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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.



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Son is the






Son is called Norway's "northernmost southern town". It is easy to understand. Small white wooden houses along twisting streets is a characteristic feature of this coastal gem located along the sunny side of the Oslo fjord. In addition to its idyll, Son is also offering much history and exciting coastal culture. Did you know that the entire Oslo fjord was once named after little Son?

Visit Son – stay at Larkollen during your visit in Norway

Son is a densely populated place (6,000 inhabitants) by the Oslo fjord in the southern part of Vestby municipality in Akershus county. It is especially known for its old buildings from the Dutch period, with wooden houses and narrow alleys that give a distinctive look that one might associate with towns along the coast of southern Norway. It is therefore only natural that holiday makers multiplies the population in the summertime. And the numbers of visitors will probably not be any less in the years to come. The hotel Son Spa, which last winter was named 'Best Quality Resort 2010 in Scandinavia', has atrracted lots of tourists and other visitors to Son since its opening in 2008. The new spa facility is situated where Jack M. Iversen built his famous sailboats in the period between the two world wars.

Paradoxically bad economy was the reason why Son is one of the Oslo fjord's best preserved towns. Earlier they simply could not afford to demolish the old wooden houses. Today 200 houses are registered as preservable.

Three old trading houses are situated along the harbor. One of them is Thornegården from 1640. It is the second oldest building in the Oslo fjord and has an architecture characterized by both Renaissance and Barocque. If you go into the backyard you can see that it is a half-timbered house, clearly influenced by the Dutch style. Strolling along the Strandgaten you will find eccentric artists' houses and Little Skaugum. The latter house is rumoured to be a miniature copy of Skaugum before the fire. Spinnerigården, Stoltenberggården and Wollegården, all from the 1700s, are other listed buildings bearing witness of prosperity in Son's heyday. You can also admire imaginative reconstruction of old outhouses and barns.

Son Coastal Culture Center

Down by the harbor is Son Coastal Culture Center scattered in several buildings. Here you can visit an old fisherman's house and learn about faith and superstition among fishermen. The Center also has a forge house, seaside cottage, a museum pier for old wooden boats and a boat yard. The Coastal Culture Center also owns a fishing net dryer, one of the very few remaning ones in the fjord.

Son is a favored port and natural stopover for boaters. There are almost half a million recreational boats in Norway, and no country in the world has more boats per capita. In Son's harbor are more than 1,000 boats of different types and sizes, and there are also particularly many guest spots here. In other words, the port represents a large part of Son.

Son Seilforening (Son Sailing Association) has asserted itself for a long time as one of the Oslo fjord's most active sailing associations. It became famous after one of its members, Siren Sundby, won the gold medal in the Summer Olympics in 2004. Son Marina was also used as location for the TV series “Båtliv (Boat Life), which aired on NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corp.) in 2003. An important feature of the port in Son being one of the most attractive harbors in the Oslo fjord, is that it is relatively deep. This makes it easy to dock large sailboats at the pier in Son center.

On the town in Son

If you're going out to eat, Son is definitely the place. Son has several restaurants and eateries, art galleries and shops. From my stay in Son last summer in connection with collecting background material for this article, I still remember, 10 months later, that I should remind myself to recommend Son Kro in this article. When a restaurant offers the very best of service and food experiences, it is only proper to salute Son Kro. It is especially nice when food and service are top-notch, which is exactly what it was on this warm summer evening at Son Kro's terrace.

In Gallery Son's magnificent garden you can enjoy good drinks with a view to the throng of people on the beach promenade below. In the evenings a DJ often ensures a relaxed atmosphere by playing songs in the "chill out" category.

Artists love Son

Early in the 20th century Son became an artists' town. Celebrities like Nils Kjær, Ludvig Karsten, Herman Wildenwey, Ronald Fangen and the eccentric painter Karl Dørnberger were among those who settled here. Even today a number of famous artists live in Son, and there are several galleries here.

Beach lovers’ paradise

Son is a paradise for those who love the beach life. Son Beach is 200 meters from the town square and has rocks, a diving board, swimming ladders and a kiosk.

