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Moss is a coastal town and a municipality in Østfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Moss. The city of Moss was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipality of Jeløy was merged with the city on 1 July 1943.

Its administrative district covers areas east of the town, such as the island of Dillingøy in the lake Vansjø. Parts of the town are located on the peninsula of Jeløy. Moss city has 30,723 inhabitants (2012).


The Old Norse form of the name was Mors. It may be derived from an old root mer- which means to "divide" or "split".

The adjacent topography shares similar etymology:

Mosse-elva. Mosse -"marsh-river-border"+ Elva -"see Elbe, Elver Old Norse for river" The name is thought to be very old and the meaning of it is not clear.

Mosse-sundet. Mosse-"marsh-river-border"+ Sundet (Moss channel).

Mosse-herred. Mosse-"marsh-river-border"+ Herred -"Court" akin to hort(us,en), "garden," from PIE *ghr-ti-, from base *gher- "to grasp, enclose" (see yard) Actually "Moss county".


Archeological finds suggest that there were settlements in the area more than 7,000 years ago and continuously through the Iron Age, Viking Age, through to modern times. During the Viking era, the place was known as Varna (forne, vorne, front-protection?) and was the site of a cooperative for battleships held by local warlords on behalf of the king.

Moss Ironworks, the signingplace of Convention of Moss

Moss in 1885

The first literary reference to the name Mo(u)ſs(ß) is from Bishop Eystein Aslaksson's Red book (NRA AM fol. 328) from 1396, and by then the town had become a commercial center with craftsmen and mills. By the 16th century, the town's port was significant enough to warrant its own customs official. Liquor distilleries became one of the dominant industries, and it was not until 1607, after the Reformation, that the town got its own church.

By 1700, Moss had become a hub for both ship and land traffic between Copenhagen and Christiania, and in 1704 Moss Jernverk (Moss Ironworks) was established just north of the city center. By 1720 it received its charter as a merchant town, with its own official. This may have had background in an important battle in 1716 that was fought in the town square in Moss in which Norwegian troops commanded by Vincent Budde prevailed over invading Swedish forces, sent by Charles XII to capture Akershus Fortress. In 1767 a local resident built a "pleasure pavilion" near the town, which survives as the Hotel Refsnes Gods.[3]

In 1814, Moss became the site for the signing of the Convention of Moss, which effectively put an end to the Dano-Norwegian kingdom. This set the stage for economic development that has persisted to this day.

On the morning of 14 July 2006, a bolide exploded above the nearby town of Rygge - moments later, several stony meteorites fell over Moss. A number of meteorites were recovered by local residents and visiting meteorite hunters, which after analysis and classification, were found to be a rare type of carbonaceous chondrite.


The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted on 2 April 1954. Moss became a separate city in 1786 and received its first seal in the same year. The seal showed a church under some clouds, the whole thing placed within a circle. Above the circle there were some fasces, the freedom symbol of the late 19th century. A later seal, dating from around 1829, shows the same composition, but now also with six birds flying around the church.

When in the 1930s the city wanted to adopt a coat-of-arms and the birds were chosen as a possible symbol. The original birds probably were doves, symbol of peace. In 1934, the idea of the crow was launched, since the nickname of the inhabitants was 'crows'. The arms were finally granted in 1954 and show a yellow crow on a red background. It was designed by Christian Stenersen.[4][5]

There is a tale being told in Moss about the Church fire: The city of Moss always had a lot of crows, most likely because of the corn being harvested in the region. The fire disturbed the crows that started to make a lot of noise and the inhabitants rescued the church from total destruction. After this episode the idea of crow as arms was launched.

Norwegian lady statues

Moss and Virginia Beach, Virginia in the United States are sister cities. On Good Friday, 27 March 1891, the Norwegian bark Dictator, whose home port was Moss, was lost in the treacherous waters of the Graveyard of the Atlantic. The ship had been en route to England from Pensacola, Florida with a cargo of Georgia Pine lumber. After being caught and disabled in a storm, she was headed for port at Hampton Roads, Virginia to make repairs when she encountered another storm just off Virginia Beach.

