Old Norwegian amt (counties)

The names of the Norwegian counties have changed over time and may cause confusion when we go through the sources.

In Norway we use the word fylke to describe the county. Fylke was the name used on this administrative unit in the 10th-13th centuries. The unit has been called syssel and len until 1662 when a royal decree changed the name of the unit to amt. This was, of course, due to Danish influence. The name amt was kept until 1918 when the name of the administrative unit was changed back to fylke. 

As we are going through sources we may find references to these amt and their old names. You may have read my article “Find Norwegian place names” (see link below) and used the database based on Oluf Rygh’s books “Norwegian farm names”.  Rygh finished the manuscript for these books while the old names of the amt was still in use, so these are the names you find in this database.

Here is a list showing the old amt names  and the corresponding modern fylke.

AmtAdm. cityFylke (from 1918)
SmaaleneneMossØstfold
AkershusKristianiaAkershus
KristianiaKristianiaKristiania, Oslo from 1925
HedemarkenHamarHedmark
KristiansLillehammerOppland
BuskerudDrammenBuskerud
Jarlsberg og LarvikTønsbergVestfold
BratsbergSkienTelemark
NedenesArendalAust-Agder
Lister og MandalKristiansandVest-Agder
StavangerStavangerRogaland
Søndre BergenhusBergenHordaland
BergenBergenBergen, included in Hordaland from 1972
Nordre BergenhusLeikangerSogn og Fjordane
RomsdalMoldeMøre, Møre og Romsdal from 1935
Søndre TrondhjemTrondhjemSør-Trøndelag
Nordre TrondhjemEggeNord-Trøndelag
NordlandBodøNordland
TromsøTromsøTroms
FinmarkenVadsøFinmark, Finnmark from 1925

 

Map by Júlio Reis and João David Tereso [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

There has, over the years been minor adjustments to the borders of these counties and some more changes are to come. Sør-Trøndelag and Nord Trøndelag will be united into on county; Trøndelag from 2018. Vest Agder and Aust Agder are likely to be united in 2020 and named Agder. Also Finnmark and Troms are likely to merge. The name of the new county has not yet been decided. There may also be other changes to the administrative structure coming up.

Find Norwegian place names 

Sources:

NORGES CIVILE, GEISTLIGE OG JUDICIELLE INDDELING 1STE OKTOBER 1917. DET STATISTISKE CENTRALBYRAA.  KRISTIANIA,  H. ASCHEHOUG & CO.
1917. https://user.xmission.com/~jsvare/genealogy/inddeling.html

Christiansen, Ragnar,  Kommune- og fylkesinndelingsutvalget Kommune- og fylkesinndelingen i et Norge i forandring : utredning fra et utvalg oppnevnt ved kongelig resolusjon av 18. april 1989 ; avgitt til Kommunaldepartementet 20. mai 1992 Oslo : Statens forvaltningstjeneste, 1992

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