The Brevik bay is located in a particularly wonderful recreational area south of the spa hotel. Here are polished rocks facing south and west, excellent for sunbathing, a beach volleyall court, parking and toilets. Nordre Sauholmen is an excursion islet (located in the sound outside the spa hotel) with child-friendly sandy beaches. Nordre Sauholmen has many fine rocks with great fishing opportunities. If you throw out the line here, you run the "risk" of catching a fjord mackerel or a whiting. On the islet are several well-preserved sea sheds and old tan equipment for the preparation of fish nets. Here are good anchoring opportunities (no public pier) with mooring possibilities on the west and east sides of the islet.

Large area around Son is open for public recreation.

Trips in Son

With a rented horse and carriage, or a with a rowing boat, you can take a trip to the old lading site at Hølen. This trip is called a truly exotic experience. Or you could try the coastal culture trail to Hølen and Vardeåsen with a view of the fjord from Oscarsborg fortress to Færder lighthouse and four counties.

The hike to Kjøvangen is alone worth the experience of this vigorous avenue. Come visit when it is at its most beautiful in late May or early June.

North of Son is the public area Kjøvangen with a small pebble beach, rocks, grass areas and a pier with fishing opportunities. Widely used by locals. A Bronze Age burial mound is also in the area. Kjøvangen is a great hiking area; go past the ice dam Stamnestjernet and all the way to the top of Vardeåsen. From here you can see everything from Drøbak in the north to Bolærne (Sweden) in the south. After you have passed the golf course on your way to Kjøvangen, you'll be walking along one of the most beautiful avenues in the region. The hike to Kjøvangen is alone worth the experience of this vigorous avenue. Come visit when it is at its most beautiful in late May or early June.

The Angel Town

Drøbak has Santa Claus, Son has the angels. Its not just in the summer that Son buzzes with people and activity. The Lucia procession on December 13 is one of the biggest events in Son during the exciting Advent packed with activities. The summer town of Son offers lots of enjoyment for the whole family around the harbor area - even in winter: Cafes and restaurants have Christmas and angel menus. How about doing your Christmas shopping in Son? Angels in all shapes and sizes adorn the streets, square, shops, and restaurants.

The name Angel Town has its basis in Gallery Son's annual angel exhibition, which the gallery's owner, Marianne Helle, started 12 years ago. It is an exhibition with angels in all varieties; sweet, small, large, and angels full of character. When you arrive at Son in the winter you will now be greeted by angels with candles and with live lanterns outside shops and cafes. Amazingly evocative!

Zoon, Zoen, Soon or Son?

Did you know that the entire Oslo fjord was once named after little Son? The first maps of Norwegian coastal waters are of Dutch origin. There were several reasons for it. Firstly, the Dutch were skilled cartographers. Moreover, they imported large quantities of timber from Norway with their own ships.

One of the maps that has been preserved from this time is drawn by Lucas Janszon Waghenaer from Enkhuizen. It is reproduced in "Spiegel der Zeevaerdt", a sea atlas published in 1583. The map is small scale and covers the coast from Merdø via "Zoen Water" to Uddevalla (Sweden). Zoen Water was the Dutch name for the Oslo fjord. It was probably named after Son, which was an important lumber port. Lucas Janszon's map provides a rough simplified picture of the waters and only includes the largest islands and fjords.

The name Son is not verifiably explained by official place name research.

A prevailing view is that it has a river affiliation. The name is assumed to come from the river Saanen which runs through the neighboring parish Saaner, then to Hølen, further on to Son before it empties into Sonskilen with the name Hølenselva. The name has also been linked to the verb (to) sow, used for fish spawning and in this case meaning "spawning river". It has also been attached to the verb svona - svinne inn, minke (shrink, dwindle), so that the meaning becomes "the river that dwindles greatly when drought". In earlier times Son was also written Soon, Zoen, Zoon and Sogn. The latter spelling is considered to be based on a misunderstanding that the name stemmed from the word "sogn" (parish); it doesn't seem to have been used locally. "Son" became official spelling in 1891. Earlier "Soon" seems to have been used most often. Several businesses in Son use the spelling Soon if it is part of their company name.


