Drøbak – Sarpsborg
Date: 22 May 2016
Distance: 163 km
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Welcome to Drøbak and Frogn
Whether you are here as a tourist or a competitive cyclist, Frogn has endlessly much to offer. Here you will find one of Norway’s most idyllic harbor towns surrounded by a varied and intriguing landscape.
No one knows how far Frogn’s history goes back. But the area is rich with archaeological findings that suggest the area was widely populated in the Stone Age. The name Frogn stems from the Old Norwegian word Fraun, which means “fertile soil”. This bears witness to the area’s long and rich agricultural history. On April 9, 1940, the German war ship Blücher was shot down from Oscarsborg Fortress in the Battle of Drøbak Sound. This dramatic incident marked the start of the WWII in Western Europe.
Start your visit in Drøbak with a walk through the city’s picturesque scenery with old wooden houses and beautiful flower gardens. The old town square is the natural meeting spot. During summer it is filled with life and smallscale vendors selling antiques, artisan art and local food. Just beneath the town square lies the city harbor. Here you can buy fish and prawns right off the boats or just have a nice stroll along the promenade.
By the harbor you can see an oddly shaped wooden building with a small water tower and two chimneys. This is the university’s marine biologic field station. In Drøbak Aquarium you can explore the intriguing marine life in the nearby ocean through a collection of 24 saltwater aquariums. The beautiful old park is the place for fun and activities in the city centre. Bring the kids to the playground or have a cheerful match at the sand volleyball court. Right by the city centre you can take a bath or even a dive right into the Drøbak Strait. Among the many paths you can find a small café and an art gallery. And did you know that Santa Claus actually lives in Drøbak? Yes, it’s true! Come visit his house and personal mail office!
Be inspired by the small appetizers here to seek further information at www.frogn.kommune.no www.visitdrobak.no or the local Tourist Office.
Moss is an exciting town on the east bank of the Oslo Fjord. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, it also boasts beaches and marinas, a dynamic cultural life, important historical sites, well-preserved ancient manor houses and monuments. It has a population of 32.000 and borders on Vestby to the north, Våler to the east and Rygge to the south. Moss gained its town charter in 1720, and will therefore celebrate its 300th year in 2020.
Moss is both a transport hub and a cultural and commercial centre for the surrounding region. Situated close by the E6, it is only a short drive from both Oslo and Sweden, car ferries to Horten ply the Oslo Fjord, there is a busy train station connecting the town to international networks and one can fly from Moss Airport at Rygge to a host of European destinations.
The town is renowned as a centre for industry and commerce, one of the oldest in Norway and today highly diversified. Many people are attracted to live in the region because of the vibrant cultural life of the town. In many parts of the municipality there are heritage sites, nature reserves and hiking areas, and beautiful spots such as Jeløy, Mossmarka and Vansjø really have to be experienced.
The town coat of arms: the golden crow
‘A golden crow against a red field’
The town’s coat of arms is designed by Christian Stenersen. Inhabitants of Moss have long been nicknamed ‘crows’.
Moss received its town charter in 1720, but for many years did not have an official coat of arms. It was usual for local dignitaries to use their private seals. An early civic seal showed a church with clouds above. In the 1820s a new version was designed with six birds flying round the church tower. According to legend these birds had sounded a warning when the church tower was on fire, but the story can be dated to the 1880s, long after the seal was taken into use. These birds were often referred to as crows and so, when a new coat of arms was being prepared in the 1930s, it was suggested that the crow should be a town symbol. After all, zoologists describe the crow as an intelligent bird that knows how to feather its nest.
The history of Moss
With its waterfall and ideal location by the sea, it is not surprising that there is evidence of Moss having had watermills and timber production from its earliest days. People settled and worked around the watercourse flowing down from Vansjø, and industries flourished by the harbours.
