Hordaland County Council is responsible for developing Hordaland society. We provide upper secondary education, dental health services and public transport for our citizens. We develop the road system and facilitate growth, economic development and cultural activities. The Council is the county’s political decision-making body. As part of national and global society we are responsible for taking care of the past, the present and the future in Hordaland.Read our International newsletter
Hordaland, with its 516.497 inhabitants (2016), is home county to 10 % of Norway’s population. The county comprises 33 municipalities with their own governing councils. Bergen is the centre of Hordaland County and the site of the county administration.
Employment and income
The County Council employs around 4,400 people. Almost 80 % of the work carried out by county employees is related to secondary education. 38 secondary schools situated in various parts of the county have some 18,000 pupils. The council’s income is derived principally from local taxes (35 %), Norwegian Government block grants (34 %), earmarked Norwegian Government grants, and fees from certain services provided by the county. The level of income is defined by the national government. The Regional Strategy Plan draws up the aims and strategies for the development of the county.
The political structure
The County Council is the elected body responsible for county policies. The Hordaland Council has 57 members elected every four years. The current County Council is elected for the period 2015-2019.
Detailed decision making is delegated to the County Executive Board elected by the County Council among its 57 members.
Chief Executive is Mr. Rune Haugsdal. County Mayor of Hordaland is Mrs. Anne Gine Hestetun, representing the Labour Party.
The blue region
Hordaland is to a great extent powered by the sea. Bergen’s historically central
position in the North Sea region was based on trade and commerce, especially
within the Hanseatic League. Today, Hordaland is a leading region in terms of
fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, marine technology, tourism and export of oil and gas.
Several major oil companies have offices in Bergen and a number of huge oil and gas fields are operated from here. On the island Stord, there are a number of companies that build sections and equipment for platforms and the offshore industry. Shipyards in Hordaland build vessels, act as subcontractors and service facilities for the fishing and the merchant fleets, the offshore industry and the transport and passenger market. Companies in Hordaland are world leading within subsea technology.
Several major actors within international shipping operate out of Bergen, and the port of Bergen is Europe’s leading cruise destination. Tourism is another industry of major importance to the county.
Aquaculture and fishing
Hordaland is Norway’s most important aquaculture county and a pioneering region in modern aquaculture. In 2015, fish farms in Hordaland produced 164 058 tons of salmon and 35 628 tons of trout. The firsthand value of the production was approx. 6,922 million NOK in 2015. More than 80 % of the production is exported, the most important markets being France, Poland, Denmark and Spain.
The aquaculture industry is now widening the range of species farmed to include crustaceans, mollusks, cod, halibut, turbot, wolfish and eel. Hordaland amounts for about 10 % of the total Norwegian seafood export.
Energy sources: Water and petroleum
Hordaland has a unique position in the Norwegian energy market. Norway’s net export of crude oil and petroleum products (including NGL) is about 3 million barrels per day. This puts Norway in third place among the world’s leading net crude oil exporters.
Four-fifths of the oil and gas come from the fields off the coast of Hordaland. Two crude oil terminals are located in the county, at Sture and Mongstad. Mongstad is also the location of Norway’s largest refinery – producing 10 million t.o.e. per year.
Natural gas from the vast Troll field is processed at Kollsnes (Øygarden) and piped to Europe. Troll gas will be an important source of energy and chemical feedstock for continental Europe for at least 50 years. The Troll field is the biggest offshore gas reservoir in Europe, and contains about 40 % of the total gas reserves on the Norwegian continental shelf. Thus, it represents the very cornerstone of Norway’s offshore gas production. The power stations in Hordaland yearly produce 16,000–20,000 GWh of electric energy (2013 - 2015), more than anywhere else in the country.
An international environment for research and education
Several of Norway’s most important centres of research and education are located in Hordaland. University of Bergen (UiB) is a research university with a strong international profile that is committed to academic and research excellence. The faculty and staff of UiB count more than 70 different nationalities. UiB is engaged in the European Union’s Framework programs for research and technological development and has been designated as a European Research Infrastructure and a Research Training Site in several scientific fields. Four research centres at UiB are labelled Norwegian Centre of Excellence by the Research Council of Norway.
The other most important research and educational institutions include the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH), the Foundation for Social and Industrial Research (SNF), Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) and its subsidiary Chr. Michelsen Research, the Marine Research Institute, the Norwegian Underwater Technology Centre (Falck NUTEC) and Bergen High-Technology Centre (HIB).
The range of educational institutions in Hordaland also include: Bergen University College, Stord/Haugesund University College, Bergen National Academy of the Arts, NLA – College of Teacher Education and NLA – Academy of Religion and Education, and the Naval Academy and other schools of the Navy.
The adult education service at Hordaland County Council offers education at upper secondary level for adults. Adults are entitled to upper secondary education from the year they turn 25 if they have not completed such education previously.
Bergen Airport at Flesland with its more than 6 million passengers a year is the
main gateway to Western Norway. The Bergen–Oslo railway, express buses, Bergen light rail, ferries and fast-moving catamarans are other important means of transportation. Bergen is the point of departure for the coastal route Hurtigruten between the southern and northern parts of Norway. There is a ferry link from Bergen to Denmark.