Son is an ancient seaport by the Oslo fjord, between Hvitsten and Moss. The town had 586 inhabitants in 1920. Son was used as a harbor for Christiania (today Oslo) when the inner parts of the fjord was covered by ice. Son's heyday as a commerce center and shipping harbor started around 1550. First through the export of lumber, and until 1900 large quantities of wood materials were exported from Son, especially to England, the Netherlands and Denmark. Zoon Water is used as the name of the Oslo fjord on old Dutch maps. Shipowners opened business in Son. Many other businesses were established at the same time; lumber trading, tobacco spinnery, and licquor distillery. They all contributed to Son's prosperity in the late 1700s.

The town was an important lumber harbor already during the Dutch period from the end of the 1500s until well into the 1700s. The town received its customs rights in 1604. Customs revenues were large, and Tønsberg, Fredrikstad and later Moss tried to incorporate Son. In the 1670s Son had twice as much customs revenues as Moss. The population naturally grew in line with the prosperity growth. Several of the buildings in the city are from the glory days that followed, including the brick building Thornegården from 1641 and the timber buildings Stoltenberggården and Spinnerigården. The latter was named after Ove Meyer's Tobaksspinderi. Ove Meyer lived here from 1750. Son's growth stagnated after 1720, when Moss became a town. One could float timber to Moss from a far wider area around Vannsjø and Moss were thus able to offer somewhat better conditions.

During the last half of the 1800s the export of ice was also an important commodity for Son. Son got its own fleet of schooners in the 1800s, and 23 ships were domiciled there in the 1890s. However, by 1905 Son was no longer home for proud sailing ships. The fact that Son Sailing Association is one of the most active in the Oslo fjord today, is kind of a maritime continuation of history.

Early in the morning of April 9, 1940, after the German fleet heading for Oslo had been forced by Oscarsborg fortress to turn back, the ferry "Oscarsborg", also known as "Borgen", which shuttled between Son and Oslo, was hijacked by the cruiser "Lützow". Around 300 soldiers and officers boarded the ferry which docked at Son. Thus, the town square in Son was the first place where German soldiers set foot on Norwegian soil during the invasion, with the exception of those who had swum ashore from "Blücher". A total of about one thousand German troops were put ashore in Son during the day. On April 28, 1940 the Royal Air Force tried to bomb the fuel stockpiles at Laksa with phosporus bombs. They missed their target and no buildings were damaged, either. The town center was evacuated during the attack.

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Hvitsten is the Norwegian "equivalent" to Positano, Italy, where brick houses are virtually stacked on top of each other on the hillside seemingly diving into the ocean. The difference is that the houses "stacked upon each other" here are white wooden houses.

Hvitsen is located midway between Drøbak and Son. The village has two popular beaches, Hvitsten beach located in the Hvitsten's harbor bay, and Emmerstadbukta a couple of kilometers south of the village center.

Around the early 1900s Hvitsten and Emmerstad were popular among the Christiania Bohemians in the capital Oslo. Today the village has a mixture of locals and holiday home owners.

Kilde: Wikipedia


The archipelago of Fredrikstad stretches along the coast like a string of pearls. You don't have to travel far from the city to find charming fishing villages, Engelsviken is one of them. Engelsviken is famous for its fish soup, Summer Show, and with good places for swimming.

All photography provided by Visit Hvaler

This page is under construction. We are working hard to launch a new page about Engelsviken with new features. Stay tuned!


This is Oslo

Norway’s capital has one of the fastest-growing populations in Europe and as talented entrepreneurs, architects and designers flock here, Oslo Fjord Guide takes the temperature of this fast-changing city.

Oslo - Norway's capital - is centrally located in the heart of Scandinavia , bounded by the fjord and forested hills. Arriving Oslo by ship is a beautiful scenic experience, with all the small charming islands in the Oslofjord. The cruise port is situated in the heart of the city, in a great location right below Akershus fortress. This medieval castle and royal residence dates back to 1299 and it's a nice start for cruise passenger tours of Oslo.


History and Facts

In the 8th century, a settlement was built right at the top of the Oslo Fjord. This little Norwegian village grew rapidly during Viking times: agriculture, trade and shipbuilding were important commercial activities, and Oslo has truly earned its title of "Viking Capital".