Vansjø is a freshwater lake lying across several municipal boundaries. It has its outlet in the Moss river (Mosselva) where the waterfall supplied mills and sawmills with power. The Moss waterfall (Mossefossen), once the basis of the town’s growth as an industrial centre, is today exploited for hydro-electricity. Vansjø provides much of the region with its drinking water.
The timber trade was the foundation of the town’s prosperity. In 1856 a canal (Mossekanalen) was opened up between the mainland and the island of Jeløy, making it possible to bring vessels into the heart of the town. In the early nineteenth century the town was renowned for its alcohol production and iron foundries. The largest mills came in the 1860s.
Moss Verft (shipyard) and the shipbuilding industry, established in 1870, was active until 1987 and historically was one of the largest employers in the region. In the mid-1970s it was still the town’s largest employer with a workforce of 1.086.
In the middle of the last century, Moss was one of Norway’s leading industrial centres, with hundreds of businesses, large and small. Many of them produced brands that were household names throughout the country, and even abroad.
Moss Church was built in neo-Gothic style in 1861. It is constructed in brick and seats 500. The architects were Heinrich Ernst Schirmer and Wilhelm von Hanno. It is the parish church for the Parish of Vestre Borgesyssel, in the Diocese of Borg.
The foundry (Verket) in Moss
Moss Jernverk (foundry) was established in 1704. For many years it was the largest employer in the area. Iron ore was brought from the Arendal Field, smelted with the power from the Moss waterfall, and turned into a variety of iron products. From the mid-eighteenth century the foundry was the main supplier of armaments in Norway and made hundreds of heavy cannon in iron. The country’s first rolling mill for iron production was installed here.
The administrative building of the Moss foundry, the so-called Konvensjonsgården (Convention House), is known for its part in Norwegian history: it was here a peace treaty between Norway and Sweden was ratified in 1814.
In the mid-nineteenth century the foundry faced stiffening competition from Swedish and British foundries, as well as spiralling costs for charcoal. The foundry was closed in 1873, eventually being sold to the paper manufacturer M. Peterson & Sønn, who were active here until the company’s bankruptcy in 2012.
The Moss Convention of 1814
The administrative building of the Moss foundry, the so-called Konvensjonsgården (Convention House), is known for its part in Norwegian history. On 17 May 1814 Norway’s founding fathers ratified the Norwegian Constitution and took the Danish Christian Frederik as the King of Norway. Sweden could not accept an independent Norway and on 27 July 1814 went to war with its neighbour. Negotiations for a peace treaty and an independent Norway began in Moss on 10 August and the treaty was ratified on 14 August. King Carl John accepted the Constitution.
It was this convention that secured for Norway its liberal Constitution, brought peace to Scandinavia and laid the foundation for Norway being recognised as a sovereign state. With the Moss Convention, the way was open for the final chapter of 1814, the establishment of the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, which led to the choice of Carl XIII as Norwegian monarch and the etablishment of a union between Sweden and Norway.
Møllebyen (The Mill Town) and Mossemøllene (The Mills of Moss)
Møllebyen, by the waterfall, was the focal point of the town’s first industrial epoch, and retained this status right up to 1970. Møllebyen was the old centre of the town. Most buildings were active mills, but there was also other activities. The first municipal waterworks was built here in 1876 and Moss Brewery produced its famous malt extract and beer here from 1838 to 1997. The beer recipes have been taken good care of and are now used by Berentsens Brewery in Egersund.
The old building complex of Møllebyen has now been restored and given life to vibrant cultural communitites, with cafés, galleries, a library, a state-of-the-art cinema complex, Moss Town and Industry Museum and Moss Brewery Museum. Møllebyen was awarded the national Award for Building Excellence in 2003.
Jeløy is one of the largest islands in the Outer Oslo Fjord, and is part of Moss. It is renowned for its many beaches, listed buildings, boat sport and art galleries. Galleri F 15 at Alby is a gallery that has an international reputation, as also has the festival of contemporary art, Momentum. On the island there are several large manor farms, approached by long and elegant avenues, including Reier, Alby, Grønli, Torderød, Kubberød and Rød, also Grimsrød Farm, which was hired for several years by Edvard Munch, and Refsnes Gods, which is now a hotel. If one explores Jeløy by following its coastal paths, one will discover one of the richest flora in the country.
