Asker (Norwegian: Asker), properly called Askerbygda in Norwegian, is a district and former municipality in Akershus, Norway. From 2020 it is part of the larger administrative municipality Asker, Viken (also known as Greater Asker) in Viken county, together with the traditional Buskerud districts Røyken and Hurum; Asker proper constitutes the northern fourth and is part of the Greater Oslo Region. The administrative centre was the town of Asker, which remains so for the new larger municipality. Asker was established as a parish in the Middle Ages and as a municipality on 1 January 1838.
|• Mayor (2007)||Lene Conradi (H)|
|• Total||101 km2 (39 sq mi)|
|• Land||97 km2 (37 sq mi)|
|• Rank||#385 in Norway|
(30 September 2019)
|• Rank||#11 in Norway|
|• Density||585/km2 (1,520/sq mi)|
|• Change (10 years)||+15.7%|
|• Norwegian form||Bokmål|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|ISO 3166 code||NO-0220|
Data from Statistics Norway
|Source: Statistics Norway.|
Since the Middle Ages, the Asker parish consisted of the later municipalities Asker and Bærum. In the 19th century Bærum became the Vestre Bærum and Østre Bærum parish, and Asker and Bærum were also established as separate municipalities.
The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted on 7 October 1975. The arms show a green background with three silver-colored tree trunks (Norwegian: askekaller) and are thus canting arms. The trees are ashes, which were cropped every year to provide food for the animals. The trees thus developed after many years a very typical shape, which was characteristic for the area.
In 1998, just before the millennium, the 'Askerbøringer' (the inhabitants of Asker) elected the beautiful area of Semsvannet including the mountain ridge Skaugumsåsen – to be their Place of the Millennium.
Its main parts are Asker, Gullhella, Vollen, Vettre, Blakstad, Bleiker, Borgen, Drengsrud, Dikemark, Vardåsen, Engelsrud, Holmen, Høn, Hvalstad, Billingstad, Nesøya, Nesbru, and Heggedal. Asker is a coastal place with many beaches, but also contains hills and woods. The district is known for many important businesses. It is also known for gardening. The Skaugum estate, where Crown Prince Haakon of Norway lives with his family, is situated here. The first IKEA store outside of Sweden opened at Slependen in Asker in 1963. There are many hiking/ sightseeing spots around Asker; such as Semsvannet lake and Drengsrud cultural path around the area.
As part of the municipality reform process instigated by Minister of Local Government Jan Tore Sanner the municipalities of Asker, Hurum and Røyken evaluated if they should merge into a new common municipality during the first half of 2016. A tentative agreement was reached and on 16 June 2016 the Municipal Council of Røyken approved the merger with Asker and Hurum with 24 votes for and 3 against. On 14 June 2016 the Municipal Council of Asker also approved the merger with 42 votes for and 5 against. A few days later the Municipal Council of Hurum followed suit and approved the merger. The proposed merger date was 1 January 2020 and the new name will be Asker. Asker was merged with the municipalities of Røyken and Hurum as of 1 January 2020.
Although Asker is principally a rural municipality, the expansion of Oslo has resulted in its becoming an affluent suburb. Thus numerous celebrities now reside in the area. According to SSB (Statistics Norway), Asker ranks as the 2nd wealthiest municipality in Norway based on median household income.
Asker is also the home of sports club IF Frisk Asker; the club won the Norwegian Hockey championship in 1975, 1979, 2002 and 2019. Asker Skiklubb is the largest sports club in Norway. It has a long history dating back to 1889. Many of Asker's famous people have been successful individuals associated with the sports club.
Asker is politically dominated by the conservatives, and the mayor is Lene Conradi who represents the Conservative Party of Norway (Høyre).
Asker Church (Asker Kirke) is located not far from Skaugum in Asker. The neo-Gothic red brick church was built during 1879 based upon designs by architect Jacob Wilhelm Nordan. The church renovation in 1930 was led by the architects Gudolf Blakstad and Herman Munthe-Kaas. Architect Arnstein Arneberg was in charge of the renovation in the 1950s. The church was the sight of the wedding of Princess Ragnhild and Erling Lorentzen in 1953. The statue of Crown Princess Märtha in front of the church was designed by sculptor Dyre Vaa in 1957.
In 1916 (or 1917) the Arctic expedition ship Maud was built in nearby Vollen and launched into Oslofjord. The ship was designed and built especially for Roald Amundsen and sailed through the Northeast Passage between 1918 and 1924. Sold to the Hudson's Bay Company as the supply vessel Baymaud she sank at Cambridge Bay, Northwest Territories (now Nunavut), Canada in 1930. In 1990, the ship was sold by the Hudson's Bay Company to Asker town with the expectation that she would be returned there; however the export permit expired due to the 230 million kroner () cost to repair and move the ship. In 2011 a new project was commenced to salvage Maud and transport her to a new museum to be built at Vollen.
On 31 July 2016 it was reported that the hull of Maud had been raised to the surface and placed on a barge in preparation for shipment to Norway. In August 2017 Maud began the journey back to Norway; she was towed through the Northwest Passage. In September 2017 she arrived in Greenland to stay for the winter. Maud arrived in Bergen on 6 August 2018, finally returning to Norway nearly a century after her departure with Amundsen. She was then towed along the Norwegian coast, and arrived at Vollen on 18 August.