Sogn og Fjordane, Norway

Sogn og Fjordane is a county ("fylke" in Norwegian) located on the western coast of Norway, northeast of Bergen. It includes three districts: Sogn in the south, Sunnfjord in the middle, and Nordfjord in the north. Established in 1662 as "Bergenhus Amt", it was divided in 1763 into Nordre Bergenhus Amt (meaning the northern part of Bergenhus amt). In 1919 it received its present name, Sogn og Fjordane; Sogn for the name of the region Sogn, and Fjordane the plural form of fjord (referring to the two regions Sunnfjord and Nordfjord).

In 1837, Norway divided its counties into local administrative units named "kommunes", each with their own administrative government. Sogn og Fjordane has 26 kommunes total. Sogn has 12 kommunes: Aurland, Balestrand, Gulen, Hyllestad, Høyanger, Leikanger, Luster, Lærdal, Sogndal, Vik and rdal. Sunnfjord has 7 kommunes: Askvoll, Fjaler, Flora, Førde, Gaular, Jølster and Naustdal. Nordfjord has 7 kommunes: Bremanger, Eid, Gloppen, Hornindal, Selje, Stryn and Vågsøy.

Urnes stave church, Ornes farm

Sogn og Fjordane has always had mainly a rural population, with few large cities. Only 2.5% of Norway's population lives in Sogn og Fjordane. The first city to be established in the county was Florø, Norway's westernmost city. Located near the Sognfjord, Florø received its charter in 1860 when the region's population needed a port for the rich fishing grounds of Kinn. Other major cities include Måløy (an important fishing center), Leikanger (the seat of county administration) and Lustrafjorden (a major tourist attraction nearby is the Urnes Stave Church).

Sogn is primarily known for its natural beauty - stunning fjords, lofty mountains, wide glaciers and sparkling waterfalls. In fact, Sogn lays claim to three European records in nature; Norway's longest fjord, the Sognefjord, Europe's largest glacier, the Jostedalsbreen, and Europe's deepest lake, Hornindalsvatnet. Sogn also has the world's third tallest waterfall (275m), Ramnefjellsfossen, located in the Jotunheim Mountain range. All of this stunning scenery makes Sogn og Fjordane a popular destination for tourists.

View Sources