Quarrel about “coup d’etat” in Western Norway

Old Town Stavanger 100 Best Things To Do In NorwayOld Town of Stavanger. Photo: Marie Kvindesland

Quarrel about “coup d’etat” in Western Norway

Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane have decided to merge into a region they wish to name Western Norway (Vestlandet). The reactions from the rest of the region are vehement.


The decision on the name, which was made in the county councils of Sogn og Fjordane and Hordaland on Friday, has caused people in the two other countries – Rogaland and Møre og Romsdal – to react vehemently.

– This is both an arrogant and stupid decision. Two of the western countries are not part of the merged region. The middle part of Western Norway should therefore not be allowed to steal the name from the rest of the country, writes Haugesunds Avis in its editorial on Monday. They implore their northern neighbours to elect another name.

There are four counties in the west

There are also reactions from the north-western part of Norway.

– Western Norway is a separate part of the country, regardless of county boundaries. This will apply after the regional reform, and no one should be allowed to steal the name, writes Sunnmørsposten.

The newspaper points to that less than half of the inhabitants of the four western counties live in Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane.

Both name and identity stolen

In Tuesday’s editorial, writes Fjordingen , which is based in Stryn in Sogn og Fjordane, that the county councils does great injustice by “reducing Western Norway (Vestlandet) to something much smaller than it is.

– Choice of name engages. Worst is when many feel they are robbed of both name and identity. Although Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane also point to that Rogaland and Møre og Romsdal were invited to be part of the large rregion, the two counties now seek to put the rest of Western Norway offside, writes the newspaper.

Rogalands Avis Stavanger suggests that the politicians in the north perform “misleading marketing” by the decision.

– It is quite possible that the county politicians in the self proclaimed ‘Western Norway’ think the that people in Møre og Romsdal are more or less from Trøndelag and that we are quasi-Southerners,” the newspaper writes in its editorial on Tuesday.

Lack of knowledge

Centre Party representative of the city council in Bergen, Ole Sverre Bjørndal, draws parallels to that the eastern region had called themself Norway.

-It shows lack of knowledge of history, he says to Sunnmørsposten and ask if this is the biggest attempted robbery of a name in the history of Norway.

It is the Parliament that will make the final decision about what the merged county gets named. Priorly the Language Council willl make an official statement.

The language council director Åse Wetås has already shown her skepticism to the name in a chronicle in Aftenposten, written together with Botolv Helleland in March of this year.

– Constraininng Western Norway to what is currently two counties, breaks with traditional use in the language. An unfortunate double significance will occur if Western Norway is to be used on half of the part of the country that is currently encompassing four counties, she says.

All were invited

According to Bergens Tidende the county governors from Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane defend the choice of name.

– The name has to be Western Norway. We live in central western Norway. This is what is our identity is and which has characterized our growth. I think it’s a good name. We take a position, says county governor in Sogn og Fjordane, Jenny Følling, after the decision was made.

The county governor in Hordaland, Anne Gine Hestetun, is even more arrogant and states that people from Rogalending and Sunnmøre can thank themselves as they chose not be part of the new region.

– Everyone was invited to join. Møre and Romsdal at once said that they would not join, while Rogaland was on until the letter of intent was written and then voted against. Everybody has had the same opportunity, she says.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today