Oslo was founded long after the town had been developed by the Vikings. According to the Viking sagas, the city of Oslo was founded by King Harald Hardråde in approximately year 1050 AD. More recent archeological findings, however, prove that the city was founded as far back as in 1000 AD. 

The founding of the city took place in the turbulent period between the Viking Age and Norway's Catholic Middle Ages.

Many remnants and ruins from Ancient Oslo can be found in the Memorial Park. The city had a fascinating, interesting and dramatic history. Oslo´s population was substantially reduced during the time of the Black Death in 1348 which claimed over 50% of the inhabitants. This epidemic also had political consequences for Norway, which became reduced to a province of Denmark. During this period Copenhagen was the actual capital of Norway.

Oslo was also greatly affected by the Lutheran-Protestant Reformation of 1537, with religious conflicts, political separation from the Catholic Church and the foundation of a Protestant National Church. Many ruins of churches and monasteries (for example Cistersienserklosteret - the Cistercian Abbey - at Hovedøya) bear witness to this process.

Oslo was completely destroyed by fire in 1624. The Renaissance King, Christian IV of Denmark and Norway, decided to move Oslo from what we today call the Old Town, and rebuild it under the protective shadow of Akershus Festning (Akershus Fortress). Following intense renewal work and advanced city planning in the spirit of the Renaissance, a completely new city was created and named Christiania in 1624.

After 1814 Norway was united with Sweden, and Christiania experienced very strong economic and political growth with substantial expa sion right up until the dissolution of the union with Sweden and independence in 1905. After the celebration of the 300th anniversary of Christiania in 1924, it was decided that the original name of Oslo was to be re-instated as of January 1,1925.

The capital of Norway is situated in the inner end of the about 100 km long Oslofjord. The fjord and surrounding forested hills make a magnificent scenery. 

Oslo city's reference points are 59°55"N and 10°45"E, as far north as, for example, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, the northerly part of Kamchatka, Anchorage in Alaska and Kap Farvel in Greenland. Its area covers 454 km2 (175 sq miles), with 242 km2 (93 sq miles) of forest, 8 km2 (3 sq miles) of parkland and recreational areas, and some 40 islands and 343 inland lakes.


Even though the city is situated so far north, its climate is temperate in the autumn and warm in spring and summer. There is usually snow for 3 to 5 months of the winter, and skiing conditions are good in the hills around Oslo between December and April. 

From May to July the weather can be quite warm with long periods of sunshine. Drought can also occur from time to time. This is due to Oslo’s northerly position, well protected by the mountains from Atlantic rainfall, and favourable help it receives from the Gulf Stream. Statistically speaking, Oslo is Scandinavia’s sunniest capital.


Oslo is the capital of Norway with 586. 860 inhabitants (01.01.2010). That is over 10% of the country's total population. About one third of the total population of the country lives in the Oslo Fjord area


Some places in this world are like an exciting box of chocolates, wrapped in layers upon layers and filled with delicious surprises. Fredrikstad is one such place. No matter how many times you come here, there is always something new to explore in the largest city in Østfold county. 
Read about the Old Town, Fredrikstad's main Tourist Attraction


Adventurous City

  Fredrikstad has rich seafaring traditions through several hundred years.   
Fredrikstad has rich seafaring traditions through several hundred years. 

Fredrikstad enjoys the luck of having the river Glomma running thorugh the city. The river is split by the Kråkerøy island before it empties into the Oslo fjord. The city's nice location is helping to raise the number of attractions and activities that Fredrikstad has to offer.

  A trip with the Ferry in Fredrikstad is free of charge  
A trip with the Ferry in Fredrikstad is free of charge

Have you by the way found the time to take your family to see Europe's best preserved fortress? Here you can also visit Scandinavia's largest model railway center, or let the kids romp between cannon or oak trees on the grass-covered ramparts here. The walls back home may need to be re-decorated with lusty artwork - the Old City is packed with great art galleries and studios. And just a few hundred yards outside the fortress city you can enjoy a game of golf in a stunning landscape with the Kongsten castle as a backdrop.

Fredrikstad is definitely one of Norway's most beautiful cities. You're immediately grabbed by its atmosphere. The people, the swarm and the closeness are three keywords for the cozy wooden city. Whether you are shopping or having a good bite to eat, everything is within a comfortable walking distance.

