Federal government, county municipalities and municipalities

Federal government, county municipalities and municipalities

There are 18 counties and 422 municipalities in Norway. The City of Oslo is both a municipality and a county.

Counties and municipalities are both geographic areas and politically governed entities. Both the county municipalities and municipalities have the right of self-determination in a number of areas, even though the federal government makes many decisions. The federal government also provides frameworks for the counties and municipalities. The federal government governs the entire country, while the counties and municipalities govern local politics.

Political and administrative control

The federal government, counties and municipalities are governed by politicians elected by the people. This means that the politicians discuss various matters and decide which policies will apply in different areas. But it is the bureaucrats, i.e. the employees of the federal government, counties and municipalities, who carry out the policies.


Examples of federal government responsibilities:

  • Foreign policy
  • Hospitals
  • Laws
  • Curricula for schools

Examples of county responsibilities:

  • Upper secondary education
  • County roads

Examples of municipality responsibilities:

  • Primary and secondary school
  • Kindergartens
  • Elderly care
  • Waste disposal, water and sewage
  • Municipal roads