Kongens gate – The King’s Road – was originally part of the Royal Road from Norway’s capital, then called Christiania, to Copenhagen. It was also part of the main highway from Oslo to Sweden until 1961, when it was superceded by the E6.
Fredrikstad is the sixth largest town in Norway with a population of 79 000. It was founded by King Frederik II when Norway was under Danish rule, after the Swedes had burnt the nearby town of Sarpsborg to the ground. Fredrikstad celebrates 450 years in 2017.
One of the intriguing things about the town is that the river, sea, woods, farmland and vibrant town centre can be found in such close vicinity. The distances are short between a walk in the forest, a stroll past the downtown restaurants of the Quayside Promenade and a cruise around the archipelago just outside Fredrikstad.
People above the age of 13 years in Sarpsborg and Fredrikstad account for some 16 000 bike journeys every day.
There are several interesting bike rides in the Fredrikstad region. Glommastien (The Glomma Trail) is a 35 kilometer path running between the town of Fredrikstad and Sarpsborg along the banks of Norway’s longest river, the Glomma. Along the trail you will experience the vibrant river culture of Fredrikstad. You’ll pass great fishing spots, harbours full of boats and of course some ‘feed stations’ if you are in need of refreshment. The path also takes you through Northern Europe’s best preserved fortified town.
In Fredrikstad’s Old Town (Gamlebyen) – which is Northern Europe’s best preserved fortified town – you can walk the cobbled lanes and alleyways between quirky little shops and cosy cafeterias while soaking in the history. The Old Town market square hosts an outdoor market on Saturdays where children sell their old toys, you can buy all sorts of curiosities and perhaps an antique treasure or two. You can also walk on the huge fortress walls built around the Old Town and look at the old cannon that were intended to defend us from the Swedes.
A lot of people in Fredrikstad continue cycling to work throughout winter, despite frozen earth and sub-zero temperatures. The local council has sponsored special winter tyres for people who wish to ride their bike in winter. In cooperation with local bike shops, they have ensured that enthusiastic cyclists can change to studded bike tyres free of charge.
Fredrikstad’s town ferry takes people across the river free of charge. This is a great shortcut for cyclists and pedestrians on their way to work or school, and an exciting little river cruise for visitors.
Fredrikstad Stadium, the home of Fredrikstad Football Club (FFK), opened in 2007. It is located between two of the old shipbuilding yards. In the 60s and 70s this area hosted a large shipbuilding yard with over 2000 employees. The yard closed in 1988 and the area, once a closed-off industrial site, became a vibrant part of the city centre. You can now find Østfold University College here, top-of-the-range health facilities, shops, pubs and modern apartments overlooking the town.
Fredrikstad has several famous Norwegian industrial designers and entrepreneurs, including Bård Eker (Hydrolift boats and the Koenigsegg car) and Wik & Walsøe fine porcelain.
The famous Norwegian explorer of polar regions, Roald Amundsen, is from Fredrikstad. The Tour of Norway passes not far from his birthplace and childhood home.
Fredrikstad also played a very important part in the life of Edvard Munch, artist of one of the world’s most famous paintings, The Scream. His mother and foster aunt were born in Fredrikstad, and his parents married here in 1861. In 1888, when he came to visit his grandfather, he sailed to the island Hankø in the sea just outside Fredrikstad. This was where he painted Notbindere
Harald Zwart, film director of the 2010 remake of Karate Kid, featuring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, grew up in Fredrikstad. In all his films he makes sure to include a background prop representing his home town football team, FFK. He also makes sure to bring the big Hollywood stars back to Fredrikstad to walk the red carpet on gala opening nights. Yes, Will Smith has walked the red carpet in Fredrikstad!