  The Old Town  
The Old Town

Especially in the summer, there is a buzzing atmosphere in Fredrikstad. For a vibrant holiday vibe, head to the harbor promenade, where, especially in the summer, you can get a bag of prawns on the boardwalk or have yourself a good night out at one of the bars that line the harbor promenade. No wonder, then, that the city‘s “anthem“ is titled “Summer is wonderful in Fredrikstad“.


It happens in Beautiful Fredrikstad:

   Dragons of all colors and shapes, happy and eager children with their equally eager parents visit the Dragon Festival on Isegran in August.  
 Dragons of all colors and shapes, happy and eager children with their equally eager parents visit the Dragon Festival on Isegran in August.

Every summer is buzzing with delightful life, but this year's summer will probably be pulsating heavier than ever before. Few Norwegian cities can boast a taller summer menu than Fredrikstad. Here we'll only mention a handful of the good stuff that's going to happen this summer. Please see What's On for the complete list.

Fredrikstad is the place to be for shows, theatrical performances and concerts at venues all over the city, not to mention all the artists who each year are drawn to this beautiful city by Glomma's outlet.

  Fredrikstad is proud to be the best preserved fortress town in Scandinavia.  
Fredrikstad is proud to be the best preserved fortress town in Scandinavia.

Østfold's biggest festival, Glommafestivalen, takes place from the end of July until the first days of June as usual. This is a family festival where almost all events are free. Glommafestivalen has always focused on water because the river Glomma, which runs through the city, has been important for the development of the city. Top artists will perform during the festival, and among other activites are the River Duel, boat parade and the Cardboard Boat Race with the most creative craft you have ever seen, and all of them are made from cardboard!

Fredrikstad has rich seafaring traditions through several hundred years. On the island Isegran you can learn more about the city's maritime history at the Maritime Center shipyard. They specialize in re-creating wooden boats used in earlier times, and the Fredrikstad Museum has a special section on Isegran showing a maritime section in the navy's old mines storage room. Isegran also hosts a wooden boat festival with a regatta around Kråkerøy island. Dragons of all colors and shapes, happy and eager children with their equally eager parents visit the Dragon Festival on Isegran in August. See our cultural calendar for furher information, date and time for the Dragon Festival. The Literature Festival takes place in the beginning of September. Almost all of Norway's most prominent authors and quite a few of their international colleagues attend. 

  Trend-setting restaurants and vibrant nightclubs next to idyllic archipelago.       
Trend-setting restaurants and vibrant nightclubs next to idyllic archipelago.


There's no denying that the real "jewel in the crown" in Fredrikstad is the Old Town (Gamlebyen). The fortress city and Norway's first renaissance city with its lovely and rustic exterior has a unique and magnetic attraction for tourists, and is one of Norway's most visited tourist destinations. The Moon Festival (Månefestivalen) is held during the last weekend of July. This festival is very popular among Norwegian concert-goers, mainly because of the special atmosphere and surroundings in the Old Town, but also due to the jovial and charming way the citizens of Fredrikstad welcome the festival visitors.



Archipelago and Swimming


Beautiful roads lead from the city center into the archipelago: both to the south, west and north of Fredrikstad. The Fredrikstad coastline, where nature always changes with the seasons, is certainly something you should experience when visiting Fredrikstad. Indeed, if you choose not to visit Fredrikstad’s stunning and beautiful archipelago, you'll only get to know the city half-way.

You should indulge in a boat trip while in Fredrikstad. Several boat services offer tours of the area, even all the way to Strømstad, Sweden, if that's your desire. Fredrikstad has more than 40 beaches and places where you can swim. The Fredrikstad archipelago is among the most beautiful in Scandinavia. Fredrikstad's coastline consists of more than 1,000 islands and reefs. There are two lighthouses, Struten and Strømtangen, in the inlet to Fredrikstad. Both offer the possibility for tourists to stay overnight. Hankø is probably Fredrikstad's best known island and resort. Hankø is regarded as the Mecca of sailing, and the most fashionable holiday resort in the Oslofjorden basin. Here, both royalty and other celebrities enjoy the summer alongside other people. By the way, did you know that Hankø is one of Norway's oldest resorts and that it was used for classic summer vacations as early as in the late 1800's. Read more here about the Hankø island -->

