Viken[4] was a short-lived county in Norway that existed from 1 January 2020 to 1 January 2024. Its name was derived from the historical region that has been defined as an area in what is now western Sweden since the late middle ages. The county was located in Eastern Norway when it was established on 1 January 2020 by the merger of Akershus, Buskerud and Østfold with the addition of the municipalities of Jevnaker, Lunner and the former Svelvik Municipality. Both its creation and its name—described as unhistorical by historians[5][6]—were controversial from the onset, the merger was resisted by all the three counties and the new county had an approval rating of about 20% in the region. Viken has been compared to gerrymandering.[5] The newly constructed coat of arms of Viken lacked a historical basis and was described by experts as an amateurish logo that did not adhere to the rules of heraldry, and as "three flying saucers under a cap."[5] The county executive of Viken determined in 2019, before the merger had taken effect, that the county's disestablishment was its main political goal, and the formal process to dissolve Viken was initiated by the county executive right after the 2021 Norwegian parliamentary election in which parties seeking to reverse the merger won a majority.[7][8] The political platform of the government of Jonas Gahr Støre stated that the government would dissolve Viken and re-establish Akershus, Buskerud and Østfold based on a request from the county itself.[9][10] On 22 February 2022, the regional assembly of Viken approved the formal request to disestablish the county, and the disestablishment took effect on 1 January 2024.[11][12]

Viken County
Viken fylke
Coat of arms of Viken County
Viken within Norway
Viken within Norway
Viken County is located in Viken (county)
Viken County
Viken County
Viken County is located in Norway
Viken County
Viken County
Coordinates: 60°N 10°E / 60°N 10°E / 60; 10
DistrictEastern Norway
Established1 January 2020
 • Preceded byBuskerud, Akershus, and Østfold counties
Disestablished1 January 2024 [1]
 • Succeeded byBuskerud, Akershus, and Østfold counties
Administrative centreOslo (county municipality)

Drammen (council)
Sarpsborg (offices)

Moss (county governor)
 • BodyViken County Municipality
 • Governor (2011)Valgerd Svarstad Haugland (KrF)
 • County mayor
Roger Ryberg (Ap)
 (upon dissolution)
 • Total24,593 km2 (9,495 sq mi)
 • Land22,768 km2 (8,791 sq mi)
 • Water1,824 km2 (704 sq mi)  7.4%
 • Rank#6 in Norway
 • Total1,252,384
 • Rank#1 in Norway
 • Density55/km2 (140/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years)
Increase +13.5%
Official language
 • Norwegian formNeutral
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeNO-30[3]
WebsiteOfficial website

Viken was home to over 1.2 million people, or 23% of the national population.[13][14] The county seat was the national capital, Oslo, which was an enclave of Viken and is not part of the county. Oslo had been the seat of Akershus county since the Middle Ages. All of Viken was located in the historical Akershus, which included much of Eastern Norway. The county took its name from the historical region of Viken, which has been defined as an area in Bohuslän, in what is now western Sweden, since the late Middle Ages, but which was formerly used loosely for the region around the Oslofjord in the earlier middle ages.

History edit

Viken was formed in 2020 by the merger of the counties Akershus, Buskerud, and Østfold. After the elected regional assemblies had voted against the proposed merger, a narrow majority of the right-wing parties in the Storting voted in 2017 to merge the counties in 2020 by force; in addition, the Storting voted to include Svelvik Municipality from Vestfold, and Jevnaker and Lunner municipalities from Oppland.[15]

Viken county takes its name from the historic region of Viken, which during the Viking Age loosely referred to the areas around the Oslofjord but became synonymous with Bohuslän (now in Sweden) during the Middle Ages. In Norway, the use of the name Viken was revived only by the fascist Nasjonal Samling during the Second World War to draw parallels to the Viking Age. It referred to Vestfold and Buskerud as Vest-Viken and Akershus (including most of modern Oslo) and Østfold as Øst-Viken.[16] The new Viken county does not include large parts of the historical Viken, including the region's historical centre Bohuslän, most of Vestfold or Oslo.[5] Viken County decided that the interim county capital will be Oslo.

