City Guide Fredrikstad. The Travel Guide for your trip to Norway.
Have you been just as much of a history buff as an avid adventurer? You can seldom settle for both of those things in one ride of a vacation. However, be prepared for what is coming your way!
This article will introduce to you the destination of Fredrikstad. In all its summer and rustic charms, it is one of Norway’s most well-preserved cities. You will get a sketch of its history and significant places so that you can make up your mind. Besides, you will also let in on the transport and accommodation details to make your stay comfortable! Without any further ado, let us dive right into it!
Table of contents
Location: In the county Viken, in Eastern Norway. Near the capital Oslo.
Established: in 1567 by King Frederick III
Population: 83,761 (2021)
Time zone: UTC+01:00 (CET), in the summer UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Historians claim that Fredrikstad is Norway’s first city that emerged during the age of the Renaissance. In layman’s terms, it came into existence during the 16th century. Did you know that it was the orders of King Frederick II that lead to its birth? The year was 1567, to be precise.
Here is another interesting fact that makes its history all the more eventful. It was the fall of its neighboring town, Sarpsborg, with which Fredrikstad’s history coincides. During the Great Nordic War, the place was demolished by the Swedish army. It was only then that King Frederik II sought to build Fredrikstad, close by the famous Glomma estuary.
You might already know how a well-protected riverbank can be beneficial as a vantage-point. It was ideal for the army to keep a close eye on suspicious activities, if any. Needless to add that it further improvised the living conditions of its public.
You just took a brief peek into the history of the Norwegian Renaissance city. Can you guess that those historical relics and monuments make the Fredrikstad of today a hotspot for tourists?
Fortified Town: Home to Fredrikstad Fortress
First on the list is the unmissable Fortified Town of Fredrikstad. You will find it on the east bank of river Glomma. It is said that this is the best-preserved town in the entirety of Northern European land.
As the main base or port of the Østfold Regiment, it is home to the Fredrikstad fortress. The fortress was responsible for all the military and defense-related decisions and actions concerning the east side of Oslofjord.
The fortress was built from 1663 to 1666 and was also allocated to take charge of its prison work. However, by 1903 it was shut for the public while serving as an armory and military unit.
Kingston Fort: the Freestanding Fortress
Following the building of the Fredrikstad fortress, the Kongsten fort was founded in 1685. It falls in the southeast direction from the Old Town. As glanced at before, it is more of a freestanding fortress that the authorities had built initially to cushion.
It was for the vulnerability of Fredrikstad’s eastern link to the Old Town, which needed protection. If you are a major history buff, you would want to visit the hidden path that it entails.
Do not forget to stand by the walls and check out the land around you. After all, it is the best way for you to understand its significance. You will undoubtedly appreciate the architecture and gateways along with the commander’s house if at all it interests you.
Unlike the places mentioned previously, Fredrikstad Cathedral is hardly as old. It was built around the 19th century. That said, the Gothic structures and concepts lurk now and then.
More specifically, the cathedral was sanctified back in the 1880s. One of its most remarkable features is the 70-meter tower complemented by the intricately copper-clad spire. Did you know that the building was not declared as a cathedral until 1969? The event coincides with the creation of Sarpsborg’s diocese.
A famous religious artist painted the stained windows by the choir back in 1917. It was Emanuel Vigeland who was responsible for the details and artistry.
The Birthplace of Roald Amundsen
You might have heard about Roald Amundsen, the polar explorer. Also considered amongst Norway’s most favorite sons, he was born in Sarpsborg, which, as you know, is right outside Fredrikstad. Did you know that Roald Amundsen was the first one to lead an excursion to the South Pole? He was also the first to achieve success in navigating the passage to the Arctic’s Northwest transit.
The fact will hardly surprise, but Amundsen was born in a parish to a shipowner’s family. No wonder that his spirit drew itself to sailing in yachts as the Glomma River flowed. He pursued medicine until his mother passed away but dedicated his life to the sea after that.
To know more about the adventures of Roald Amundsen, you can visit his family farm. It is open for tourists on the weekends during the winter season. However, if you plan a trip during the summers, the doors will be available to you from Wednesday to Sunday.
This excursion will fulfill your thirst for history and adventure, from the century furniture to Amundsen’s voyage souvenirs.
Even though this Renaissance city is smaller than several others, it lacks richness in its culture. Is the inner nerd in you itching for the archives and collections of exhibits? Well, it is time to fasten your seatbelts!
If you wondered whether the natives built all the significant places in Fredrikstad centuries ago, here is an exception! The Litteraturhuset Fredrikstad is one of the newer developments by the Glomma.
Unlike the places mentioned earlier that were heavily drenched in history, this only reopened back in 2013. The area is a massive cultural hub dedicated explicitly to the world of literary matter.
