|Administrative centres||Oslo (county municipality)|
Drammen (county council and functions of the county municipality)
Sarpsborg (functions of the county municipality)
Moss (county governor)
|o Total||24,592.59 km2 (9,495.25 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
Viken is a county in Eastern Norway that was established on 1 January 2020 by the forced merger of Akershus, Buskerud, and Østfold with the addition of three other municipalities. Viken is controversial with an approval rating of about 20% in the region and there is an active political movement to reverse the merger and restore the constituent former counties. The formal process to dissolve Viken was initiated by the county executive in 2021 following the 2021 Norwegian parliamentary election, where the parties that seek to reverse the merger won a majority. Viken is home to over 1.2 million people or 23% of the national population.
The county seat is the national capital, Oslo, which is an enclave of Viken and is not part of the county. Oslo had been the seat of Akershus county since the Middle Ages. All of Viken is located within the historical Akershus, which included much of Eastern Norway. Viken takes its name from the historical region of Viken which has been defined as an area in Bohuslän in today's western Sweden since the middle ages.
Both its creation and its name are subjects of strong controversy and Viken is opposed by the counties concerned; the elected regional assembly and county executive of Viken have declared the disestablishment of Viken in 2021 as the main political goal of Viken, while refusing to do anything to merge the counties in practice. The governing platform of Viken describes Viken as "an ill-considered construction"; in practice, the existing counties will continue to function with separate county administrations based on their existing infrastructure, in anticipation of their formal reestablishment.
In the 2021 parliamentary election, the parties that seek to dissolve Viken won a majority, and the Centre Party made the disestablishment of Viken a condition for participating in a new government. Immediately after the election, the county executive initiated the prosess to dissolve Viken.
In 2017, the Storting voted to merge the counties Akershus, Buskerud, and Østfold by force; in addition, the Storting voted to include Svelvik municipality from Vestfold, and Jevnaker and Lunner municipalities from Oppland.
Viken county is opposed by the former counties concerned and is highly controversial. A common complaint is the inclusion of inland mountain areas like Ål and Hemsedal that lack a cultural connection to the Oslofjord area; another common complaint is the non-inclusion of Oslo, despite the fact that Oslo has been the capital of Akershus since the Middle Ages and is the county that has the closest ties to Akershus, with most of Akershus being part of the Oslo metropolitan area. On 1 October 2019, the newly elected governing majority parties in the planned county declared their intention of seeking to dissolve Viken and to reestablish the counties of Akershus, Buskerud and Østfold. The current official governing platform of Viken county states that "Viken is an ill-considered construction. The Storting has merged Akershus, Buskerud and Østfold against their will", and declares that the disestablishment of Viken is the main political goal of the current county administration. For the same reason, the county council decided that it will not do anything to merge the counties in practice or establish a common county administration; instead the existing counties will continue to function at their current locations in anticipation of their formal reestablishment.
Viken county takes its name from the historic region of Viken, which during the Viking Age loosely referred to the areas around the Oslofjord, but which became synonymous with Bohuslän (now in Sweden) during the Middle Ages. In Norway the use of the name Viken was only revived by the Nazi party Nasjonal Samling during the second world war in order to draw parallels to the Viking age; Nasjonal Samling referred to Vestfold and Buskerud as Vest-Viken and Akershus (including most of modern Oslo) and Østfold as Øst-Viken. The new Viken county does not include large parts of the historical Viken, including the region's historical centre Bohuslän, most of Vestfold, or Oslo. Viken County decided that the interim county capital will be Oslo.
Former Director of Oslo Museum Lars Roede described Viken as "an extreme monstrosity that flies in the face of geography and history", "reminiscent of manipulated electoral districts in the United States", and as deeply unpopular in the affected regions. Roede also criticized "the amateurish logos and unhistorical names". Roede termed Viken an example of Sannermandering, named after the responsible minister Jan Tore Sanner and modelled after the term gerrymandering.
The county coat of arms adopted in 2020 was based on a citizen's proposal, meaning that it bears no resemblance to older heraldic arms from the area. Historian Lars Roede criticized the coat of arms as an "amateurish logo", and wrote that the coat of arms "does not adhere to the requirements of good heraldry", would have been rejected by heraldic experts in the National Archives, "looks like three flying saucers under [a] cap", and is "a logo, not a heraldic coat of arms".
1 January 2020
|Created||Former Municipality No.||Former County|
|1||3001||Halden||31,373||1 January 2020||0101 Halden||Østfold|
0625 Nedre Eiker
|11||3014||Indre Østfold||44,792||0122 Trøgstad|
|17||3020||Nordre Follo||59,288||0213 Ski|
|45||3048||Øvre Eiker||19,423||0624 Øvre Eiker|
|49||3052||Nore og Uvdal||2,439||0633 Nore og Uvdal|