Sogn og Fjordane

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Sogn og FjordaneSogn og Fjordane is a county in Norway, bordering Møre og Romsdal, Oppland, Buskerud, and Hordaland. The county administration is in the town of Hermansverk in Leikanger municipality while the largest town is Førde. Although Sogn og Fjordane has some industry, predominantly hydroelectricity and aluminium, it is predominantly agricultural. Sogn og Fjordane is also home to the Urnes stave church and Nærøyfjord, which are listed by UNESCO as world heritage sites. The Høgskulen i Sogn og Fjordane ( Sogn og Fjordane University College) has campuses in Sogndal, Sandane, and Førde. The name Sogn og Fjordane was created in 1919. The first element is the name of the region Sogn. The last element is the plural definite form of fjord, which refers to the two regions in the county called Nordfjord and Sunnfjord. Prior to 1919, the name of the county was Nordre Bergenhus amt which meant “(the) northern (part of) Bergenhus amt”. (The old Bergenhus amt, created in 1662, was divided in 1763.) The Coat of arms of Sogn og Fjordane was granted on 23 September 1983. The arms show the geographical layout of the county: three large fjords protruding into the land. The three fjords are the Nordfjord, Sunnfjord and Sognefjord. Nearly all villages and towns are situated on one of these fjords and the name of the county is based on the fjords. The county is conventionally divided into three traditional districts. These are Sogn (in the south), Sunnfjord (in the center), and Nordfjord (in the north). Sogn surrounds the Sognefjord from Solund on the offshore island of Sula in the North Sea to the village of Skjolden in Luster along the Lustrafjord, a branch of the Sognefjord. The total length is 204 kilometres (127 mi). Sogn og Fjordane is the only county in which all municipalities have declared Nynorsk to be their official written form of the Norwegian language. The county currently consists of the two historic counties: Firdafylke (now the Fjordane region) and Sygnafylke (now the Sogn region). These both were formed in the Middle Ages under the Gulating government. They were merged with Hordafylke (now Hordaland) and Sunnmørafylke (now Sunnmøre) to form the Bergenhus len in the late Middle Ages. The Bergenhus len was one of four len in Norway. It was administered from the Bergenhus Fortress in Bergen. On 19 February 1662, a royal decree changed the name to Bergenhus amt. The Sunnmøre region was moved to Romsdal county in 1689. Later, in 1763, the amt was divided in half creating: Nordre Bergenhus and Søndre Bergenhus. Later, on 1 January 1919, Nordre Bergenhus amt was renamed Sogn og Fjordane fylke during a period of time when many location names were changed. A county (fylke) is the chief local administrative area in Norway. The whole country is divided into 19 counties. A county is also an election area, with popular votes taking place every 4 years. In Sogn og Fjordane, 39 members are elected to form a county council (Fylkesting). Heading the Fylkesting is the county mayor (fylkesordførar).

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