Vestfold og Telemark (Urban East Norwegian: [ˈvɛ̂stfɔɫ ɔ ˈtêːləmɑrk]; lit.'Vestfold and Telemark'[4]) is a county under disestablishment in Norway. The county is the southernmost one of Eastern Norway and consists of two distinct and separate traditional regions: the former counties of Telemark and (most of) Vestfold. The capital is located at the town of Skien, which is also the county's largest city. While Skien is the seat of the county municipality, the seat of the County Governor is Tønsberg.[5] It borders the counties of Viken, Vestland, Rogaland and Agder.

Vestfold og Telemark fylke
Flag of Vestfold og Telemark fylke
Coat of arms of Vestfold og Telemark fylke
Official logo of Vestfold og Telemark fylke
Vestfold og Telemark fylke is located in Vestfold og Telemark
Vestfold og Telemark fylke
Vestfold og Telemark fylke
Vestfold og Telemark within Vestfold og Telemark
Vestfold og Telemark fylke is located in Norway
Vestfold og Telemark fylke
Vestfold og Telemark fylke
Vestfold og Telemark fylke (Norway)
Coordinates: 59°30′N 9°00′E / 59.500°N 9.000°E / 59.500; 9.000
CountyVestfold og Telemark
DistrictEastern Norway
Established1 Jan 2020
 • Preceded byTelemark
Disestablished1 January 2024 (planned dissolution)[1]
 • Succeeded byTelemark
Administrative centreSkien (county municipality)
Tønsberg (county municipality offices and governor)
 • BodyVestfold og Telemark County Municipality
 • Governor (2022)Fred-Ivar Syrstad (acting)
 • County mayor
Terje Riis-Johansen (Sp)
 • Total17,466 km2 (6,744 sq mi)
 • Land15,925 km2 (6,149 sq mi)
 • Water1,541 km2 (595 sq mi)  8.8%
 • Rank#7 in Norway
 • Total421,882
 • Rank#6 in Norway
 • Density26.5/km2 (69/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Increase +6.4%
DemonymsVestfolding, Telemarking, or Teledøl[2]
Official language
 • Norwegian formNeutral
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-38
WebsiteOfficial website

Telemark voted against the merger, on the basis that the regions have nothing in common and do not constitute a natural geographical, cultural, social or political entity. Regardless, the Storting voted on 7 January 2018 to merge the counties by force, and the merger took effect on 1 January 2020. Unlike Telemark or Vestfold, it does not form a traditional or cultural region, but is instead administrative.

On 15 February 2022, the county council decided to vote for the future of Vestfold og Telemark county as it was reported that politicians did not co-operate well across the former county borders. With 42 votes against 19, the county council voted for a separation of the county into its former counties of Telemark and Vestfold. Representatives to the respective county councils will be elected in the 2023 local elections and the old counties will be re-established by 1 January 2024.[1]

History Edit

The region of Vestfold and Telemark consists of the two former counties of Telemark and Vestfold, whose administrative histories are separate.

Telemark County was established in 1919 as a continuation of the former Bratsberg amt, which had been a len and amt since the union with Denmark. Bratsberg amt and the later Telemark county consist of several partly overlapping historic districts. The name Telemark itself did not originally cover the coasts, and the minority at the Storting therefore proposed the name Grenland-Telemark when the modern county was established.

Vestfold County was established in 1919 as a continuation of the former Jarlsberg and Larviks amt. The latter was established in 1821 when the counties of Laurvig and Jarlsberg were dissolved and merged into a common county.

The merging process Edit

A possible merger of the counties has been discussed for several years with different constellations. Telemark County Council voted in April 2017 against a merge with Vestfold. Vestfold County Council voted for a merge with both Telemark and Buskerud. The Storting decided a merger of Telemark and Vestfold on 8 June 2017 with effect from 1 January 2020.

