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View from Hjelmkollen Fortress towards the Ringdalsfjord and Svinesund, Norway - Photo: Nasjonale Festningsverk
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View from Hjelmkollen Fortress towards the Ringdalsfjord and Svinesund, Norway Photo: Nasjonale Festningsverk

The Border Fortifications

Visit the Border Fortifications - 22 small fortifications along the southern part of the frontier dividing Sweden and Norway.

The term border fortifications is a collective name for all the defensive works that were built on the eastern and western side of the Glomma River in the decades before and after the dissolution of the Union with Sweden in 1905

Most of the border fortifications have not been used since the 1920s, but some of the installations saw active action during the battles against the German blitz occupation of Norway in 1940. 

Today most of the installations can offer guided tours, where you can learn about the Glomma Line and the history of the defensive works. Other fortifications are included in history and culture walks

Heritage sites

The installations are designed individually, and make for a unique experience in combination with the surrounding countryside. Their natural settings and surroundings have been incorporated as important parts and are elements that also help explain the military-historical installations, such as sight lines and the old transportation roads.

To safeguard the system in its entirety, all the installations that are still owned by the Defence are now listed and protected as heritage sites.  

History

All of the Border Fortifications were established as elements of a major construction phase which included coast forts, naval support bases, new drill grounds and a general reinforcement of existing installations.

The Border Fortifications were built as a clear message to Sweden, as part of the struggle for national independence for Norway.

Their structures vary between complex forts with massive expanses of concrete, installations built into the rock, and various types of buildings to simple entrenchments consisting of low parapets in front of a levelled ground. The Border Fortifications can be divided into two categories; barrier forts and deliberate defence positions

The advanced line consisted of Hjelmkollen Fort, Veden Redoubt and the modernised Fredriksten Fortress with the tower cannons at Overberget and Gyldenløve. On the road to Ørje, two forts were built, one on Lihammeren and one on Ørjekollen.

At Kroksund a battery was constructed at Vittenbergåsen. Aurskog Fort was constructed to close off the roads over Rømskog and Setskog and the other roads through Aurskog towards Blaker. At Kongsvinger, the old Kongsvinger Fortress was equipped with new guns, and in addition two new strong forts were built at Gullbekkåsen and Vardåsen.

The outcome of the negotiations at Karlstad in 1905 stipulated that the forts of Ørje, Urskog and Hjelmkollen had to be torn down. The fortress at Kongsvinger was allowed to remain, provided that no new fortresses were built within a radius of ten kilometres from the ancient fortress and that the installations would never be modernised.

Fredriksten was also allowed to remain, but was situated in a neutral zone established under the agreement and could not be used as a fortress in battle. The armoured cannons were removed, however. On either side of the national border, from Hvaler to the sixtyfirst parallel, a neutral and demilitarised zone was established.

The border fortifications have been given much credit as a reason why the two countries never went to war in 1905, and serve as a physical manifestation of great symbolic value for the determination shown by Norway to obtain national independence. 

Contact information for the Border Fortifications

Name: Dag Strømsæther
Address: Smedjegaten 87, 1632 Gamle Fredrikstad
Phone: +47 90170351
Email: dag.stromsaether@forsvarsbygg.no

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Last updated:  06 August 2013

Interest:  Buildings & Monuments

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View from Hjelmkollen Fortress towards the Ringdalsfjord and Svinesund, Norway - Photo: Nasjonale Festningsverk

The Border Fortifications

Visit the Border Fortifications - 22 small fortifications along the southern part of the frontier dividing Sweden and Norway.

The Border Fortifications

Source: Visitnorway

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