As the crow flows the distance between east and west in Vest- Agder is not very long. However, if you follow the coastline from Åna Sira, next to Rogaland county, to Kvåsfjorden, which marks the border to Aust-Agder, the distance is 709 kilometers. The distance is almost as long as a trip along the highway from Kristiansand to Trondheim. The coast characterizes Vest- Agder. A total of 31 small and large fjords intersect the coastline. Nearly 90 percent of the populations in this county live in the coastal municipalities. That is where we find the towns and the outports near the open sea, and it is easy to see that they are based upon shipping and trade. Many of the traditional houses in these areas have in recent years been preserved by the authorities. That also goes for some other characteristic structures along the coast- the lighthouse. As the first county in this country Vest- Agder in 1992 worked out a plan to preserve the lighthouses and a total of eight were protected by law.
Environment- and culture minded
In recent decades people have become much more aware of the value of the coastal culture. Private individuals, special interest groups, businessmen and the public authorities have several places in Vest- Agder, individually and together, carried out projects to preserve various cultural monuments.
Vest- Agder has been a forerunner in this field, and in the near future the authorities plan to expand Skjærgårdsparken (the Archipelago Park) so that it includes more coastal areas. Through these projects they increase the possibilities for the local inhabitants and visitors to experience the versatility of this coastal region.
Vest-Agder is where the Gulf Stream first meets the long Norwegian coast. This is one of the main reasons that the country has the warmest and sunniest climate in the country.The area is also sheltered from the strong winds and frequent rainstorms which blow in from the Atlantic Ocean and afflict poor weather upon the northern and western coast of Norway. Gentle winds from Skagerak and the eastern part of the North Sea cause early springs and late autumns.
Few inhabitants and good space
Vest- Agder is relatively small county. 14 of Norway’s 18 counties have more landarea and a lager population. But Vest-Agder is a good example that size does not determine quality.
Number of inhabitants: 161 130 (1. January 2005)
County area: 7 280,99 kilometers