Fredrikstad (literally Fredrik's Town) is a town and municipality in the county of Østfold. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Fredrikstad, which was founded in 1567 by King Frederik II, and established as a municipality on 1 January 1838.
The town straddles the Glomma River where it meets the Skagerrak Sea. Along with neighboring Sarpsborg, Fredrikstad forms the fifth largest town/city in Norway: Fredrikstad/Sarpsborg. As of 1 January 2008, according to Statistics Norway, these two municipalities have a total population of 123,029 with 71,976 in Fredrikstad and 51,053 in Sarpsborg.
Fredrikstad was built at the mouth of Glomma as a replacement after Sarpsborg (15 kilometres upstream) was burned down by the Swedes. Almost half the population of Sarpsborg stayed behind, and rebuilt their old town at its original site.
Fredrikstad's town centre is on the west bank of the Glomma, whilst the Old Town on the east bank is Northern Europe's best preserved fortified town.
Fredrikstad used to have a large sawmill industry and was an important harbour for timber export, then later on shipbuilding, until the main yard was closed in the 1980s. The main industries are currently various chemical plants and other light industry.
Population in Fredrikstad (2008): 71,976
Area: 288 square kilometres
The Hvaler Islands
Hvaler is a municipality that is a group of islands outside Fredrikstad. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Skjærhalden, on the island of Kirkeøy. Hvaler was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838. The name is the plural form of hval which means "whale". The form and shape of the islands are resembling a pod of whales. Prior to 1889, the name was spelled "Hvaløerne".
South of Skjærhalden lies a chain of a few inhabitable islands as well as several hundreds of smaller islands and rocks. The bigger islands are named, clockwise, Nordre Sandøy, Søndre Sandøy, Hærføl, Søndre Lauer, and Nordre Lauer. Another smaller island is Tisler.
On all of these islands, with the exception of Søndre Lauer, summer houses fill the landscape. The islands of Søndre Sandøy and Hærføl are the two only islands that have local shops and roads which support car traffic.
Nordre Sandøy, situated on the north end of this chain of islands in southern Hvaler is one of the largest islands with a distinct flora and fauna diversity.
Although equipped with a good stretch of roads, car traffic is forbidden there and no commercial activity whatsoever exists. In many ways, this gives its population (mostly summertime vacationers) a greater feeling of isolation from the average Norwegian's hectic life and it acts as a buffer against pollution.
Hvaler is sunniest geographical area in Norway.
In 2009, the outer areas of Hvaler become a national park, to preserve the wildlife.
Population in Hvaler: 3,694
Area: 90 square kilometres
Notable residents from Fredrikstad and Hvaler
- Roald Amundsen, explorer of polar regions
- Petronella Barker, Norwegian actress
- Rebecca Birget Certa, international academic and Member of United States Congress
- Johan Caspar von Cicignon, General, engineer and city planner
- Hans Nielsen Hauge, revivalist Norwegian preacher for the Hauge Synod
- Katti Anker Møller, feminist and advocate for reproductive rights
- Egil "Drillo" Olsen, successful manager of the Norwegian national football team
- Harald Zwart, Norwegian film director