"Sannermandering" debate edit

Viken has been described, such as by the director of Oslo Museum Lars Roede, as an example of Sannermandering, named after the minister responsible, Jan Tore Sanner, and modelled after the term gerrymandering.[5] Roede described Viken as "an extreme monstrosity that flies in the face of geography and history" that is "reminiscent of manipulated electoral districts in the United States" and deeply unpopular in the affected regions. Roede also criticised "the amateurish logos and unhistorical names".[5]

Dissolution edit

Viken county was widely perceived as lacking legitimacy, with an approval rating of 20% in the region, and was opposed by the former counties concerned. A common complaint was the inclusion of inland mountain areas like Ål and Hemsedal, which lack a cultural connection to the Oslofjord area. Another common complaint was the non-inclusion of Oslo although it has been the capital of Akershus since the Middle Ages and is the county that has the closest ties to Akershus. Most of Akershus is part of the Oslo metropolitan area.[17] On 1 October 2019, the newly-elected governing majority parties in the planned county declared their intention of seeking to dissolve Viken and to re-establish the counties of Akershus, Buskerud and Østfold.[18] The official governing platform of Viken county stated, "Viken is an ill-considered construction. The Storting has merged Akershus, Buskerud and Østfold against their will". It declared that the disestablishment of Viken was the main political goal of the county administration. For the same reason, the county council decided that it would not do anything to merge the counties in practice or establish a common county administration. Instead, the existing counties continued to function at their current locations in anticipation of their formal re-establishment.[12]

In the 2021 parliamentary election, the parties that seek to dissolve Viken won a majority, and the Centre Party made the disestablishment of Viken a condition for participating in a new government.[19] Immediately after the election, the county executive initiated the formal process to dissolve Viken.[7][8]

Coat of arms edit

The county coat of arms was adopted in 2020 and based on a citizen's proposal. Therefore, it bears no resemblance to older heraldic arms from the area. The historian Lars Roede criticised the coat of arms as an "amateurish logo" and wrote that the coat of arms "does not adhere to the requirements of good heraldry" and so would have been rejected by heraldic experts in the National Archives. He stated that "looks like three flying saucers under [a] cap" and is "a logo, not a heraldic coat of arms".[5]

Geography edit

Mountains edit

Municipalities edit

Viken County had a total of 51 municipalities, all created in 2020:[21][22]