The Language Council of Norway recommended the name Telemark og Vestfold as the name for the new county. However, Telemark County Council decided that the name Telemark under any circumstances had to be included in the new name, while Vestfold County Council suggested the name of Vest-Viken, which was criticized because the name was originally created by the Nazi Quisling regime during World War 2. The name Vest-Viken was in use when the Reichskommissariat administration merged the separate counties of Vestfold and Buskerud into a single administrative unit. It was also unfavoured because Telemark is mostly located outside the historical Viken area; at best the small coastal area of the county may be included in the periphery of Viken. Media in Norway, such as the state broadcaster NRK, mocked the proposal Vest-Viken as a "Nazi name".[6]

On 10 November 2017, Vestfold withdrew the proposal of Vest-Viken and it became apparent that both counties supported the Language Council's proposal on Telemark and Vestfold. Eventually the local politicians agreed on Vestfold og Telemark as a compromise, although Telemark politicians stated that Telemark should be the first part of the name, both for alphabetical reasons and because of the Telemark name's iconic status in Norway and internationally, a status that the Vestfold name lacks.[7][6][8] As of 2018, Telemark og Vestfold is already the name of the relevant branches of several government agencies,[4] and both name forms are widely used.

As Vestfold was forcibly merged with Telemark, Svelvik municipality decided to vote for a merger with Drammen municipality, which would lead Svelvik to leave Vestfold county and join the new county of Viken on 1 January 2020. The vote turned in favor for merging with Drammen municipality, along with the former municipality of Nedre Eiker.

Municipalities Edit

Municipalities in Vestfold og Telemark as of 1 January 2020

Vestfold og Telemark Edit

Vestfold og Telemark County has a total of 23 municipalities:[9]

No. Municipality No. Name Created Former Municipality No. Former County
1 3801 Horten January 1, 2020 0701 Horten Vestfold
2 3802 Holmestrand January 1, 2020 0715 Holmestrand
3 3803 Tønsberg January 1, 2020 0704 Tønsberg
0716 Re
4 3804 Sandefjord January 1, 2020 0710 Sandefjord
5 3805 Larvik January 1, 2020 0712 Larvik
6 3806 Porsgrunn January 1, 2020 0805 Porsgrunn Telemark
7 3807 Skien January 1, 2020 0806 Skien
8 3808 Notodden January 1, 2020 0807 Notodden
9 3811 Færder 2018 Nøtterøy
10 3812 Siljan January 1, 2020 0811 Siljan Telemark
11 3813 Bamble January 1, 2020 0814 Bamble
12 3814 Kragerø January 1, 2020 0815 Kragerø
13 3815 Drangedal January 1, 2020 0817 Drangedal
14 3816 Nome January 1, 2020 0819 Nome
15 3817 Midt-Telemark January 1, 2020 0821 Bø
0822 Sauherad
16 3818 Tinn January 1, 2020 0826 Tinn
17 3819 Hjartdal January 1, 2020 0827 Hjartdal
18 3820 Seljord January 1, 2020 0828 Seljord
19 3821 Kviteseid January 1, 2020 0829 Kviteseid
20 3822 Nissedal January 1, 2020 0830 Nissedal
21 3823 Fyresdal January 1, 2020 0831 Fyresdal
22 3824 Tokke January 1, 2020 0833 Tokke
23 3825 Vinje January 1, 2020 0834 Vinje

Urban areas Edit

The largest urban areas of Vestfold og Telemark, sorted after population (municipalities in parenthesis):

Brevik, Holmestrand, Horten, Kragerø, Langesund, Larvik, Notodden, Porsgrunn, Rjukan, Sandefjord, Skien, Stathelle, Stavern, Tønsberg and Åsgårdstrand all have town status.

References Edit

  1. ^ a b "Fylkestinget har bestemt seg – det blir splittelse" (in Norwegian). NRK. 15 February 2022. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  2. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet.
  3. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian).
  4. ^ a b "Telemark og Vestfold ungdomshjem". | Barne-, ungdoms- og familiedirektoratet.
  5. ^ "Arealstatistikk for Norge". Kartverket (in Norwegian Bokmål). 8 March 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b Gir opp nazinavn, NRK
  7. ^ Dette er navnene de vil ha på det nye storfylket, Telemarksavisa
  8. ^ Granli, Lene (6 April 2018). "19 fylker blir til 11 – dette skal de hete". NRK.
  9. ^ List of Norwegian municipality numbers