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For other uses, see Telemark (disambiguation).
Telemark fylke
Rjukan Gaustatoppen.jpg
Coat of arms of Telemark fylke
Coat of arms
Telemark within Norway
Telemark within Norway
Country Norway
County Telemark
Region Austlandet
County ID NO-08
Administrative centre Skien
 • Governor Sven Tore Løkslid
 • County mayor Gunn Marit Helgesen
 • Total 15,299 km2 (5,907 sq mi)
 • Land 13,854 km2 (5,349 sq mi)
Area rank #10 in Norway, 4.55% of Norway's land area
Population (2014)
 • Total 171,333
 • Rank 13 (3.63% of country)
 • Density 12/km2 (30/sq mi)
 • Change (10 years) 1.8 %
Demonym(s) Teledøl or Telemarking
Time zone CET (UTC+01)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+02)
Official language form Neutral
Income (per capita) 139,900 NOK
GDP (per capita) 219,404 NOK (2001)
GDP national rank 12 (2.38% of country)
Data from Statistics Norway
Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1951 136,519 —    
1961 149,943 +9.8%
1971 156,778 +4.6%
1981 162,050 +3.4%
1991 162,869 +0.5%
2001 165,595 +1.7%
2011 169,185 +2.2%
2021? 180,966 +7.0%
2031? 191,552 +5.8%
Source: Statistics Norway.[1]
Religion in Telemark[2][3]
religion percent

Telemark [ˈteːləˈmɑrk]  ( listen) is a county in Norway, bordering Vestfold, Buskerud, Hordaland, Rogaland and Aust-Agder. The county administration is in Skien. Until 1919 the county was known as Bratsberg amt.


The county is located in southeastern Norway, extending from Hardangervidda to the Skagerrak coast. The coastline extends from Langesundsfjorden to Gjernestangen at the border with Aust-Agder. Telemark has a very broken and heterogeneous landscape, including many hills and valleys.


The international road E18 goes through the southern parts of Telemark, namely Grenland and the municipality of Kragerø. E134, another important motorway and the fastest route between Oslo and Bergen, goes through the municipalities of Vinje, Tokke, Kviteseid, Seljord, Hjartdal and Notodden. RV36, stretching from Porsgrunn to Seljord, links the E18 and E134 motorways.

Telemark is well served by railways. The Sørlandet Line runs through the traditional districts of Vestmar and Midt-Telemark, serving the municipalities of Drangedal, Nome, and Sauherad. Grenland is primarily served by the Vestfold Line, but also has connections through the Bratsberg Line which runs between Skien and Notodden.

Geiteryggen Airport in Skien offers flights to Bergen and Stavanger.

From Langesund, Fjordline operates ferry services to Sweden and Denmark.

The main bus lines in the county are operated by Telemark Bilruter, serving western and middle parts of the county, and Nettbuss which serves the middle, eastern and southern parts of the county. Drangedal Bilruter serves the Vestmar region.


The largest population centres are Skien, Porsgrunn, Notodden, Rjukan and Kragerø. Other important places are , Seljord, Fyresdal and Vinje.

The name[edit]

The Norse form of the name was Þelamǫrk. The first element is the genitive plural case of þelir, the name of an old Germanic tribe. The last element is mǫrk "woodland, borderland, march". (See also Denmark, Hedmark and Finnmark.) The term originally was applied to Upper Telemark.

Until 1919, the county was called Bratsberg amt. The amt was named after the farm Bratsberg (Norse Brattsberg), since this was the seat of the amtmann ('governor'). The first element is the genitive case of brattr m "steep mountain", the last element is berg n "mountain". (The name is referring to a steep mountainside behind the farm.)

Telemark lent its name to Telemark skiing, a style invented by Sondre Norheim, and the characteristic Telemark landing of ski jumping.


The coat-of-arms is from modern times (1970). It shows an old type of battle axe, significant for the county.


The film The Heroes of Telemark is loosely based on the Norwegian heavy water sabotage, a raid on a heavy water plant at Rjukan during World War II. Ray Mears made a documentary titled The Real Heroes of Telemark as a response to the inaccuracies of the film, giving an account more focused on the outdoor skills that were required for the operation (spending months in the mountains and remote cabins).

Notable people born in Telemark


Municipalities in Telemark

The county is conventionally divided into traditional districts. The most common district divisions today are Grenland, Vest-Telemark, Aust-Telemark. An older, larger division is Upper Telemark (or Telemark proper) and Lower Telemark (traditionally comprising the coastal area of Grenland). Today, the provostship Upper Telemark comprises 12 municipalities and more than 80% of Telemark, also including Midt-Telemark.

An additional district, Vestmar is disputed. Others like Bø, Nome and Sauherad might also be considered as the district of Midt-Telemark. The district borders of this County is highly undefined and disputed.

Rank Name Inhabitants[4] Area km2 District
1 Scheen, Skien kommune Skien 63,962 722 Grenland
2 Porsgrunn kommune Porsgrunn 35,177 161 Grenland
3 Bamble kommune Bamble 14,107 282 Grenland
4 Notodden kommune Notodden 12,390 856 Aust-Telemark
5 Kragerø kommune Kragerø 10,620 289 Grenland
6 Nome kommune Nome 6,527 389 Aust-Telemark
7 Tinn kommune Tinn 6,022 1,858 Vest-Telemark
8 Bø i Telemark 5,595 260 Aust-Telemark
9 Sauherad kommune Sauherad 4,666 292 Aust-Telemark
10 Drangedal kommune Drangedal 4,159 998 Grenland
11 Vinje kommune Vinje 3,641 2,740 Vest-Telemark
12 Seljord kommune Seljord 2,966 672 Vest-Telemark
13 Kviteseid kommune Kviteseid 2,522 626 Vest-Telemark
14 Siljan kommune Siljan 2,412 203 Grenland
15 Tokke kommune Tokke 2,337 907 Vest-Telemark
16 Hjartdal kommune Hjartdal 1,587 741 Aust-Telemark
17 Nissedal kommune Nissedal 1,404 789 Vest-Telemark
18 Fyresdal kommune Fyresdal 1,381 1,110 Vest-Telemark
Total Telemark fylke Telemark 168,231 13,173


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 59°20′00″N 08°30′00″E / 59.33333°N 8.50000°E / 59.33333; 8.50000