WELCOME TO Destination Rogaland!
The county of Rogaland is located on the west coast of Norway and borders to the counties of Hordaland, Telemark, Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder. With close to 460.000 people it is the fourth largest county in Norway in terms of population and the thirteenth largest in size with it's 9.400 square kilometers. There are 26 municipalities in Rogaland and Stavanger is the administrative city of the county.
It was in fact in Rogaland the first Norwegians settled after the Ice Age and the ice withdrew around 10.000 years ago. Excavations and discovered petroglyphs have revealed that the history of Norway itself started in Rogaland and there are also many discoveries from the Stone Age. The oldest traces of mankind have been found on the island of Rennesøy near the port of Mortavika and at Viste in Randaberg. One assumes that the people who settled here came from the south, probably from the so-called Doggerland - an area between Denmark and England which disappeared when the ice withdrew and the sea level rose. One assumes that the people who lived in Doggerland slowly had to escape the rising sea level and moved either north or south.
During the Bronze Age (1800 to 500 BC) the region grew and developed. Already at this point the region became important because of the closeness to the sea, Great Britain and the European Continent. Many discoveries have been unearthed from this age indicating a developed civilisation with both social classes, many tools and status symbols as well as distinctive traditions representative of the time. Up until the birth of Christ the region developed further and excavations have revealed close to 400 farms and buildings from this period in Rogaland.
Rogaland played a central part in the Viking Era and discoveries indicate that Rogaland's tribes and chiefs were both dominant and central to the whole Norwegian Viking period. Stavanger was an important spot for the Vikings because of the natural harbour and the strategic location. It was probably from this area the first Viking raids were initiated in 793 AC. Rogaland was also central to the unification of Norway with the battle of Harfsfjord in 872. The victorious Harald Hårfagre (Harald Fairhair) chose to place two of his five kings' castles in this region, which marks the assumed importance of the region. One also assumes that many of the Viking raids that went to Great Britain came from the northern parts of Jæren. Many discoveries where items that can be traced from Ireland in particular have been found, and the large farm discovered at Gausel near Stavanger proves that both the wealth and the degree of power, both military and politically, exercised from the region have been significant.
Christianity came early to Rogaland, mainly due to the closeness to Europe and Great Britain. During 900 AC the burial traditions change and activity from the first christian priests start. Several large christian crosses in stone stand to this day marking the christening of the region, including the cross in memory of Erling Skjalgsson of Sola. Skjalgsson was one of the mightiest people in Norway around 1000 AC and although a christian, he was in conflict with the king at the time, Olav den Hellige (Saint Olav). Skjalgsson was killed during a battle against Saint Olav's men at Soknasundet in 1028 and a stonemade cross was set up in his memory.
During the Medieval Period, the king and the christian church needed a stronghold of the important region and by 1125 Stavanger got the first bishop and the Stavanger cathedral was built. The first bishop was the English Reinald, which illustrates the region's close ties to Great Britain.
Rogaland is located in the southwest of Norway on the coast to the North Sea. The neighbouring counties are Hordaland, Telemark, Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder. Rogaland is often referred to as a miniature of Norway due to the fact that it has a bit of everything with regards to the landscape. There are high mountains and deep fjords, farm land and forests, rivers and lakes as well as longstretched beaches.
It is common to divide Rogaland into several subparts:
Dalane: In the south end of Rogaland you will find a rocky and to some extent a lunar landscape with particular rock formations and green valleys in between. The city of Egersund lies in this region.
Jæren: North from Dalane lies Jæren, a flat area that resembles Denmark. This is a highly fruitful landscape with significant farming activity. The coast is dominated by longstretched beaches.
Haugalandet: In the northern parts of Rogaland you will find Haugalandet on the border to Hordaland. This is a rocky area with some farm ground.
Ryfylke: The area of Ryfylke, with the Boknafjord and the many islands, is the dividing part of Rogaland. The fjord, Boknafjorden, is a wide and open fjord with several islands which are both green and lushful with a good climate and nutritious grounds. The landscape is dominated by large height differences, great mountains and beautiful water falls. The Lysefjord is probably the most beautiful and a well known fjord in Ryfylke. The Kjerag and the Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) lie in the Lysefjorden.
The highlands: Towards the borders to the counties east of Rogaland are the highlands stretching up to around 1000 meters from the sea level. The highest mountains reach up to 1400-1600 meters and have little vegetation. There are several large lakes in this region, including the Blåsjø.
The western islands: In the northwest one finds the outer island landscape where many small islands and rocks form a recognisable landscape for the region. The smallest municipality in both Rogaland and Norway, Utsira, lies here and has only 215 inhabitants.
The Boknafjord is Rogaland's longest and deepest fjord with it's 94 kilometers and 719 meters deep. Blåsjø is the largest lake covering 84 square kilometers whilst the Suldalsvatnet is the deepest lake with a depth of 376 meters. The highest mountain is Vassdalseggi stretching up 1658 meters. Karmøy is the largest island in Rogaland with an area of 177 square kilometers.
The county of Rogaland had per october 2012 a population of 450.176 in total. This makes Rogaland the fourth largest county in Norway. It has 26 municipalities with Stavanger being the largest. Stavanger has a population close to 129.000 while Sandnes is the second largest with a population of around 70.000. Karmøy has 41.000 and Haugesund holds 36.000 inhabitants. Most of the region's population is centered around the big cities of Stavanger and Sandnes which essentially have grown together into one large city. During the last years, Rennesøy has been the fastest growing municipality in terms of percentage growth while Sandnes has been the fastest growing in absolute terms.
