The county is conventionally divided into the traditional districts Follo and Romerike, which fill the vast part of the county, as well as the small exclave west of Oslo that consists of Asker and Bærum. This resulted after the transfer of the great municipality of Aker (surrounding Oslo) from Akershus County to Oslo in 1948.
Embracing numerous suburbs of Oslo, notably Bærum, Akershus is one of the most densely populated areas in the country. The main national railway lines into Oslo run through Akershus with many junctions and stations such as Asker, Sandvika, Ski, and Lillestrøm. Akershus includes some of the lake Mjøsa and some of the river Glomma.
The county also includes the historical place Eidsvoll, 48 km north of Oslo, in which the national assembly ratified the Norwegian constitution in 1814. South of Eidsvoll is the international airport of Oslo Airport at Gardermoen. Oslo's previous international airport, Fornebu, is also located in Akershus. The estate of the crown prince is located in Asker (the royal palace is in Oslo).
The county has two major hospitals, Akershus University Hospital and Sykehuset Asker og Bærum.
The main road from continental Europe, E6, enters Akershus in the south, and runs through eastern Oslo, further to Gardermoen, and into Hedmark County on the eastern shores of lake Mjøsa.
E18 enters Akershus in the south-east, merges for a short stretch with E6 at Vinterbro in Ås, before running under central Oslo. E18 then turns south-west through Bærum and Asker before entering Buskerud County north of Drammen.
E16 runs from the intersection with E18 in Sandvika into Buskerud County west of Sollihøgda.
All main railways out of Oslo run through Akershus:Southwest: the Drammen Line
Southeast: the Østfold Line as two separate railways
North: the Gjøvik Line
Northeast: the Trunk Line, Gardermoen Line, and Dovre Line
East: the Kongsvinger Line
Akershus became a fief in the 16th century, and then also included the current counties of Hedmark, Oppland, Buskerud, and Oslo, as well as the municipalities of Askim, Eidsberg, and Trøgstad in the county of Østfold. In 1662, Akershus became an Amt, and in 1685, Buskerud was separated from Akershus and became an Amt of its own. In 1768, Hedmark and Oppland were also separated from Akershus to become Oplandenes Amt (and Askim, Eidsberg, and Trøgstad were transferred to Østfold). In 1842, the city of Christiania (Oslo) was made a separate Amt, as well. In 1919, the term Amt was changed to Fylke. In 1948, Aker, the greatest and the most populous municipality of Akershus, was transferred to the county of Oslo.
The county is named after Akershus Fortress. The fortress was built in 1299, and the meaning of the name is "the (fortified) house of (the district) Aker". The name is somewhat misleading now, since the fortress is now outside Akershus (it is in Oslo County since 1842). In fact, the administration of Akershus sits outside the county, as well, in the centre of Oslo.
The coat-of-arms is from modern times (1987). It shows a gable from Akershus Fortress.
Akershus has a total of 22 municipalities: