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Vestfold fylke
Coat of arms of Vestfold fylke
Coat of arms
Vestfold within Norway
Vestfold within Norway
Country Norway
County Vestfold
Region Østlandet
County ID NO-07
Administrative centre Tønsberg
 • Governor Erling Lae
 • County mayor Per-Eivind Johansen
 • Total 2,225 km2 (859 sq mi)
 • Land 2,201 km2 (850 sq mi)
Area rank #18 in Norway, 0.71% of Norway's land area
Population (2014)
 • Total 240.398
 • Rank 10 (4.78% of country)
 • Density 102/km2 (260/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 8.7 %
Demonym(s) Vestfolding
Time zone CET (UTC+01)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+02)
Official language form Bokmål
Income (per capita) 148,300 NOK
GDP (per capita) 219,970 NOK (2001)
GDP national rank 10 (3.11% of country)
Data from Statistics Norway
Religion in Vestfold[2][3]
religion percent

Vestfold   ( ) is a county in Norway, bordering Buskerud and Telemark. The county administration is in Tønsberg, and the largest city is Sandefjord. With the exception of Oslo county, Vestfold is the smallest county in Norway by area.

Vestfold is located west of the Oslofjord, as the name indicates. It includes many smaller, but well-known towns in Norway, such as Larvik, Sandefjord, Tønsberg and Horten, these towns run from Oslo in an almost constant belt of urban areas along the coast, ending in Grenland in neighbouring region Telemark. The river Numedalslågen runs through the district. Many islands are located at the coast. Vestfold is mostly dominated by lowland and is among the best agricultural areas of Norway. Winters last about three months, while pleasant summer temperatures last from May to September, with a July average high of 17 °C (63 °F) (Tønsberg climate).

Vestfold is traditionally known for shipping and sailing. Sandefjord was formerly a headquarters for the Norwegian whaling fleet, and Horten used to be an important naval port. The coastal towns of Vestfold now engage in fishing and shipbuilding. Some lumbering is carried on in the interior. The district also includes some of the best farmland in Norway. Vestfold is the only county in which all municipalities have declared Bokmål to be their sole official written form of the Norwegian language.[4]


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
    • Kings ruling some or all of Vestfold 2.1
  • Transportation 3
  • Municipalities 4
  • Wildlife refuge 5
  • Archaelogical sites 6
    • Gulli 6.1
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Vestfold is the old name of the region - revived in modern times. Fold was the old name of the Oslofjord, and the meaning of the name Vestfold is 'the region west of the Fold' (see also Østfold). Before 1919 the county was called Jarlsberg og Larvik Amt. The amt was created in 1821, consisting of the two old counties of Jarlsberg and Larvik.[5]


In 813, for the first time Vestfold is mentioned in a written source: Danish kings were in Vestfold to quell an uprising amongst the fürsts there.[6] There may have been as many as six political centers in Vestfold: At that time Kaupang had been functioning for decades, and had a chieftain near by - associated with Kaupang, and at Borre there was a site for [another] chieftain - and that site held chieftains for more than one hundred years prior [to 813];"the impressive stone mounds at Mølen have been dated to the Viking Age. The mounds at Haugar in present-day Tønsberg's town centre have been dated to the Viking Age; at Farmannshaugen at Sem there seems to have been activity at the time, while" [activity at] Oseberghaugen and Gokstadhaugen were a few decades into the future.[7]

An English source from around 890 retells Ottar's voyage "from the farthest North, along Norvegr via Kaupang and Hedeby to England", where Ottar places Kaupang in the land of Dane's - danenes land.[8] Dr. philos. Bjørn Brandlien says that "To the degree that Harald Hårfagre gathered a kingdom after the Battle of Hafrsfjord at the end of the 9th century - that especially is connected to Avaldsnes - it does not seem to have made such a great impression on Ottar".[9]

Kaupang, a town from the Viking Age is believed to be the first town in Norway, although Tønsberg is the oldest town in Norway still existing. Kaupang is mentioned under the name of Skiringssal (Kaupangen i Skiringssal) in Ohthere from Hålogaland's tales which date from the 9th century.[10]

By the 10th century the local kings had established themselves as the first dynasty to begin the unification of Norway. The king or his ombudsman resided in the old Royal Court at Sæheimr, today the Jarlsberg Estate (Jarlsberg Hovedgård) in Tønsberg. The farm Haugar became the seat for Haugathing, the Thing for Vestfold and one of Norway's most important place for the proclamation of kings.