Working in the high winds and seas, lifesaving crews from shore were able to save some of the 17 persons aboard. However, the pregnant wife of Captain J.M. Jorgensen, Johanne, and their 4-year-old son Carl were among the 7 persons who drowned.[6]

The ship's wooden female figurehead had washed ashore. It was placed in a vertical position facing the ocean near the boardwalk as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the shipwreck. It was a landmark there for more than 60 years, but gradually became weathered and eroded.

In 1962, Norwegian sculptor Ørnulf Bast was commissioned to create two nine-foot bronze replicas of the original figurehead by the City of Moss. The Norwegian Lady Statues were unveiled on 22 September 1962. One was presented as a gift to Virginia Beach, and an exact duplicate was erected in Moss to unite the two sister cities. Each statue gives the appearance of facing the other across the Atlantic Ocean.

On 13 October 1995, Queen Sonja of Norway visited the Norwegian Lady statue in Virginia Beach, and placed memorial flowers.


The town is known for paper mills, as well as metalworks and other factories. Dillingøy is known as a place for alternative non-military civil service. Moss is mentioned since the Renaissance and was the site of the signing of the Convention of Moss in 1814, which solidified the union with Sweden. The headquarters of textile producer Helly Hansen were located in Moss until 2009. The maker of international hotel keycards, Trio Ving, also has their headquarters here.


Moss is served by Moss Airport, Rygge, which is located in the neighboring municipality of Rygge. It opened as a civilian airport in 2007 and is served predominantly by low-cost airlines, particularly Ryanair. The railway Østfold Line runs through Moss, stopping at Moss Station, which is the southern terminus of one service of the Oslo Commuter Rail and an intermediate stop for regional trains. Moss connects across the Oslofjord to Horten via the Moss–Horten Ferry. There are also bus-lines to Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Oslo in addition to local bus lines. Moss port is one of the top 3 busiest container ports in Norway (messured in TEUs) Virginia Beach, Virginia


Moss FK are the Town's football club. They play in the Second Division, and have played in the Norwegian Premier League as recently as 1990.

Notable residents

Main category: People from Moss, Norway

Ludvig Rakeng Mpagi - footballer

Marte Helene Fosse - Writer

In popular culture

A traditional expression, [the hay scale at Moss] høyvekta på Moss, means "something that you can not trust".[9]

Moss is known throughout Norway for the local "dish" "Pølse i Vaffel" - sausage in waffle. The dish consists of a Vienna Sausage served in a Scandinavian style waffle with ketchup and mustard. The dish was most likely created in the 1960s, but this is widely discussed. Eyvind Hellstrøm - who later became a Michelin-star chef - and his brother Jan is often referred to as the creators. Eyvind Hellstrøm has not denied this in interviews


"Navn på steder og personer: Innbyggjarnamn" (in Norwegian). Språkrådet. Retrieved 2015-12-01.

Porter, Darwin; Prince, Danforth (2005), Frommer's Norway, John Wiley and Sons, p. 12, ISBN 0-7645-7826-X

Norske Kommunevåpen (1990). "Nye kommunevåbener i Norden". Retrieved 2008-12-16.

"Kråke som byvåpen" (in Norwegian). Moss Kommune. Retrieved 2008-12-16.

"Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents, by immigration category, country background and percentages of the population". Retrieved 24 June 2017.

"Vennskapsbyer" (in Norwegian). Moss Kommune. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved 2008-12-16.

Sylfest Lomheim (2015-08-05). "Dølar på Dalen". Klassekampen. p. 10.

External links

Municipal fact sheet from Statistics Norway

Moss travel guide from Wikivoyage

Municipal website (in Norwegian)

Municipal website

Moss meteorites (in Norwegian) (in Norwegian)

"Moss Avis" local newspaper (in Norwegian)

Short historical summary of Moss (in Norwegian)

Norwegian Lady statue

"Mofs Avis", parodic local newspaper (in Norwegian)

Moss is a typical industrial town, with 250 firms of various sizes within municipal boundaries. TrioVing, Peterson and Helly Hansen are well-known examples of local businesses, Helly Hansen head office moved to Oslo. The ferry connections to Frederikshavn in Denmark and Horten make Moss a communications crossroads, thanks also to European Highway 6 runnlng right outside the town and the railway through it. Moss large and modern port handles over 2.000 calls a year. In 2007 the military airport called Rygge just outside Moss was converted into a civil airport - Moss Airport. A ferry line (the Bastø Ferry) across the Oslofjord runs between Moss and Horten.

