is a county
, bordering Vestfold
. The county administration is in Skien
The county is located in southeastern Norway, extending from Hardangervidda to the Skagerrak coast. The coastline extends from Langesundsfjorden to Gjernestangen at the border to Aust-Agder. Telemark has a very broken and heterogeneous landscape, including many hills and valleys.
The largest population centres are Skien, Porsgrunn, Notodden, Rjukan and Kragerø. Other important places are Bø, Fyresdal and Vinje.
form of the name was Þelamörk
. The first element is the genitive plural case of þelir
, the name of an old Germanic
tribe. The last element is mörk
f 'woodland, borderland'. (See also Hedmark
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.
Some historians used to believe that Telemark had been a petty kingdom
in the early Viking Age
, prior to the reign of Harald Fairhair
. This assertion, however, is unfounded.
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 remote cabins).
Until 1919 the county was known as Bratsberg amt.
Notable people born in Telemark
- Myllarguten (1801 - 1872), legendary fiddler born in Sauherad
- Aasmund Olavsson Vinje (1818–1870), author born in Vinje.
- Sondre Norheim (1825–1897), father of skiing born in Morgedal, Kviteseid
- August Cappelen (1827 - 1852), national romantic painter born in Skien.
- Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906), author born in Skien
- Theodor Kittelsen (1857 - 1914), artist born in Kragerø
- Vidkun Quisling (1887–1945), politician, nation leader during World War II born in Fyresdal
- Aslaug Vaa (1889–1965), author born in Rauland
- Tarjei Vesaas (1897–1970), author born in Vinje
- Anne Grimdalen (1899–1961), sculptor born in Skafså, Tokke
- Eivind Groven (1901–1977), composer born in Lårdal, Tokke
- Dyre Vaa (1903–1980), sculptor born in Vinje
- Klaus Egge (1906–1979), composer born in Gransherad, Notodden
- Gunnar Sønsteby, (1918-), war hero born in Rjukan , Tinn
- Hans Herbjørnsrud (1938–), author born in Heddal, Notodden
- Tor Åge Bringsværd (1939–), author born in Skien
- Kåre Nordstoga (1954-) , musician born in Notodden
- Gisle Kverndokk (1967-), composer born in Skien
- Odd Nordstoga (1972-), musician born in Vinje.
- Frode Johnsen (1974-), footballer born in Skien.
- Terje Haakonsen (1974-), master snowboarder born in Vinje
- Ihsahn (Vegard Sverre Tveitan) (1975-), black/extreme metal musician born in Notodden
The county is conventionally divided into traditional districts. These are Grenland
Telemark County has a total of 18 municipalities: