The Old Town and Fredrikstad Fortress
Fredrikstad is proud to be the best preserved fortress town in Scandinavia. The Old Town was founded in 1567 by King Fredrik II.
In December 2008 a conservation order was issued by the Directorate for Cultural Heritage protecting 58 of the military buildings of the Old Town.
Fredrikstad is one of three Norwegian towns that have had defensive walls, and the only one where the defences are still intact. Fredrikstad Fortress was constructed according to Dutch architectural models, with wide water-filled moats and high earth ramparts. On its eastern side, facing away from the river, there are three bastions and two counterscarps, ideal positions for cannons.
There are ravelins in the moats and beyond the main fortress several outworks, including Kongsten Fort. Facing the river the fortifications are a massive stone wall, reinforced by earth ramparts. The entrance to the fortified town was across the drawbridge or through the Vollport (rampart gate) or another of the gates along the river quayside.
The Old Town is a living quarter of Fredrikstad with 350 inhabitants. Today you can relax with an Italian coffee in the Market Place, enjoy a tête-à-tête over a bottle of wine at one of the Old Town restaurants, visit Fredrikstad Museum, galleries or one of the unique shops that are to be found behind the ramparts.
Museums and galleries
Fredrikstad Museum was founded in 1903 and comprises today both cultural and art collections. The exhibitions are housed at four different locations. Since 2002 the museum's offices have been located in Tøihuset in the Old Town; the historical civic exhibition is also housed here.
The Fredrikstad branch of the national Football Museum opened in 2007 and is ideally situated in the new Fredrikstad Stadium. There is a permanent exhibition tracing the cultural history of football, with many artefacts from the Norwegian game. Several interactive activities which are popular with children. The Football Museum is an attraction suitable for anyone with an interest in history or sport.
Elingaard Manor has a long history. The property has been a local power base at least from the Middle Ages and archaeological excavations suggest that people have lived here since Viking times. Today's manor house was substantially built in 1749, with the unique cellar dating further back several hundred years. Guided tours on request.
Kongsten Fort crowns a rock outcrop east of the fortified Old Town. In earlier times this promontory would have cast its shadow across the fields where Fredrikstad's inhabitants worked. The town's criminals ended their days on the gallows which were sited on the hill, hence the local name Galgeberget (Gallows Hill).
By 1663 Fredrikstad Fortress had been fully constructed according to Dutch military principles. The rock outcrop east of the fortress had an obvious strategic importance in the defence of the town, and building of the fort was commenced in 1677 under the military engineer Johan Caspar von Cicignon.
Isegran and Minemagasinet
"White Sail and Salt Sea" is an exhibition devoted to Norway's maritime history. Commercial and pleasure craft, collections and photographs on themes from seafaring, navigation and fishing. A separate exhibition is devoted to Bjarne Aas, famed for the regatta boats he built at Isegran. The rebellious Earl of Borgarsyssel, Arv Erlingsson, used Isegran as his base at the end of the thirteenth century, raiding ships on route between Norway and Denmark. Open Saturdays and Sundays during summer.
The museum is situated in the cellar of Bullgården in Toldbodgaten and is run by the Østfold Whalers' Club. Exhibition of artefacts from whaling voyages in Antarctic waters. Many treasures are contained within this small museum – not least the vivid stories the whalers have to tell. Open during the summer.
Norwegian Humour Museum
Norway's smallest museum is to be found in the Old Town. The Norwegian Humour Museum is a collaboration between well-known Norwegian cartoonists. Open during the summer.
Roald Amundsen's birthplace - Tomta
Roald Amundsen was born at Tomta near the mouth of the Glomma River. It is true that he was soon off to explore new places, but his childhood home in its beautiful surroundings can still be visited by today's adventurers, large and small.
With the ship Gjøa, he was the first to traverse the Northwest Passage, and in 1911 led the expedition that was first to reach the South Pole. In 1926 he crossed the North Pole in the airship Norge, travelling from Svalbard to Alaska.
Roald Amundsen was lost at sea in 1928 when his Latham aeroplane disappeared during an attempt to rescue the crew of Nobile's Italia airship.
Roald Amundsen's birthplace is open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am - 5 pm during the summer season. Guided tours.
In the low season it is an ideal venue for events, courses and conferences. For more information, please contact the tourist information in Fredrikstad.
The Hans Nielsen Hauge Memorial
Situated in Rolvsøy on highway 109 on the west bank of the Glomma River. Run by a private foundation. Guided tours on request, please contact the tourist information in Fredrikstad.
Hans Nielsen Hauge was a revivalist Norwegian lay preacher who spoke up against the Church establishment in Norway. He and his followers were persecuted in their time, though their teachings were in keeping with Lutheran doctrine. He began preaching about "the living faith" in Norway and Denmark after a mystical experience that he believed called him to share the assurance of salvation with others.
In 1769 he took his mission to the road, a lifelong journey. The religious and civic authorities regarded his preaching as a criminal act and Nielsen Hauge was often imprisoned, several times in the Old Town. For people of small means his message was powerful and hopeful. He devoted much of his life to establishing small industrial projects which secured a living for many who otherwise would have fallen outside of society.
Stones with stories
Is it possible to travel back in time 3,000 years? The Bronze Age is mysterious, dramatic and astonishing. The more today's experts uncover, the more fascinating this period of history seems to be.
The countryside around Fredrikstad, Sarpsborg and Hvaler is peppered with
mystic stone circles, majestic burial mounds and images chiselled in stone - a cultural heritage which talks directly to you.
These stones tell stories of love, religion and ritual, of astronomy and
agriculture, of prosperity and poverty, power struggle and daily toil, and not
least of all – dreams and hopes.
Come and read them yourself. Follow the map with suggested routes and
signposted walks. History is waiting for you. Buy the new guide book "Ships of the Sun – a round trip in Østfold's Bronze Age" at the tourist information in Fredrikstad or museums.