The county Governor of Østfold works out of the brand-new and dominating Government Offices in Moss. The Moss Crow is a well-known symbol of the town. Its arms used to show a church with birds flying round the tower, standing for the pigeons that once alerted the townsmen to fire in the church. In popular parlance the pigeons became crows, and in 1953 the new town arms adopted the crow as emblem. For a description of sights, bathing beaches etc.

Moss and the surrounding district has most of what a summer tourist could wish. A unique location in the most accessible part of Norway - a crossroads by land and sea. The Moss District can offer a variety of experiences and attractions. Bathing beaches, for example - there are more than 40 of them, including the Lido (Sjøbadet) in the very centre of the town. lf you want to stay in a hotel or motel there are many options, either in the centre of the town or in more rural surroundings - or beside trunk routes. Campsites are numerous.

Moss has a full and varied commercial centre, with a mixture of specialist sbops and larger shopping malls, and a wide spectrum of restaurants and pubs. If you are interested in art, you have come to the right place. Moss is now known as "Gallery Town" - for the sake of its fleet of art galleries large and small, with Gallery F 15 on Jeløy island as the flagship.

The district can offer unique countryside such as Mossemarka, Jeløy and above all Vansjø. Several festivals are organised in the summer months, as well as shows, concerts and other cultural events. Stay with us a few days, therefore, and absorb some of what summer in Moss and District can offer. We will do our best to make you feel at home!


The Canal in Moss is an idyllic and lively commercial centre, with a beautiful sheltered guest marina and numerous fine shops close at hand, the Canal is "THE" place to go in Moss. The guest marina is a popular place all summer long, and many visitors even come by car. A growing number of caravans and motorhome tourists are also discovering the area. Lured by the temptations of the nearby beach, many take the opportunity to enjoy an invigorating swim. On the north side of the bridge is the Sjøhuset and Fiskebasaren both offer refreshments and evening entertainment.


Jeløya was actually a peninsula in the Oslofjord, but was divided from the mainland in 1855 by the Moss canal (Mossekanalen) a 20 meter broad canal that was built through the low isthmus. The Canal Bridge (Kanalbrua) is the link between Jeløya and the mainland at Moss. This was at first a low, sliding bridge, and since 1957 a simple-leaf Bascule bridge, but dating from the early 1990s has been locked and unable to open. Part of the city of Moss lies on the south-eastern part of Jeløya.


Twenty-five years ago Gallery F15 took form in the venerable main building of Alby Manor, South Jeløy Conservation Area. Thanks to a large number of important exhibitions the gallery's fame has reached far beyond the borders of Norway. In time other galleries have grown up beside it, and all together they make up what has been called "the Moss Gallery District". Moss is a town and a district with a multicoloured gallery flora and a rich artistic community, especially in Son. Moss itself has more than 70 sculptures within the municipal boundaries, and this also serves to emphasize the position culture enjoys in Moss and District.


Refsnes Gods is a hotel on the island of Jeløy, clopse to the Oslofjord just outside the mansion. The building was originally constructed in 1767 as a pleasure pavilion. It contains a notable art collection. "Gods" means mansion in Norwegian. Since the new owners took over, a large number of unique pieces of art have found a new home at Refsnes Gods. Every guest room and all the common areas have works of a dedicated artist displayed. More than 400 pieces from 90 well-known artists are represented. The list of the artists include names like Andy Warhol, Edvard Munch, and Jacob Weidemann. Three works by Munch were stolen from the hotel in March 2005; they were shortly recovered, although one of the works was damaged during the robbery. The resort is also known for its wine cellar.


Moss is one of Norway´s oldest and most versatile industrial centers. Mill city (Møllebyen), which is located by Mossefossen waterfalls was the central point for the city´s first industrial epoch and held this status until approximately 1970. Møllebyen now prevails as a unique historical city environment, where new ventures are established in the old houses and new buildings. Today you find serveral restaurants and cafeés, a large moderc cinema and Moss City and Industry Museum in this area.