Municipality No. Name Population on
1 January 2020[23]
Former Municipality No. Former County
3001 Halden 31,373 0101 Halden Østfold
3002 Moss 49,273 0104 Moss
0136 Rygge
3003 Sarpsborg 56,732 0105 Sarpsborg
3004 Fredrikstad 82,385 0106 Fredrikstad
3005 Drammen 101,386 0602 Drammen
0625 Nedre Eiker
0711 Svelvik Vestfold
3006 Kongsberg 27,723 0604 Kongsberg Buskerud
3007 Ringerike 30,641 0605 Ringerike
3011 Hvaler 4,668 0111 Hvaler Østfold
3012 Aremark 1,325 0118 Aremark
3013 Marker 3,595 0119 Marker
3014 Indre Østfold 44,792 0122 Trøgstad
0123 Spydeberg
0124 Askim
0125 Eidsberg
0138 Hobøl
3015 Skiptvet 3,805 0127 Skiptvet
3016 Rakkestad 8,255 0128 Rakkestad
3017 Råde 7,508 0135 Råde
3018 Våler 5,736 0137 Våler
3019 Vestby 18,042 0211 Vestby Akershus
3020 Nordre Follo 59,288 0213 Ski
0217 Oppegård
3021 Ås 20,439 0214 Ås
3022 Frogn 15,877 0215 Frogn
3023 Nesodden 19,616 0216 Nesodden
3024 Bærum 127,731 0219 Bærum
3025 Asker 94,441 0220 Asker
0627 Røyken
0628 Hurum
3026 Aurskog-Høland 17,390 0121 Rømskog Østfold
0222 Aurskog-Høland Akershus
3027 Rælingen 18,530 0228 Rælingen
3028 Enebakk 11,110 0229 Enebakk
3029 Lørenskog 41,460 0230 Lørenskog
3030 Lillestrøm 85,983 0226 Sørum
0227 Fet
0231 Skedsmo
3031 Nittedal 24,249 0233 Nittedal
3032 Gjerdrum 6,890 0234 Gjerdrum
3033 Ullensaker 39,625 0235 Ullensaker
3034 Nes 23,092 0236 Nes
3035 Eidsvoll 25,436 0237 Eidsvoll
3036 Nannestad 14,139 0238 Nannestad
3037 Hurdal 2,854 0239 Hurdal
3038 Hole 6,799 0612 Hole Buskerud
3039 Flå 1,050 0615 Flå
3040 Nesbyen 3,273 0616 Nes
3041 Gol 4,608 0617 Gol
3042 Hemsedal 2,486 0618 Hemsedal
3043 Ål 4,674 0619 Ål
3044 Hol 4,441 0620 Hol
3045 Sigdal 3,467 0621 Sigdal
3046 Krødsherad 2,212 0622 Krødsherad
3047 Modum 14,115 0623 Modum
3048 Øvre Eiker 19,423 0624 Øvre Eiker
3049 Lier 26,811 0626 Lier
3050 Flesberg 2,688 0631 Flesberg
3051 Rollag 1,390 0632 Rollag
3052 Nore og Uvdal 2,439 0633 Nore og Uvdal
3053 Jevnaker 6,852 0532 Jevnaker Oppland
3054 Lunner 9,048 0533 Lunner

References edit

  1. ^ "Saksfremlegg - Søknad om fylkesdeling". Viken fylkeskommune. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Forskrift om målvedtak i kommunar og fylkeskommunar" (in Norwegian).
  3. ^ Bolstad, Erik; Thorsnæs, Geir, eds. (26 January 2023). "Kommunenummer". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget.
  4. ^ "Arealstatistikk for Norge". Kartverket (in Norwegian Bokmål). 8 March 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Lars Roede [no], "Viken og Innlandet: Amatørmessige logoer og uhistoriske navn" [Viken and Innlandet: Amateurish logos and unhistorical names], Aftenposten, 11 January 2020
  6. ^ "Historikere fnyser av navnevalget" [Historians scoff at the choice of name]. NRK. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  7. ^ a b "Viken i gang med å forberede oppsplitting" [Viken is preparing dissolution of the county]. VG. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Nytt stortingsflertall – prosess for Viken". Viken. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  9. ^ AS, TV 2 (13 October 2021). "Dette er partiene enige om". TV 2.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Lindahl, Magnus (13 October 2021). "Kan oppløyse Viken innan 1. juli". Hallingdølen.
  11. ^ Session of Viken regional assembly, 23 February 2022]
  12. ^ a b Lilleås, Heidi Schei (October 2019). "Monica Mæland om Viken-dramaet: Vil ikke spekulere". Nettavisen.
  13. ^ "Fakta og tall om Viken - Viken fylkeskommune". Archived from the original on 1 August 2021.
  14. ^ "Senterpartiet vil oppløse Viken". 31 July 2021.
  15. ^ Granli, Lene (6 April 2018). "19 fylker blir til 11 – dette skal de hete". NRK (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  16. ^ Telemark kan få nazi-navn,, 6 November 2017
  17. ^ "Blir større enn Slovenia". Dagsavisen (in Norwegian Bokmål). 23 February 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  18. ^ Sørgjerd, Kjetil Magne Sørenes Christian (October 2019). "Viken-flertallet vil legge ned Viken". Aftenposten.
  19. ^ "Nå ligger alt til rette for at Viken oppløses". Dagsavisen. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  20. ^ "Skinnskattberget - 550m". Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  21. ^ List of Norwegian municipality numbers (Norwegian)
  22. ^ List of municipality numbers of Norway (English)
  23. ^ Statistics Norway (web).