The Old Town (Gamlebyen)

The Old Town is very close to downtown Fredrikstad - just two minutes away with the town ferry across Glomma, and you'll find yourself in one of the world's best preserved fortress cities. The Old Town has an almost magnetic atrraction for visitors. Here you walk on cobblestone streets, soaking in impressions from exciting views of the empire-inspired blocks of brick buildings and colorful wooden houses. Here are a number of personal and unique shops in a cozy 1700s environment where small shops and second-hand stores lie side by side with all the galleries and cafés.

 Market in The Old Town every saturday, all year around. 
Market in The Old Town every saturday, all year around.

In the Old Town you can visit the Fredrikstad Museum, the Glass Hut, the Jorunn Bråthen Pottery, art galleries, the Art Center Bastion 5, the Whaling Museum, the Model Railway Center and the Santa Night House, where Christmas products are sold all year long.

The Fortress Path (festningsløypa) is a walk that takes you to places and buildings where you can learn a lot about the everyday life in a fortress and national military historical events. Along the way are numbered signs to follow while reading the self-guiding map. The length of the walk is approximately 2 kilometres and the time to finish the trip is calculated to about an hour and a half at strolling pace.

You may feed the ducks, study the birdlife in the moat, take a ferry ride to Gressvik and back, bring a guidebook and study the city and visit the free market on Saturdays. There is a playgound for children, several restaurants and daily guided tours in the summertime. We highly recommend that you catch a guided tour in historical surroundings once you've made it to the Old Town of Fredrikstad.

The History

The Old Town is the oldest part of Fredrikstad. It was founded on the 12th of September 1567 on the east side of Glomma, where the river splits into two courses. King Frederick II signed the city founding letter and Fredrikstad became the first Norwegian city founded since the Middle Ages, and the first to be named after the king by the king's permission. It is a fun oddity that King Fredrik himself never visited the city he lent his name to, but he sits proudly on his pedestal in the town square, nonetheless.

The background for the founding of Fredrikstad in 1567, was a Swedish attack and torching of the city of Sarpsborg the same year during the Nordcic Seven Years War. Sarpsborg's exposed location led the citizens to ask King Frederick's permission to rebuild the city closer to Glomma's outlet. They felt that it would be easier to defend the city here and at the same time provide good living conditions for the citizens.

When Norway lost the Bohuslen area with the Bohuslen fortress to Sweden in 1658,  Fredrikstad was an important border town. The construction of a brand new fortress commenced in 1663, based on blueprints by the dutch engineering officer Willem Coucheron. Fredrikstad became the army's main supply base and training center in the South of Norway.

Star-Shaped Fortress System

Fredrikstad is one of three Norwegian cities that have been fortified, and the only one where the fortifications are still intact. Fredrikstad Fortress was built according to the old-Dutch system, with wide water-filled moats and deep earth walls. The fortress has three full and two half bastions on its land side and protruding star spikes with room for cannon.

The ravelins lie in the moats, and outside the fortress are advanced fortifications like the Kongsten Fortress. Towards the river the fortifications consist of a solid stone wall reinforced with earth walls. The entrance to the fortress was across the Vinde bridge and through the Voll gate, or through one of the gates towards the docks on the Glomma waterfront.

200 Years Without Attacks

We should be grateful that it's been 200 years since the Old Town was subject to shelling from an alien invading force. That one of the best preserved fortress cities is so idyllic today, is because Fredrikstad Fortress has avoided actions of war for the past 200 years.

In contrast to the Fredriksten Fortress in Halden, Fredrikstad Fortress has a less glorious war history. The fortress was attacked only once, in August 1814. The fortress was old, in poor condition and weakly manned. It took Crown Prince Karl Johan Bernadotte just a few hours of bombardment before the fortress surrendered.

It should be mentioned in this context that the Fredrikstad Fortress was not attacked for 150 years after it was built. It is therefore fair to assume that it had a deterring effect on the neighboring country in the east. Not even King Carl XII dared to attack the city, despite the fact that he had troops nearby and also despite the fact that the fortress restrained the river and its importance as a communication