Viken (county)

Viken[1] is a county in Eastern Norway that was established on 1 January 2020 by the merger of Akershus, Buskerud, and Østfold with the addition of three other municipalities. Viken is controversial, with an approval rating of about 20% in the region, and the merger was resisted by all the three counties. Viken has been compared to gerrymandering,[2] and there is an active political movement to reverse the merger and restore the constituent former counties. The county executive of Viken determined in 2019, before the merger took effect, that the disestablishment of Viken is its main political goal, and the formal process to dissolve Viken was initiated by the county executive in 2021 following the 2021 Norwegian parliamentary election, where the parties that seek to reverse the merger won a majority.[3][4] The political platform of the government of Jonas Gahr Støre states that the government will dissolve Viken and reestablish Akershus, Buskerud and Østfold.[5][6] Viken is home to over 1.2 million people, or 23% of the national population.[7][8]

Viken fylke
Coat of arms of Viken fylke
Viken within Norway
Viken within Norway
Country Norway
RegionEastern Norway
County IDNO-30
Administrative centresOslo (county municipality)
Drammen (county council and functions of the county municipality)
Sarpsborg (functions of the county municipality)
Moss (county governor)
 • Total24,592.59 km2 (9,495.25 sq mi)
 • Total1,213,354
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)

The county seat is the national capital, Oslo, which is 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 is located within the historical Akershus, which included much of Eastern Norway. Viken takes its name from the historical region of Viken, which has been defined as an area in Bohuslän in today's western Sweden since the Middle Ages.

Both its creation and its name are subjects of strong controversy, and Viken is opposed by the counties concerned and perceived as lacking legitimacy; the elected regional assembly and county executive of Viken have declared the disestablishment of Viken in 2021 as the main political goal of Viken, while refusing to do anything to merge the counties in practice. The governing platform of Viken describes Viken as "an ill-considered construction"; in practice, the existing counties will continue to function with separate county administrations based on their existing infrastructure, in anticipation of their formal reestablishment.[9]

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.[10] Immediately after the election, the county executive initiated the process to dissolve Viken.[3][4]


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.[11]

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 which became synonymous with Bohuslän (now in Sweden) during the Middle Ages. In Norway the use of the name Viken was only revived by the Nazi party Nasjonal Samling during the second world war in order to draw parallels to the Viking age; Nasjonal Samling referred to Vestfold and Buskerud as Vest-Viken and Akershus (including most of modern Oslo) and Østfold as Øst-Viken.[12] 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.[2] Viken County decided that the interim county capital will be Oslo.

"Sannermandering" debateEdit

Viken has been described, for example by the director of Oslo Museum Lars Roede, as an example of Sannermandering, named after the responsible minister Jan Tore Sanner and modelled after the term gerrymandering.[2] Roede described Viken as "an extreme monstrosity that flies in the face of geography and history", "reminiscent of manipulated electoral districts in the United States", and as deeply unpopular in the affected regions. Roede also criticized "the amateurish logos and unhistorical names".[2]


Viken county is widely perceived as lacking legitimacy with an approval rating of 20% in the region and is opposed by the former counties concerned. A common complaint is the inclusion of inland mountain areas like Ål and Hemsedal that lack a cultural connection to the Oslofjord area; another common complaint is the non-inclusion of Oslo, despite the fact that Oslo has been the capital of Akershus since the Middle Ages and is the county that has the closest ties to Akershus, with most of Akershus being part of the Oslo metropolitan area.[13] On 1 October 2019, the newly elected governing majority parties in the planned county declared their intention of seeking to dissolve Viken and to reestablish the counties of Akershus, Buskerud and Østfold.[14] The current official governing platform of Viken county states that "Viken is an ill-considered construction. The Storting has merged Akershus, Buskerud and Østfold against their will", and declares that the disestablishment of Viken is the main political goal of the county administration. For the same reason, the county council decided that it will not do anything to merge the counties in practice or establish a common county administration; instead the existing counties will continue to function at their current locations in anticipation of their formal reestablishment.[9]

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.[15] Immediately after the election, the county executive initiated the formal process to dissolve Viken.[3][4]

Coat of armsEdit

The county coat of arms adopted in 2020 was based on a citizen's proposal, meaning that it bears no resemblance to older heraldic arms from the area. Historian Lars Roede criticized the coat of arms as an "amateurish logo", and wrote that the coat of arms "does not adhere to the requirements of good heraldry", would have been rejected by heraldic experts in the National Archives, "looks like three flying saucers under [a] cap", and is "a logo, not a heraldic coat of arms".[2]


Viken County has a total of 51 municipalities:[16][17]

