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The municipality of Skien was established on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipalities of Gjerpen and Solum were merged into the municipality of Skien on 1 January 1964.
The conurbation of Skien and Porsgrunn is considered by Statistics Norway to be the seventh largest city in Norway straddling an area of three municipalities: Skien municipality (about 52% of the population), Porsgrunn (35%), and Bamble (11.5%). The area is home to more than 85,000 people.