From the outside, it just seems like a cube made of wood and glass. However, it is Norway’s second-largest institution devoted to the said purpose. Sophisticated as it is, you will find a little coffee shop and an exhibition space inside. The building is also equipped with an auditorium where several TED talk-styled seminars are hosted.
These seminars could range from science to readings, to art shows, to performances for the youngsters. Their official website lists a detailed program so that you can show up for all that exciting details.
It even hosts high-profile events that might pamper the inner geek in you! For example, you could catch the Fredrikstad Animation Festival that goes on during November. Additionally, it is a stage for significant days like International Women’s Day, which falls in March.
Østfold Kunstsenter: The Centre of Østfold Art
Just like Litteraturhuset Fredrikstad, the Østfold Kunstsenter is devoted to the stream of art and visual stimulators. It was only in the 19th-century when the mansion was refined as the center of art in Fredrikstad. It is known for its collection of contemporary art along with applied art as well.
Interestingly, various budding and celebrated artists run this Østfold Art center. Since it represents contemporary art, the gallery is continually changing with time and evolution. If collecting exquisite pieces of art interests you, several sales and auctions are also a part of its routine.
However, are you one to involve yourself in the creation of art actively? Østfold Kunstsenter arranges art workshops during the holiday seasons. You have a little cafe right by the shops of amateur exhibits too.
Hans Nielsen Hauge’s Memorial Museum
Lastly, another unmissable place under this subsection had to be a museum! The Hans Nielsen Hauge’s Memorial Museum is situated on the island of Rolvsøy. Hans Nielsen Hauge was a Lutheran who then turned himself into a preacher. It was in 1896 when he had the spiritual awakening pushing him in that particular direction. It led him to write influentially. He inspired several informal religious gatherings as well.
At the time, such movements were forbidden. Despite the fact, Hauge helped with the setting up of factories, mills, and such. It was a challenge to the supreme authority, which was the Church at the time.
Are you interested in taking a closer peek into the archives and collections from the time? Do make sure to pay the Hans Nielsen Hauge’s Memorial Museum a visit!
Finally, we come to the geographical part of exploration! Throughout your excursions, you will find that history is always lurking in the background. It is one of the elements which make Fredrikstad uniquely consistent and adorable!
Have you ever imagined what a land covered with granite skerries would look imp-like? Well, the Hvaler archipelago will draw just the right kind of a picture for you. It is located in the southwestern direction of the Østfold county.
The archipelago extends for quite a few kilometers, but each island is very different from one another. The name Hvaler is simply a plural form of Hval, which translates to a whale. It got that name because they look like a pod of whales in the blue waters.
Luckily for a tourist, the remote islands are connected to the mainland. You could have breakfast on one island and be on another by lunchtime!
Since the islands have clear access to water, fresh seafood is something that you must try. Additionally, you can hop onto a ferry, hike, explore through the coves, or even kayak around for a bit.
Isegran: By the Mouth of Glomma
Sitting at the said location, Isegran is a fortified island that has existed ever since the 13th century. It was Alv Erlingsson, a nobleman who had built a castle here in the very beginning. However, the King’s army conquered and crushed it later in 1287. And about 400 years later, its remains were picked up by Fredrikstad’s city defenses.
An unmissable advantage that Isegran gave was its long base for harboring and building ships. You might even find the wooden sailboats from the time restored in these workshops along the coast.
If you are genuinely interested, the workshops are located in the north of the island. Interestingly, it is home to the only boatbuilding school in Norway. Take a walk through the display of the majestic vintage boats while appreciating the beautiful, blue water!
Did you know that Fredrikstad FK is a nine-time winner of Norway football leagues? You might have heard of Egil Olsen, who was the manager of the national football team. He also hails from this city!
Additionally, the city is known for a lot of other involvement in sports as well! For example, the Holmenkollen ski jump, near Oslo, was involved in the Olympics too! Moreover, it also hosts Norwegian floorball teams. Maybe you might have heard of Slavik IBK and St. Croix Pirates?
Despite Fredrikstad’s size, the Renaissance city is full of tourist places you can visit. And you have seen enough evidence of it so far. However, the inevitable question of commuting presents itself. How do you travel to and within Fredrikstad?
You have the option of two main airports situated on the eastern side of Norway. One is Oslo Gardermoen (OSL), which is the larger airport of the two. However, it is quite far from Fredrikstad itself. You can avail the bus services that will connect you to Fredrikstad in a little more than two hours.
Alternatively, you also have the option of Ryanair, which can fly you to Rygge. It is located near Moss, which is about 30 minutes away from Fredrikstad. Lastly, you can also choose to fly to Gothenburg in Sweden. A train ride or drive could connect you to Fredrikstad from there.
As far as commenting within Fredrikstad is concerned, you can hop on ferries, trains, cab rides, or cycles!