Møllebyen is the former city center in Moss. Among other things, the historical King´s Road to Copenhagen passed through the area. Most of the buildings in Møllebyen which have been used for milling are known as Lerke Mølle, Kloster and Galle Møller (named after the owners), Central Warehouse (Central Pakkhus), Kvernhuset (The Mill) and so on. However other activities were also carried out. Among other things, we find the cities first waterworks, which were established in 1876.

The assembly of buildings in Møllebyen are of great historical value. They represent an entire building environment with high architectural quality. The buildings were basically built with a solid foundation and the construction between floors is of wood. The outer walls are of brick. Typical of the architectural features are large roof areas, clearly defined cornices, pillars of brick, cast iron windows, eloquent gables and richly detailed masonry.


The Torderød estate was cleared alredy during the Viking era, while the current estate, the Torderød mansion was built as a summer residence by David Chrystie d.e. in 1758-60. The building is listed, and the Torderød park is the district´s only purely baroque garden. The beautiful premises are hired out to parties. Torderød Gårds Venner (Friends of Torderød Gård) conduct an interesting tour of the main building and the park.


Ekeby Farm is a farm with many goats. The farm is situated by the two natural reserves, Telemarkslunden and Gunnarsbybekken. At Ekeby, taking care of our boer goats is our main priority. Goats are not made to be indoors. They need to have lots of space to move around in all year round. That is why we at Ekeby feed the goats outside. The boer goats don´t like rain and wind, that´s why they have small isolated cabins. Here they can seek shelter when the weather is not good. When it´s cold, the goats keep warm in the cabins by their own body heat.


Lake Vansjø unites the municipalities of Moss, Rygge, Råde, Våler and Vestby. With its countless coves, sounds, bends and islands, Lake Vansjø is a rare gem. The lake´s close proximity to urban areas makes it perfect for recreational activities like swimming, fishing, walking, paddling or camping out. Enjoy a day on the fjord with the gentle wash of the waves, the insistent cry of a seagull and the leisurely pace of a boat. Treat your family to an outing with activities like fishing, playing, cycling and a picnic under the open sky.


Moss & Rygge Golfclub is a golf course with 18 holes and a variation of difficulties. The course lies at Larkollen, approximately 8 km from Moss Center.



Picturesque location




After only a 10 minutes’ walk from the street in Moss city, you’ll find yourself on Jeløy Island, which many call "Oslofjorden’s pearl." The island is known for its rich cultural and farm landscapes, but the island should really just as known for its geologic wonders. Did you know that there is a time gap of more than 500 million years between the ancient bedrock on Jeløy and the younger on mainland Moss?

Hotel Refsnes Gods – A hotel in a class of its own

Jeløy brings out all of the best emotions in you. The beautiful scenery of lush farmland and the blissful views of the Oslofjord are breathtaking. The vibrant culture history takes you back to yesteryear with stately homes and landscape which are characterized by alleys, stone walls and gardens. There are large green spaces in the form of forests, as well as countless excursions to choose from. There are a number of really great beaches on the island, both child-friendly sandy as well as pebble beaches. Some of the beaches are very crowded, while others are great beaches you can have all to yourself, even on sunny days.


When you arrive in Jeløya, it’s not difficult to understand why this is the artists' island. The lighthouse and its views of the scenic cultural landscape and the sea are unique and inspirational. The island's cozy art galleries and studios are well worth a visit. Here you’ll find, among other things, a glass house that specializes in handmade glass art, crafts, interior and design shops, pottery, photo artists, a silversmith, florists, photographers, shoemakers, a guitar maker, a wallpaper shop, and clothing designers.

Cycling is definitely the ideal way to travel when on Jeløya. There are many narrow roads and paths that crisscross the whole island.

See Jeløy from the Coastal Trail

On the way out to Jeløya, you’ll easily be able to take the coastal path that starts at the canal bridge in the center of Moss. Jeløya offers such diverse experiences and has one of the country's finest stretches of coastal path. We recommend that you take your bike to Jeløya, simply to reach several of the attractions of one of Oslofjord’s largest and most intriguing islands.


