The Next Smallest County in Norway


Østfold is the second smallest county in Norway, about the same size as Tana in Finnmark.

In the Middle Ages the name of the county was Borgarsysla, first recorded in 1543. The name Østfold is based on Norse dialect, as “Fold” at that time was the word for “fjord”. Later, when Norway was under Danish rule, the Danish king divided the area into many baronies. These were merged into one county (amt) in 1662 – and it was then named Smaalenenes Amt ‘the amt consisting of small len‘. The name was changed back to Østfold in 1919.

It is logical to divide Østfold into four parts; Halden and Halden water courses, The district of Fredrikstad and Sarpsborg, Askim / Mysen and the district of Moss.

Walter Lighthouse
Walter Lighthouse

Østfold is among the nation’s oldest inhabited regions, with petroglyphs (rock drawings) and burial mounds throughout the area.

In the Viking Age, the area was part of Vingulmark, which in turn was part of Viken and included Båhuslen. It was partly under Danish rule until the time of Harald Fairhair.

Border between Sweden and Norway, Svinesund
Border between Sweden and Norway, Svinesund

The map may help us to describe Østfold.  We cannot deny that the small “appendix” has played an important role in many contexts.

The old town in Fredrikstad
The old town in Fredrikstad

Østfold sits between the Oslo Fjord and Sweden. It is dominated by flat landscape with a lot of woodland in the north and along the Swedish border, a major lake system in the central part, and densely populated lowland area along the coast, with a relatively large archipelago.

The Glomma River
The Glomma River

Norway’s longest river, the Glomma, flows through the county and out into the Oslo Fjord in Fredrikstad.

Photos: Visit Oslofjord

Feature image (on top): Autumn in Old Town, Fredrikstad

The Next Smallest County in Norway, written by Admin, based on


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