Large cities and towns:
The county of Rogaland has the following cities and towns (population per 2012):
- Stavanger/Sandnes, 201.353
- Haugesund, 44.524
- Egersund, 10.874
- Bryne, 10.514
- Åkrehamn/Veavågen, 10.216
- Ålgård/Figgjo, 9.972
- Kleppe/Verdalen, 8.036
- Kopervik, 6.958
- Kvernaland, 6.707
- Nærbø, 6.431
- Jørpeland, 6.282
- Tananger, 5.939
- Hommersåk, 5.840
- Sauda, 4.272
- Førdesfjorden, 3.464
- Skudeneshavn, 3.274
- Tau, 2.858
- Varhaug, 2.857
- Hauge, 2.238
- Lyefjell, 2.201
- Vigrestad, 1.970
- Moi, 1.914
- Bjerkreim, 1.824
- Eike, 1.577
- Aksdal, 1.424
- Sand, 1.167
- Vikeså, 955
Administration and politics:
The administration of the county of Rogaland lies in the city of Stavanger, whilst the county is divided into four administrative parts. The Haugalandet has Haugesund as the largest city, Ryfylke has Jørpeland as the largest centre, Jæren has the Stavanger/Sandnes-area as the centre and Dalane is administered by the city of Egersund.
The region has a conservative political administration with the political coalition parties Høyre, Venstre, KrF and FrP in power. Høyre is the largest single party with 28,9% of the votes at the last county elections in 2011 followed by the labour party, Arbeiderpartiet, with 27,4%. FrP had 15,8% and KrF received 10,9%. Janne Johnsen from Høyre is the county mayor. There are 47 representatives in the county council, of which Høyre has 14 representatives and Arbeiderpartiet holds 13. FrP and KrF have 8 and 5 representatives, respectively. Rogaland's most wellknown current politician is Bent Høie (from Høyre) who is the current Norwegian health minister.
The county of Rogaland has three primary business areas: the oil industry, mechanical industries and metallurgical industries. In addition, the farming industry at Jæren is of significant importance to the region. Stavanger is termed the oil capital of Norway and the headquarter of the largest Norwegian oil company, Statoil, is located in Stavanger. Several other large international oil corporations have their Norwegian branch in Stavanger/Sandnes. Additionally, the Norwegian Oil Directorate and the Norwegian Petroleum Authority are both located in Stavanger. Nevertheless, Haugesund is in fact the city with the largest consumption when considering money spent per capita.
The business conditions in Rogaland are good and better than the national average, mainly due to the oil industry. However, the county is also the most important farming county in Norway because of the good climate conditions, long traditions and an active professional environment. There are around 5.300 farms in Rogaland and the main production is centered around milk and meat from cattle, pigs and sheep. There is also a significant production of poultry and vegetables. Rogaland has in fact more than 80% of Norway's greenhouse areas. In addition, the Rogaland region is important for the fishing industry with about 368.000 tons of fish and crabs being brought to shore in the region in 2001.
The farming industry in Rogaland provides work for approximately 10.000 people in the region, creating values of around 2,5 to 3 billion NOK per year. If we include the additional services of dairies, slaughterhouses etc. the value created reaches 14 billion NOK annually. This makes it the second most important industry after the oil industry.
The county's first railway line from Egersund to Stavanger opened in February 1878, but has recently been significantly upgraded to become a double-track railway line. The trains now travel constantly in both directions. In 1973, Rogaland got it's first airport, Stavanger Airport Sola and from here there are several direct flights to destinations both in Norway and abroad. The roads network with the E39 highway linking Stavanger and Sandnes has also been under significant improvements during the last years. There is a 25 kilometer long underwater tunnel stretching from Randaberg to Bokn municipality. The project is called Rogfast and the tunnel is both the longest and the deepest underwater tunnel in the world. The lowest point of the tunnel is around 400 meters below sea level. There are high-speed boats and ferries linking Stavanger with important areas such as Hjelmeland, Finnøy and Vindafjord along with the cities of Sauda and Jørpeland. The whole region is also well equipped with buses and similar public transport.
Cultural aspects and places to see:
Rogaland is famous for being the food county, and every year the festival Gladmat is being arranged in Stavanger. During the summer, there are several festivals being held, including the world cup in beachvolleyball, MaiJazz, Numusic, Sildajazz and the international chamber music festival in Stavanger. Other popular activities include walking, cycling, windsurfing, basejumping, boating and fishing in fjords, oceans and rivers.
There are many museums in Rogaland, including the archaeological museum in Stavanger, the folkmuseum in Dalane, the knowledge museum at Jærmuseet, the Norwegian Graphical Museum, the Tin Museum, Stavanger Sea Transport Museum, the Oil Museum and several others. Other places to see are the amusement park Kongeparken, the Byrkjedalstunet, Preikestolen, the Lysefjorden, the Avaldsnes area, the old town of Skudeneshavn, the Rogaland Arboret and Sogndalstrand.
Several famous writers have come from Rogaland, including Arne Garborg, Rasmus Løland, Alfred Hauge, Alexander Kielland, Sigbjørn Obstfelder, Tor Obrestad, Tore Renberg, Arild Rein, Sigmund Jensen and Rune Salvesen. The musician Fartein Valen was also from Stavanger.
Source: Information has been gathered from Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.com) with some adjustments.