Separations and mergers – a long-term perspective on the landscape of changing municipalities

After the Second World War, the Norwegian government started an ambitious reform process in order to reduce the number of municipalities in Norway. The reform work lasted for nearly twenty years, and the outcome was a reduction of municipalities from 747 to 454. In a short-term perspective, this was a drastic reduction. In a long-term perspective, however, this was not the case. The number of municipalities was still larger than in 1837, when the law that constituted local self-government was approved. In contrast to the reduction process after the Second World War, the increasing number of municipalities during the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century was not initiated by the government, but by the municipalities themselves. It was the result of multiple local initiatives, albeit approved by the government.

In this article, I will examine the reduction process in the perspective of the former long-term splitting-up process, using some municipalities in the county of Nord-Trøndelag as examples. The article is part of an ongoing book project writing the history of the municipality Inderøy in the period 1800-2012. During this period, the municipality has gone through both several separations and mergers.