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Fredriksten Fortress - Photo: Nasjonale festningverk
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Fredriksten Fortress Photo: Nasjonale festningverk

Fredriksten Fortress

Fredriksten Fortress in Halden is located near the Swedish border, and is home to dramatic Norwegian military history.

The main fortress and outer fort

The main fortress and buildings inside the walls are known as the Citadel, forming the core of Fredriksten fortress, and what many think of as the actual Fredriksten Fortress. The main fort towers over the town, whether seen from the west or from the south in the Iddefjord. 

Activities

The seventeenth century fortress is a wonderful place to learn about culture and history for the modern visitor, and there is a lot to do and see for the whole family.

Guided tours of Fredriksten

Some of the most dramatic events in Norwegian military history took place at the fortress of Fredriksten. Join one of the regular guided tours during the summer months. A local guide will conduct you around the fortress. Tours start at the parking lot, and continue into the inner courtyard and fortifications.  

The tickets can be bought directly from the guide. Tours last one hour, and finish at the Queen’s Bastion in the inner fortifications. 

Groups on appointment all year:
Please contact Halden Tourist Office. Phone: (+47) 69 19 09 80

Halden Historical Collections

Visit the museum and view see some of the lining of the hat belonging to Charles XII,  the famous Swedish king who was shot at Fredriksten Fortress in 1718. 

Inside the fortress visitors will find exhibitions on military history, and the general history of the town and district. Halden Historical Collections is a museum that has preserved objects and archives for more than a hundred years. One of its many gems is a piece of the lining of the hat that belonged to Charles XII, the famous Swedish warrior king who was shot during the siege of Fredriksten Fortress in 1718.

The Collections have several exhibitions on display:

  • Union at the border
    An exhibition with two themes on the same subject, where one part concentrates on political and military history and relations between Norway and Sweden. The second half of the exhibition focus on the relations between the Norwegians and Swedes in fields such as communication, work, and industrial establishments.  
  • War History Exhibition
    An exhibition in the old 'slavery' – which used to house convicts - in the Eastern curtain wall, providing a narrative of the Halden War history from the 1600s until the second world war. The story of the death of Charles XII in 1718 is told here, along with the theories of where the bullet that killed him might have come from.
  • The exhibition "The city's burning"
    in Øvre Magasin narrates the dramatic history of Halden town, spanning more than 300 years (from 1661 until the 20th century). 
  • The bakery and brewery from 1685
    The old bakery and brewery are located at the bottom of the inner fortress. These two establishments were able to furnish 5000 men with bread from the huge ovens, and to brew 3000 litres of bear each day in barrels and kegs. 
  • "On the run"
    An exhibition dealing with the extensive traffic of refugees across the border that took place here during World War II. 

Opening times

Halden Historical Collections are open from 18 May until 31 August: 10:00 – 17:00. 

Special guided tours of the museum can be booked on phone no. (+47) 69 18 54 11.

The fortress grounds are open day and night. 

How to get there

Fredriksten Fortress towers on the hill overlooking the centre of Halden on the hill. The road is well signposted for cars and pedestrians. Large parking lot at the fortress.

History

Fredriksten Fortress is built in an imposing location on the ridge overlooking the town, and is a prominent landmark for people arriving in Halden whether by car or by boat.  

The access route is clearly signposted for motorists, and it is a short walk from Halden town to the fortress. The fortifications are highly picturesque, and an integrated part of Halden's identity.

Following the Roskilde peace agreement in 1658 Norway had to cede the County of Bohuslen to Sweden. As a result, Halden became a new frontier town, necessitating far stronger fortifications of the town and the new border line. 

The construction of permanent fortifications for Fredriksten was started in 1661, and the fortress held a prominent position in the national defences between 1660 and 1814. In the period 1814 to 1905, when Norway was in a union with Sweden, the importance and purpose of the fortress was unclear. Following the dissolution of the union in 1905 the fortress was abandoned and demilitarised, and it was decided that the fortress should be preserved as a national monument

Food and drink

Visitors to Fredriksten Fortress can enjoy a variety of refreshments, from a plain cup of coffee to a full meal. The restaurants are inviting, with pleasant ambience and names such as Curtisen (Courtship), Kongshallene (Kings Halls) and Fredriksten Kro (tavern). There are also elegant function rooms for hire.

Fredriksten Kro
A good inn for families, complete with a cafeteria and ice-cream parlour, and not far from the parking lot at Fredriksten Fortress. 

Large outdoor restaurant with dancing every Wednesday in the summer. 

In addition to the extensive menu there are function rooms to cater for all occasions, including conferences and meetings. Groups and companies all year. Fredriksten Kro also has disabled facilities.

Open every day throughout the summer months. 
In the winter season, open on Sundays from 11:00 – 18:00.
Phone: (+47) 69 17 52 32

Fredrikstens Vertshus A/S "Curtisen"
The old lodgings were renovated in 2004, and have been turned into a pleasant eatery which specialises in good quality home cooking. Fredriksten Vertshus can seat groups of up to 35 people. Advance reservations required. There is also a small bar with room for about 15 guests. 

The inn is open every day from May to August. Otherwise open during weekends and upon appointment. 
The old Commandant's residence has been turned into function rooms for up to 100 people.

Phone: (+47) 959 98 184
Email: oeraass@online.no

Kongshallene
Inside the courtyard you will find one of the most unique and interesting banqueting halls in Norway. The Kongshallene (Kings' Halls) with their vaulted ceilings hail back to the 1600s. They took twenty years to complete, and were ready in 1666.    

The halls were originally used to billet soldiers, with up to 450 men being quartered under the three vaults. Kongshallene were renovated in 1989, and opened as banqueting rooms two years thereafter.   

"17th century banquet” has become very popular with guests. This is a very special experience, which takes place on Wednesdays from the beginning of June to the middle of August, and where you can partake of a meal in the style of the 1700s. This was before knives and forks were in common use at the table. The evening could begin with an evening stroll through Fredriksten Fortress. The impressive floodlights lends a highly special atmosphere to the fortress, making it a striking landmark also after nightfall.

After the tour, it is time for a festive dinner in the fashion of the 1700s. 

We recommend advance reservations.

For bookings and information, please contact Kongshallene.
Phone: (+47)  69186790.
Email: lacb@online.no

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Last updated:  19 February 2013

Interest:  Buildings & Monuments

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Fredriksten Fortress, Halden, Norway - Photo: Nasjonale festningverk

Fredriksten Fortress

Fredriksten Fortress in Halden is located near the Swedish border, and is home to dramatic Norwegian military history.

Fredriksten Fortress

Source: Visitnorway

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The Border Fortifications

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

Attractions in Halden

Fredriksten Fortress in Halden is one of Norway's most visited tourist attractions. You can also experience Northern Europe's highest locks at Brekke.

About Halden

Halden

Halden is an idyllic little town nestled down by the fjord, just on the border to Sweden. Above the town looms the mighty Fredriksten Fortress.

Tourist information in Halden

The tourist information offices can help you with accommodation, and provide information about events, attractions and activities in Halden.

Key facts about Halden

There are around 30,000 inhabitants in Halden. During the summer months almost 300,000 people visit Fredriksten Fortress.

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