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Birkenes kommune
View of the ski terrain at Topdalsheia
View of the ski terrain at Topdalsheia
Coat of arms of Birkenes kommune
Coat of arms
Official logo of Birkenes kommune
Aust-Agder within
Birkenes within Aust-Agder
Birkenes within Aust-Agder
Coordinates: 58°26′58″N 08°14′00″E / 58.44944°N 8.23333°E / 58.44944; 8.23333Coordinates: 58°26′58″N 08°14′00″E / 58.44944°N 8.23333°E / 58.44944; 8.23333
Country Norway
County Aust-Agder
District Sørlandet
Administrative centre Birkeland
 • Mayor (2015) Anders Christiansen (Ap)
 • Total 674.21 km2 (260.31 sq mi)
 • Land 629.91 km2 (243.21 sq mi)
 • Water 44.30 km2 (17.10 sq mi)
Area rank 164 in Norway
Population (2016)
 • Total 5,147
 • Rank 197 in Norway
 • Density 8.2/km2 (21/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 17.3 %
Demonym(s) Birkenesing
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code NO-0928
Official language form Neutral
Data from Statistics Norway

Birkenes is a municipality in Aust-Agder county, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Sørlandet. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Birkeland, where about half the municipal population lives. Other villages in Birkenes include Ås, Engesland, Flakk, Håbbesland, Herefoss, Mollestad, Oggevatn, Rugsland, Senumstad, Søre Herefoss, Svaland, Tveide, and Væting.

The 674-square-kilometre (260 sq mi) municipality is the 164th largest by area in Norway. Birkenes municipality is the 197th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 5,147. The municipality's population density is 8.2 inhabitants per square kilometre (21/sq mi) and its population has increased by 17.3% over the last decade.[2]

General information[edit]

View of a farm area in Birkenes
Landscape of rural Birkenes
Birkenes Church, circa 1858


The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the old Birkenes farm (Old Norse: Birkines), since the first Birkenes Church was built there. The first element is birki which means "birch wood" and the last element is nes which means "headland". This farm is located on the south side of what is now the village of Mollestad.[3]


The coat-of-arms is from modern times; they were granted on 5 December 1986. The arms show three birch leaves in white or silver on a green background. The arms are a canting of bjørk which means birch (since bjørk is similar to "birk-" in the name Birkenes). The green color symbolizes the importance of agriculture in the municipality. The three leaves symbolize the three main areas in the municipality: Birkenes in the south, Herefoss in the northeast, and Vegusdal in the northwest.[4]


The Church of Norway has three parishes (sokn) within the municipality of Birkenes. It is part of the Vest-Nedenes deanery in the Diocese of Agder og Telemark.

Churches in Birkenes
Parish (Sokn) Church Name Location of the Church Year Built
Birkenes Birkenes Church Mollestad 1858
Herefoss Herefoss Church Herefoss 1865
Vegusdal Vegusdal Church Engesland 1867


The historic parish of Tveit had to be divided into two formannskapsdistrikts on 1 January 1838 because the main part of Tveit belonged to the county of Lister og Mandal and the annex of Birkenæs belonged to the county of Nedenæs and the new law said a municipality could only exist in one county, not two. Therefore the parish was split and Birkenæs municipality was created in Nedenæs county. On 1 January 1883, an uninhabited part of Birkenes was transferred to the control of neighboring Landvik municipality.

Starting in the 1960s, Norway enacted many municipal reforms such as mergers and border adjustments stemming from the work of the Schei Committee. On 1 January 1967, the neighboring municipalities of Herefoss (population: 585) and Vegusdal (population: 582) were merged into the municipality of Birkenes, creating a much larger municipality with a population of 3,050.

On 1 January 1970, two uninhabited areas of Neset and Råbudal in the neighboring municipality of Froland were transferred to Birkenes (these areas were formerly in the municipality of Mykland prior to 1967). On 1 January 1979, the uninhabited area of Landheia in Froland was transferred to the control of Birkenes municipality. Later, on 1 January 1986, the Lislevand farm area (population: 8) was transferred from Birkenes to the neighboring municipality of Evje og Hornnes. Then on 1 January 1991, the Dalen area of Birkenes (population: 60) was transferred to the neighboring municipality of Froland.[5]


The municipality borders Kristiansand and Vennesla municipalities in Vest-Agder county and Iveland, Evje og Hornnes, Froland, Grimstad, and Lillesand municipalities in Aust-Adger.

Birkenes is home to many lakes, including Herefossfjorden, Nystølfjorden, Ogge, and Uldalsåna. The river Tovdalselva runs through the municipality as well.


All municipalities in Norway, including Birkenes, are responsible for primary education (through 10th grade), outpatient health services, senior citizen services, unemployment and other social services, zoning, economic development, and municipal roads. The municipality is governed by a municipal council of elected representatives, which in turn elect a mayor.

Municipal council[edit]

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Birkenes is made up of 21 representatives that are elected to every four years. Currently, the party breakdown is as follows:[6]

Birkenes Kommunestyre 2015–2019
Party Name Name in Norwegian Number of
  Labour Party Arbeiderpartiet 5
  Progress Party Fremskrittspartiet 2
  Conservative Party Høyre 5
  Christian Democratic Party Kristelig Folkeparti 5
  Centre Party Senterpartiet 3
  Liberal Party Venstre 1
Total number of members: 21


Agriculture and logging are important sources of employment, but the municipality also has a small industrial base with about 400 different work sites. The largest enterprise is Owens Corning with approximately 180 employees. Other larger businesses include Uldal Vinduer og Dører, Foss Bad, Scanflex, KOAB Industrier, and Birkeland Trykkeri.


The Sørland Line provides rail service at Herefoss Station. Prior to 1953, the Lillesand-Flaksvand Line also served Birkenes, but that railway line was closed down and removed.

Norwegian National Road 41 runs north-south through Birkenes, and is one of the main highways in this area of Norway. There are also several other important county roads in Birkenes, such as Norwegian County Road 404, Norwegian County Road 405, and Norwegian County Road 406.


  1. ^ "Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  2. ^ Statistisk sentralbyrå (2016). "Table: 06913: Population 1 January and population changes during the calendar year (M)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-06-05. 
  3. ^ Rygh, Oluf (1905). Norske gaardnavne: Nedenes amt (in Norwegian) (8 ed.). Kristiania, Norge: W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrikkeri. p. 161. 
  4. ^ "Civic heraldry of Norway - Norske Kommunevåpen". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  5. ^ Jukvam, Dag (1999). "Historisk oversikt over endringer i kommune- og fylkesinndelingen" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå. 
  6. ^ "Table: 04813: Members of the local councils, by party/electoral list at the Municipal Council election (M)" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. 2015. 

External links[edit]