The Port Authority of Bergen (BOH) is the largest port in Norway, measured in both tonnage and number of calls. The ports within BOH handle in total 50 % of all goods (oil and gas included) loaded and unloaded in Norwegian ports.
The road network in Hordaland is constantly being improved and developed,
in particular the major roads. The Bergen peninsula and the surrounding district are connected by bridges. In 2000 the longest tunnel in Hordaland (11 km), under the Folgefonna glacier, was opened. Road development is to a great extent financed by toll fees.
Skyss is responsible for administrating timetables for busses, ferries and the Bergen Light rail.
A vibrant cultural life
Hordaland is a major cultural centre in Norway, with Bergen as the hub of the
region. Arts and culture in Hordaland are like the architecture of Bergen: an exciting mixture of old and new.
Music, film and scene
Bergen is a musical melting pot that has fostered a range of international artists within classical and contemporary music, jazz, pop and rock. Leif Ove Andsnes, Kings of Convenience, Kygo, Sondre Lerche, Aurora and Röyksopp are but a few present-day examples.
The well-known Bergen International Festival (Festspillene i Bergen) presents art in all its guises: music, theatre, dance, opera and visual art. The festival is the largest of its kind in the Nordic countries, with more than 150 events in 15 days. The city has also placed itself on the cinematic map of the world with its Bergen International Film Festival. The documentary programme at BIFF is seen as one of the most important in Europe.
Carte Blanche – the Norwegian National Company of Contemporary Dance –
resides in Bergen. Its repertoire includes work by some of the best and most celebrated Norwegian and international choreographers, strongly emphasizing commissioned work by a new generation of contemporary dancemakers.
The first Norwegian theatre was established in Bergen in 1850 with Henrik Ibsen as one of its first directors.
Hordaland ranks number one among Norwegian counties in terms of the number and variety of museums, ranging from maritime history and traditional coastal culture and applied arts to traditional folk culture and contemporary art.
Bergen Art Museum, named KODE, is one of the largest art museums in the Nordic countries and houses several of Edvard Munch’s masterpieces, as well as works by the leading representatives for Norwegian art in the 19th and 20th centuries.
A brief insight: Bergen and Hordaland as a tourist destination
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway. The Quayside on the old harbour front, the Hanseatic wharf, is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Its characteristic old timber houses still stand as a monument to the city’s widespread trading activities during the era of the Hanseatic League.
The birthplace of Edvard Grieg retains a solid position as one of Scandinavia’s most vibrant cultural cities, with its International Festival, its well-known symphony orchestra, a richly endowed musical life, ballet, theatre and other cultural activities.
With its mixture of modern, efficient big city facilities and traditional picturesqueness, Bergen is a popular tourist destination and a frequent host to congresses and meetings.
Bergen is also the gateway to the world famous fjords of Western Norway, several times rated the world’s best travel destination by esteemed magazine National Geographic Traveler.
The Hardanger region comprises the very essence of the national romantic nature of Western Norway, where the fjords, the lush green, the waterfalls, the mountains and the glaciers have been attracting tourists for over a hundred years.
More tourist information
Facts about Hordaland
- Population (01.01.2016): 516.497
- Area (total): 15,438 km2
- Continental area: 13,367 km2
- Offshore islands: 2,083 km2
- Area of freshwater lakes: 886 km2
- Area of glaciers: 334 km2
- Agricultural area in use (2010): 282 km2
- Offshore islands: 6,482
- Islands in freshwater lakes: 2,645
- Freshwater lakes: 15,529
- Length of the mainland coastline: 2,237 km
- Length of the islands’ coastline: 6,504 km
- Length of coastline, total: 8,740 km
- Largest island: Osterøy 330 km2
- Highest mountain: Hardangerjøkulen 1,863 m
- Highest waterfall (approximate vertical fall): Skykkjedalsfossen (Eidfjord) 300 m and Tyssestrengene (Odda) 300 m
- Highest waterfall, not regulated (approximate vertical fall): Vedalsfossen in Eidfjord 200 m
- Longest fjord: Hardangerfjorden 179 km (The second longest fjord in Norway. Sognefjorden - 204 km - is the longest.)
- Largest glacier: Folgefonna 212 km2 (The third largest glacier in Norway. Jostedalsbreen and Svartisen are larger.)
- Longest road tunnel: Folgefonntunnelen 11,150 m, Jondalstunnellen 10,400 m, Bømlafjordtunnelen (under sea) 7,931 m
- Longest railway tunnel: Finsetunnelen 10,589 m
- Longest road bridge: Nordhordlandsbrua, pontoon 1,610 m, Hardangerbrua, suspension bridge, 1,380m (centre span 1,310 m), Askøybrua, suspension bridge, 1,056 m (centre span 850 m)
- Highest annual precipitation: Haukeland in Masfjorden (1990) 5,303 mm
- Precipitation during 24 hours: Matre in Sunnhordland (1940) 229.6 mm
- Highest recorded air temperature: Voss (5 July 1892) + 34.0°C
- Lowest recorded air temperature: Finse (7 Jan 1982) ÷ 39.6° C