The first part of the path on Jeløya is Southern Jeløy, an outstanding natural landscape. The path to the Southern Jeløy goes over the channel bridge - through Channel Park, past Sjøbadet, the town’s swimming beach in the heart of Moss. The trail goes along the roads and walkways. By Fiske Beach, we follow the trail along the streets to Vårli, while those who wish can walk along Fiske Beach and to the forest trail over the hill to Vårli. The coastal trail continues to Framnes where it runs into Southern Jeløy landscape, with meadows and mixed forests at Reiertangen.

A beautiful alley with stone walls leads up to Jeløy Radio.

The coastal path continues through a varied landscape between the manors with fields, stone walls, and a stunning archipelago nature and, at times, the path winds its way down to the water's edge. This lush and open landscape, the moraine that formed in Østfold for 10,000 years ago, created a completely different exuberance than in the rest of the country. The good earth is easily accessible and central location of the Oslo fjord trading route was probably the main reason why so many mansions were built in the region. The area of Jeløy and south was once a Manor County more than anything else. 25 percent of all the mansions in the country lay in this county, which at that time included Båhuslen. Beyond here the road went to the rest of continent. People spoke French and had great cultural exchange with foreign countries. Manors were great gathering places for political meetings and when Christiania Bohemians would have a festive party with the "beautiful people" and the high society. When you see the great manor houses today with the lush gardens, you’ll see how lively they were and how people danced and conversed.

Gallery F15

Gallery F 15 is one of the oldest and most traditional institutions for contemporary art in Norway.

A long and wonderful impressive alley with stone walls on both sides leads up to Alby Gård (Alby farm) that also houses the Gallery F 15. Gallery F 15 is one of the oldest and most traditional institutions for contemporary art in Norway. The institution was established in 1966 as the first gallery of its kind, and the name comes from the address Fossen 15 in Moss, the gallery's first location. There is also a cafe attached to the gallery. There you can buy the famous Alby cringle. Outside Gallery F 15 is a large garden / park where you can enjoy the amazing view over the fjord. The park is actually nice and cool on hot summer days. The gardens in front of the main building at Alby are quite unique among the traditional gardens. The conscious shaping of the terrain and the retaining wall in the south of the garden makes it so that the ground beneath becomes erased from view. At first glance, you might think the fjord reaches all the way up to the farm. This intentional illusion is a well-known tool in the traditional English garden art and of French baroque gardens. In the same retaining wall, a cave was used as a gazebo. In the old storehouse at Alby Gård is also the Nature House, the country's first nature center. The center was founded in 1985 and tells of Jeløy’s natural conditions.

A long and wonderful impressive alley with stone walls on both sides leads up to Alby farm that also houses the Gallery F 15.

Next door to Alby Gård, Røed Gård (Røed Farm) is not only of great interest in terms of architecture and styles. The couple Ruth and Knut Mamen has painstakingly restored the nearly 300 year old main building and developed the property into a diverse cultural workshop for various artisans and visual artists. Behind the main house is a landscaped park with a trout pond. It has both a bridge and a romantic gazebo. In the spring, the park is a beautiful sight with cherry blossoms and sheep grazing. Around the estate, you’ll find activities like a gallery, farm shop and a courtyard café. The farm is a major cultural center with art exhibitions, concerts and lectures. Summer concerts in the lush garden are described as magical. Many famous artists perform here every summer.


Traces of antiquity

From Alby, the coastal path to Albybukt Bay is in close contact with the sea until it reaches Bredebukt Bay. All of the latter stretch is surrounded by forest, and this stretch includes three good beaches along the trail. From Bredebukt, the path changes character to a more challenging and rugged, twisting, narrow path. At the same time, the scenery around you changes dramatically to more rugged terrain with rough and rugged rocks and mountains. In addition, there are a lot of mixed forests interspersed with some spooky thickets. The nature just becomes wilder and it's wonderful to find such a change from the more romantic start of the coastal path on Jeløy.

This more challenging route runs from Bredebukt via Stalsberget on the footpath on exciting rugged terrain. After you have hiked down the path to Stalsberget, it opens up a great pebble beach for you. The entire pebble beach is surrounded by steep landscape. Especially in this area at and around Stalsberget, you can find traces of the half billion year old bedrock.

