County governor (Norway)

The county governor (Bokmål: statsforvalteren; Nynorsk: statsforvaltaren, lit. state administrator in English) is a Norwegian government agency that represents the central government administration in every county in Norway. Responsible for a number of supervision and management duties, the governor is the representative of the king and the government of Norway in each county, functioning as the connection between the state and the municipalities. The county governor is subordinate to the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation but also to the other ministries in their respective duties.

Emblem of the County Governors

The governor is part of the executive branch and so is formally appointed by the king in a cabinet meeting.

The main responsibilities of the governor include controlling and being an instance of appeal for municipal decisions and the main instance for exercising state regulation of agriculture and local environmental impact. The governor is also responsible for civil matters including marriage, divorce and citizenship. if a municipality fails to balance its budget, the governor enters the municipality into the Register for Governmental Approval of Financial Obligations and obtain some control over the municipality's finances.

The governor of Svalbard has wider authorities, including for the police.

The (appointed) county governor should not be confused with the (elected) Chair of the County Council, more commonly called a County Mayor (fylkesordfører).



The county governor has been an institution since the 12th century, though the institution has had many names, including sysselmann, lensmann, amtmann, fylkesmann and now statsforvalter.

Prior to 1919, the county governor (Norwegian: amtmann) reported to the diocesan governor (Norwegian: stiftamtmann), who oversaw all of the counties with a diocese in Norway. The role of diocesan governor was abolished on 1 January 1919. Also on that date, the title of amtmann was changed to fylkesmann. On 1 January 2021, the title of fylkesmann was changed to the new, gender neutral statsforvalter (lit. state administrator).[citation needed]

In 1976, the county municipality was created as a separate, elected body that oversees each county and the role of the county governor was changed to accommodate this.



After the Solberg Cabinet's regional reforms and the partial reversal of this by the Støre Cabinet, the number of county governors does not correspond to the number of counties anymore. There are 10 County Governor agencies for 15 counties. The following agencies are as follows:

Agency Governor
Agder Gina Lund
Innlandet Knut Storberget
Møre og Romsdal Else-May Norderhus
Nordland Tom Cato Karlsen
Østfold, Buskerud, Oslo and Akershus Valgerd Svarstad Haugland
Rogaland Bent Høie
Troms og Finnmark Elisabeth Aspaker
Trøndelag Frank Jenssen
Vestfold og Telemark Fred-Ivar Syrstad (acting)
Vestland Liv Signe Navarsete

In recent times, county governors are former politicians or have a background in the police force. It is uncommon for governors to hold an office for less than a decade, and many of the present governors were appointed in the 1990s. It has often been seen as a way to retire former high-office politicians from active political duty, and at the same time issue a high-standing position in the public administration at their home place.

Although almost all county governors are former active politicians, it has been regarded as customary that an incumbent county governor does not participate in partisan politics.[1]

See also



  1. ^ Berggrav, Dag (1994). Slik styres Norge. Kongen, regjeringen og Stortinget i norsk statsliv (in Norwegian). Oslo: Schibsted. p. 107. ISBN 82-516-1548-8.