann (County Governor). The first element is the genitive case of the river name Nið (now called Nidelva) and the last element is nes which means "headland". The meaning of the river name is unknown.[4]


The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted on 12 December 1958. It shows two horizontal golden bars on a red background. They symbolize the lumber trade and the recovery of iron ore that was important for Aust-Agder's growth. There are two bars to represent the two areas of the county: inland and coastal.[5][6]


The system of municipalities, or kommuner, was established in Norway in 1837, based on previously existing parishes (see formannskapsdistrikt). Norway had been ceded to Sweden by Denmark in 1814, at which it promptly rebelled and won the right of self-rule, though nominally part of Sweden. In 1905, Norway declared total independence. Meanwhile, as the years progressed, the municipalities did not remain the same, but new ones were formed, old ones broken up, and land was transferred. Since the 1990s, Aust-Agder has been divided into 15 municipalities:

Map of the municipalities in the county
No. Name Adm. Center Population Area (km²)
0901   Risør Risør 6,936 193
0904   Grimstad Grimstad 22,692 304
0906   Arendal Arendal 44,576 270
0911   Gjerstad Gjerstad 2,511 322
0912   Vegårshei Myra 2,104 356
0914   Tvedestrand Tvedestrand 6,051 215
0919   Froland Blakstad 5,713 645
0926   Lillesand Lillesand 10,702 190
0928   Birkenes Birkeland 5,178 674
0929   Åmli Åmli 1,856 1,131
0935   Iveland Birketveit 1,342 262
0937   Evje og Hornnes Evje 3,614 550
0938   Bygland Bygland 1,200 1,312
0940   Valle Valle 1,246 1,265
0941   Bykle Bykle 952 1,467
Total   Aust-Agder Arendal 116,673 9,158




Former MunicipalitiesEdit


Historical population
Source: Statistics Norway.[7]
Religion in Aust-Agder[8][9]
religion percent

Since the census of 1769, Aust-Agder has experienced a steady population growth: from 29,633 to 79,927 in 1900, and to 102,848 in 2001. There was significant emigration to the United States in the 19th century and early 20th century.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  2. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian).
  3. ^ "Om sammenslåingen" (in Norwegian). Agder fylkeskommune. Retrieved 2018-01-06.
  4. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nedenes amt (in Norwegian) (8 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 110.
  5. ^ "Fylkesvåpenet" (in Norwegian). Aust-Agder fylkeskommune. Archived from the original on 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  6. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2018-01-06.
  7. ^ Projected population - Statistics Norway
  8. ^ Statistics Norway - Church of Norway.
  9. ^ Statistics Norway - Members of religious and life stance communities outside the Church of Norway, by religion/life stance. County. 2006-2010

External linksEdit