The bedrock on Jeloy is of volcanic origin.

Jeløya, which is part of Moss Municipality, is approximately 20 square kilometers. 10 kilometers long and 4 kilometers at its widest. Geologically, the island is a sunken area in relation to the mountain on the mainland to the east.

The bedrock on Jeloy is of volcanic origin. Jeløy bedrock is from the Permian Period. There is a time gap of more than 500 million years between the ancient bedrock on Jeløya and the younger on the mainland in Moss. The large moraine covers the southern part of Jeløya and the isthmus canal.

When the ice retreated about 10,000 years ago, the land began to rise. This elevation is still ongoing. Both Rødsåsen and Reieråsen have sloping east side and steep slopes on the west side. This is a result of the ice and sea work. Along Stalsberget waves have created bowl-shaped depressions in the rock, known as jettegryter" or “potholes.”


Rich fauna

Forests dominated by herbaceous, coniferous forest, but there are also several stands of deciduous forest. Albyskog (the Alby forest) is behind many of the old beach fortifications damp depressions with alder woods. Otherwise, the area has buffer zones and sandy, pebble, and rocky beaches; each with its own distinctive vegetation communities. The great diversity of habitats and vegetation provide the corresponding variation in wildlife. In particular, insect fauna and many rare species are found here. Among butterfly enthusiasts, Jeløya is well known. Mammal species in this area are mostly come from other places: hedgehogs, foxes, badgers and deer. Bird life is prolific with a total of 185 identified species. Jeløya is conveniently located for bird migration in Outer Oslofjord. A long and continuous shoreline is an attractive feeding ground for migratory birds.

The island is known for its rich cultural and farm landscapes, but the island should really just as known for its geologic wonders.

Hotel Refsnes Gods

A short distance north of Stalsberget, the coastal trail follows along the lake until Tronvik. This distance is no longer challenging after you’ve gone on a wide dirt road. At the water's edge on Tronvik stands the lofty and special building, The Tronvik Torpedo Station. Tronvik Torpedo Station was established in 1916 and closed in 1980. The defense used the torpedo station for testing torpedoes. From Tronvik, there is a route to Lonin along the waterfront until Svaleveien where Hotel Refsnes Gods is. Refsnes Gods is known for its excellent cuisine and a well-stocked wine cellar - not to mention the unique art collection.

Discover the unknown part of Jeløya

Tronvik Torpedo Station

By Tronvik, the path ends, but that does not mean the fantastic hiking ends with the coastal path, quite on the contrary. Until now, the article has been describing just the southern part of Jeløya. Most of Jeløy landscape remains to be explored. Indeed, when the southern part of Jeloy is out of the way, there is still two-thirds of this beautiful and fertile island. Most of Jeløy northern areas consisting of more rugged terrain than in the south, and there is little settlement, but an incredibly great landscape. Lots of forest, but also open lots of meadows and fields.

The shore is undeveloped around most of the island, making it possible to freely walk around much of the island, where there are not too many hills. There are a number of easily accessible beaches all over the island, so there is almost always a beach that is sheltered from today's weather. Jeløya has one of the richest floras, including black eyes and mistletoe. On the island are several conservation areas and nature reserves as a result of the unprecedented nature.

Vestre Nes is a popular recreational area located northwest of the island. Vestre Nes Recreation Area is approximately 300 acres and was acquired for recreation area in 1974. The area is forested and has cliff, pebble, and sandy beaches. You’ll notice it by open the pine forest on shallow and dry ground. A very popular campground is located at the bathing bay Nesbukta, north of Nes.

From the top of Bjørnåsen, there are fantastic views of Oslofjord and the middle parts of Jeløy.

North of Nes, the landscape becomes quite powerful, and from Nes, you can see up to Jeløy’s highest peak, Bjørnåsen. The walk up to Bjørnåsen is highly recommended. You can get up to Bjørnåsen by following the road along the campground to Nesveien and follow this a little further north to a turn. Here you’ll find an excellent path into the woods, which comes with steep terrain through the forest including spruce, pine, linden, hazel and birch. From the top, there are fantastic views of Oslofjord and the northern and middle parts of Jeløy. Have a good trip!