Old boundaries in Norway

Here is a page at the Digitalarkivet where you find maps of the Norwegian parish boundaries as they were in the 1801 census. 

In addition you get the names of modern-day counties and the 1801 equivalent “amt” which is the old term for county.

You can access the pages here. “Maps showing boundaries for parishes, counties (amt) and towns in the 1801 census, as well as the boundaries for municipalities in 1979”

The maps can be enlarged (within reason) by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + (pluss). You zoom out again by pressing Ctrl/Cmd – (minus). With some browsers you will have to go into the “Settings” and choose zoomlevel.

Together with the websites I link in my article Find Norwegian place names this website is another great tool in trying to get familiarized with Norwegian geography.

The legend in the maps is in Norwegian so here are the translations:Lesja kirke web

  • Riksgrense 1979 – National border 1979
  • Fylkesgrense 1979 – County border 1979
  • Amtsgrense 1801 – “Amt” border 1801 → “Amt” is the old term for county
  • Prestegjeldsgrense  1801 – Parish border 1801
  • Kjøpstad 1801 – Market town 1801
  • Ladestad 1801 – Trading place 1801
  • Landsdelsgrense 1801 – Region border 1801
  • Stiftsby 1801 – Town where the administration of the region is seated


Kjøpstad → Market town or market rights is a legal term, originating in the Middle Ages, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets and/or do trading of goods, distinguishing it from a village and city. (Wikipedia)

A Ladested → Trading place was a small town or larger village  that had limited rights to handle trading of goods. These trading places where normally administered by a Market town in the same area.

Norway was, and still is, commonly divided into five major geographical regions (landsdeler). Today these regions are purely geographical, and have no administrative purpose.

It is interesting to note that the 1801 parishes in general are much bigger than the modern-day parishes. This means that the ministers had a much larger area to cover.

You might want to go on to read my article about The Norwegian church books 

One thought on “Old boundaries in Norway

  • October 7, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Really interesting! Thank you!


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