No. Municipality No. Name Population
as at
1 January 2020[18]
Created Former Municipality No. Former County
1 3001 Halden 31,373 1 January 2020 0101 Halden Østfold
2 3002 Moss 49,273 0104 Moss
0136 Rygge
3 3003 Sarpsborg 56,732 0105 Sarpsborg
4 3004 Fredrikstad 82,385 0106 Fredrikstad
5 3005 Drammen 101,386 0602 Drammen
0625 Nedre Eiker
0711 Svelvik Vestfold
6 3006 Kongsberg 27,723 0604 Kongsberg Buskerud
7 3007 Ringerike 30,641 0605 Ringerike
8 3011 Hvaler 4,668 0111 Hvaler Østfold
9 3012 Aremark 1,325 0118 Aremark
10 3013 Marker 3,595 0119 Marker
11 3014 Indre Østfold 44,792 0122 Trøgstad
0123 Spydeberg
0124 Askim
0125 Eidsberg
0138 Hobøl
12 3015 Skiptvet 3,805 0127 Skiptvet
13 3016 Rakkestad 8,255 0128 Rakkestad
14 3017 Råde 7,508 0135 Råde
15 3018 Våler 5,736 0137 Våler
16 3019 Vestby 18,042 0211 Vestby Akershus
17 3020 Nordre Follo 59,288 0213 Ski
0217 Oppegård
18 3021 Ås 20,439 0214 Ås
19 3022 Frogn 15,877 0215 Frogn
20 3023 Nesodden 19,616 0216 Nesodden
21 3024 Bærum 127,731 0219 Bærum
22 3025 Asker 94,441 0220 Asker
0627 Røyken
0628 Hurum
23 3026 Aurskog-Høland 17,390 0121 Rømskog Østfold
0222 Aurskog-Høland Akershus
24 3027 Rælingen 18,530 0228 Rælingen
25 3028 Enebakk 11,110 0229 Enebakk
26 3029 Lørenskog 41,460 0230 Lørenskog
27 3030 Lillestrøm 85,983 0226 Sørum
0227 Fet
0231 Skedsmo
28 3031 Nittedal 24,249 0233 Nittedal
29 3032 Gjerdrum 6,890 0234 Gjerdrum
30 3033 Ullensaker 39,625 0235 Ullensaker
31 3034 Nes 23,092 0236 Nes
32 3035 Eidsvoll 25,436 0237 Eidsvoll
33 3036 Nannestad 14,139 0238 Nannestad
34 3037 Hurdal 2,854 0239 Hurdal
35 3038 Hole 6,799 0612 Hole Buskerud
36 3039 Flå 1,050 0615 Flå
37 3040 Nesbyen 3,273 0616 Nes
38 3041 Gol 4,608 0617 Gol
39 3042 Hemsedal 2,486 0618 Hemsedal
40 3043 Ål 4,674 0619 Ål
41 3044 Hol 4,441 0620 Hol
42 3045 Sigdal 3,467 0621 Sigdal
43 3046 Krødsherad 2,212 0622 Krødsherad
44 3047 Modum 14,115 0623 Modum
45 3048 Øvre Eiker 19,423 0624 Øvre Eiker
46 3049 Lier 26,811 0626 Lier
47 3050 Flesberg 2,688 0631 Flesberg
48 3051 Rollag 1,390 0632 Rollag
49 3052 Nore og Uvdal 2,439 0633 Nore og Uvdal
50 3053 Jevnaker 6,852 0532 Jevnaker Oppland
51 3054 Lunner 9,048 0533 Lunner


  1. ^ "Arealstatistikk for Norge". Kartverket (in Norwegian Bokmål). 8 March 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Lars Roede [no], "Viken og Innlandet: Amatørmessige logoer og uhistoriske navn" [Viken and Innlandet: Amateurish logos and unhistorical names], Aftenposten, 11 January 2020
  3. ^ a b c "Viken i gang med å forberede oppsplitting" [Viken is preparing dissolution of the county]. VG. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "Nytt stortingsflertall – prosess for Viken". Viken. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  5. ^ Slik blir den nye regjeringsplattformen - enige om å oppløse flere fylker
  6. ^ Kan oppløyse Viken innan 1. juli
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Senterpartiet vil oppløse Viken". 31 July 2021.
  9. ^ a b Lilleås, Heidi Schei (October 2019). "Monica Mæland om Viken-dramaet: Vil ikke spekulere". Nettavisen.
  10. ^ "Nå ligger alt til rette for at Viken oppløses". Dagsavisen. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  11. ^ Granli, Lene (6 April 2018). "19 fylker blir til 11 – dette skal de hete". NRK (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  12. ^ Telemark kan få nazi-navn,, 6 November 2017
  13. ^ "Blir større enn Slovenia". Dagsavisen (in Norwegian Bokmål). 23 February 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  14. ^ Sørgjerd, Kjetil Magne Sørenes Christian. "Viken-flertallet vil legge ned Viken". Aftenposten.
  15. ^ "Nå ligger alt til rette for at Viken oppløses". Dagsavisen. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  16. ^ List of Norwegian municipality numbers (Norwegian)
  17. ^ List of municipality numbers of Norway (English)
  18. ^ Statistics Norway (web).

Coordinates: 60°00′N 9°45′E / 60.000°N 9.750°E / 60.000; 9.750