Place:Vestlandet, Norway


Located inNorway

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Western Norway is the region along the Atlantic coast of southern Norway. It consists of the counties Rogaland, Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane, and Møre og Romsdal. The region has a population of approximately 1.3 million people. The largest city is Bergen and the second-largest is Stavanger. Historically the regions of Agder, Vest-Telemark, Hallingdal, Valdres and northern parts of Gudbrandsdal have been included in Western Norway.

Western Norway, as well as other parts of historical regions of Norway, shares a common history with Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Iceland and to a lesser extent the Netherlands and Britain. For example, the Icelandic horse is a close relative of the Fjord horse and both the Faroese and Icelandic languages are based on the Old West Norse.

In early Norse times, people from Western Norway became settlers at the Western Isles in the Northern Atlantic, so that Orkney, Shetland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland. During the Viking age settlements were made at the Hebrides, Man and Ireland proper.

In early modern time, Western Norway has had much emigration to the United States, Canada, and to a lesser extent to the United Kingdom. This applies particularly to the US states of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana, and the Canadian province of Manitoba. The Icelandic and Faroese people, and many people in the British Isles, are descendants of Norsemen and Vikings who emigrated from Western Norway during the Viking Age. On the other hand, thousands of Western Norwegians are descendants of Dutch and German traders who arrived in the 16th and the 17th centuries, especially in Bergen.

Western Norway has the lowest unemployment rates, lowest crime rates, smallest public sector, fewest people on welfare and the most innovative economy in the country. It is generally regarded as Norway's most functional region.

Vestlandet is also the name chosen for a future administrative region consisting of two of the four counties, viz. Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane. The two counties will be re-merged after having been split in 1763 (then called Søndre Bergenhus and Nordre Bergenhus, respectively).

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