The family of Harald Fairhair, who was most likely the first king of the whole Norway, is said to have come from this area. At that time Vestfold, including Eiker, Drammen, Kongsberg, Lier, was a petty kingdom.[11][12][13]

The Danish kings seem to have been weak [in Vestfold] from around the middle of the 9th century until the middle of the 10th century, but their rule was strengthened [there] at the end of the 10th century.[14] The Danish kings seem to have tried to control the region until the 1200s.[15]

Kings ruling some or all of Vestfold


The Vestfold Line is a railway line that runs from Drammen, through a number of towns in Vestfold and ending in the town of Skien in Telemark. European route E18 runs through the county roughly parallel to the railway.

There are two international ferry connections, both operated by Color Line. Larvik is connected to the Danish town Hirtshals, the other route is between Sandefjord and Strømstad in Sweden. In addition there is a domestic route connecting Horten and Moss

Oslo-Torp Airport serves both domestic and international destinations. It is regional hub for Norwegian carrier Widerøe, low cost carriers Ryanair and WizzAir also operate from the airport.


Vestfold Municipalities

Vestfold County has a total of 14 municipalities:

  1. Andebu
  2. Hof
  3. Holmestrand
  4. Horten
  5. Lardal
  6. Larvik
  7. Nøtterøy
  8. Re
  9. Sande
  10. Sandefjord
  11. Stokke
  12. Svelvik
  13. Tjøme
  14. Tønsberg

Wildlife refuge

Saltstein is part of a protected habitat for birds.[16] From 2014 surfing will be permitted off Saltstein.[16]

Archaelogical sites

At Borrre there are 9 large mounds and around 30 smaller ones.[17]


Nearly 15 years previous to 2015, Gulli (Norway) was the site of an archaeological excavation prior to asphalt being laid for constructing the new E18 (road).[18] There were 60 graves - 20 of those were preserved to a degree that [authorities decided] permitted examinations.[19] "Perhaps the most spectacular [item] was a høvre" - used with a horse's harness. "There are few of those in Norway - one in Trøndelag and a gilded one found in Borre".[20] About the remains of one building at the site for burials, "there are many indications" that the purpose of the building was not for living in it: Dr. philos. Bjørn Brandlien questions if "Was it here the dead were prepared for the burial journey (gravferd), [and] horses and other animals were sacrificed and eaten during ritual meals?"[21]


  1. ^ Projected population - Statistics Norway
  2. ^ Statistics Norway - Church of Norway.
  3. ^ Statistics Norway - Members of religious and life stance communities outside the Church of Norway, by religion/life stance. County. 2006-2010
  4. ^ (Vestfold University College0Vestfold County
  5. ^ (2007 GoNorway)Vestfold County
  6. ^  
  7. ^  
  8. ^  
  9. ^  
  10. ^ (Geir Are Johansen, archaeologist. Lofotr the Viking Museum)Vestvågøy Theme
  11. ^ Munch, Peter Andreas (1849). Historisk-geographisk beskrivelse over kongeriget Norge (Noregsveldi) i middelalderen. W. Gram. pp. 168–179. 
  12. ^ The Passion And Miracles Of The Blessed Óláfr And A History Of NorwayVol. XIII: Viking Society for Northern Research, Anthony Faulkes and Richard Perkins, p. 128
  13. ^ Vestfold - gammelt navn,
  14. ^  
  15. ^  
  16. ^ a b Løsning for omstridte bølger
  17. ^  
  18. ^  
  19. ^  
  20. ^  
  21. ^  

External links

  • Vestfold photo gallery
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