Bø within Telemark
|Administrative centre||Bø i Telemark|
|• Mayor (2011)||Olav Kasland (V)|
|• Total||263 km2 (102 sq mi)|
|• Land||258 km2 (100 sq mi)|
|Area rank||292 in Norway|
|• Rank||188 in Norway|
|• Density||20/km2 (50/sq mi)|
|• Change (10 years)||8.5%|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|ISO 3166 code||NO-0821|
|Official language form||Nynorsk|
Bø is a village and municipality in Telemark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Midt-Telemark, but was historically regarded as part of Grenland. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Bø i Telemark ("Bø in Telemark"). Bø has been a settlement since ancient times, a parish since the middle ages and became a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt) in 1838. The area of Lunde was separated from Bø in 1867 to become a separate municipality. Bø has a population of 5,977 (2015).
Bø's economy is mainly based on agriculture, forestry, tourism, education and public administration. Bø has the character of a university town and is home to one of the principal campuses of the University of Southeast Norway; it was also the seat of one of the university's three predecessor institutions, Telemark University College. Bø is well known for its cultural traditions within traditional music and artisanship, and its central position within Norwegian national romanticism with e.g. its Bunad traditions. Bø has several times been called "the most beautiful place on earth" in modern literature, e.g. in Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson's story, En glad Gut ("A Happy Boy").
The municipality (originally the parish) is named after the old Bø farm (Old Norse: Bœr), since the first church was built here. The name is identical with the word bœr which means "homestead" or "farm".
The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were adopted on 19 February 1988. The arms show three gold-colored fiddles on a red background. Bø is historically known for its musical tradition, as well as the production of fiddles (similar to the hardingfele). The fiddle was thus chosen as an appropriate symbol for the municipality.
In 1923 the county of Telemark decided to start a secondary school in Bø, the equivalent of today's middle school or "ungdomsskole", called Telemark Realskole. At this time secondary schools mostly existed in the larger towns and cities, and most youngsters ended their schooling after 7 years. It was the county's intention to expand this school to a high school as soon as practically possible. This happened in 1947, and the school's name was Telemark Offentlige Landsgymnas. The existence of this school made it possible to establish Telemark College (Distriktshøgskulen i Telemark), which evolved into Telemark University College.
Bø is famous for its waterpark Sommarland (the largest of its kind in Norway). Another popular sight in Bø is the Gygrestol rock formation. There is also Kroa i bø, one of the oldest and most respected music scenes in Norway. The club won the award for "Concert promoter of the Year 2005" and is based on voluntary work from students of the Telemark University College.
Bo Church (Bø kyrkje) dates from ca. 1100. The church is in stone and has 200 seats. It was built in the Romanesque style, with long church plan and choir to the east. The sanctuary, choir loft and the apse are from the Middle Ages, whereas the narthex was built to the 1600s.
Bø New Church (Bø kyrkje) dates from 1875. The church is wooden and has 450 seats. The church was built in Neo-Gothic style. There are wood carvings on the altarpiece, pulpit, lectern and west gallery.