Fredrikstad has about 160,000 acres of arable land, of which 80% is used for grains. Most farmers in the region farm part-time and have other sources of income.
Fredrikstad has a vibrant cultural scene. It is often referred to as The Festival Town, hosting among others Månefestivalen (The Moon Festival) and the literature festival Ord i Grenseland (Words Along the Border). The town also boasts a Literature Centre and several concert halls.
The world’s largest tall ships regatta, The Tall Ships Races, has been held in Fredrikstad in 2005 and 2014, and plans are afoot to bring the sailing ships back to the town in 2019.
Fredrikstad Cinema has been voted Cinema of the Year in Norway on 14 occasions, including last year. Renowned film director Harald Zwart is from Fredrikstad.
Other famous names from Fredrikstad:
- Art: Bendik Riis
- Music: Egil Hovland, CC Cowboys, Fred Ball
- Literature: Jan-Erik Fjell, Thore Hansen, Lisa Aisato
- Theatre: Dennis Storhøi, Petronella Barker
Sarpsborg, Saint Olaf’s town, is 1000 years old
One of the oldest towns in Norway celebrates its 1000th year in 2016 with an anniversary programme of more than 120 events across the cultural spectrum.
In 1016 a Viking longboat, under the command of King Olaf Haraldsson, sailed up the river Glomma. After some kilometres the men had brought their ship under a huge waterfall known to them as ‘Sarpr’. Unable to sail further, they went ashore and discovered that this was just the site they were looking for. A thousand years after Olaf founded his town, Sarpsborg is celebrating its status as the third oldest town in Norway. The river and the waterfall have always been vital to the town’s prosperity. Its history is one of timber mills and timber export, fine manor farms, large industry and hydro-electricity. The county hospital has recently been moved to the town, bringing with it 5000 jobs.
The civic destination company, isarpsborg, and the town council have put together a fantastic year of celebration, with the principal focus on six main events. The official anniversary day and party is 29/30 July 2016. In March the Kulås Sprint brought the world’s best cross-country skiers to the town. The Festival Week , 3–12 June, will be a cultural extravaganza. In addition, the programme includes two spectacular New Year celebrations, and much more. In all, over 120 events for every age and taste. The principal aim of the celebration is to stimulate pride in the town, so that Sarpsborg will be an even better place for the inhabitants to live and work in, and even more stimulating for our visitors to experience.
An anniversary party got the whole year rolling on New Year’s Eve, with 13.000 people crowded into Sarpsborg Town Square. Since then pretty much every event has been sold out. On Sunday 22 May the final stage of the Tour of Norway will be held, with the finishing line in Sarpsborg. For the whole town this is a great honour and it will show itself from its very best side that day, with crowds of onlookers lining the route and the town centre.
For more information about the Sarpsborg anniversary: www.sarpsborg21016.no
Science – on two wheels
Sarpsborg is the home of Norway’s most enterprising science centre: INSPIRIA. This space age building outside the town is a triumph of modern thinking about ways to experience and to teach science, maths and technology. Here the experience is all ‘hands on’ – learning by experimenting, alone and with others. The main focus of attention at INSPIRIA are these areas: energy, environment, space and health. The centre opened in 2012 and is today a unique arena for scientific journeys of discovery. Families, tourists and school classes all come here to learn something about the scientific world in the most entertaining and instructional manner possible. The centre has some 70 interactive activities, including a TV studio where you can read the weather forecast, and a planetarium where you can ‘boldly go’ into outer space.
This summer INSPIRIA opens a cycle track around the outside of the building. It will be a track fully equipped with traffic light junctions, roundabouts, T-junctions and pedestrian crossings, and visitors will be able to hire bikes for the day. In the weekends it will open for everyone to use and is intended as a creative contribution to INSPIRIA’s campaign to make everyone more aware of our responsibility for the environment. In the future, 2-wheeled transport will be ever more important in our society, and INSPIRIA is determined to be at the forefront of this advance.
Cycling by the river
There are several interesting bike rides in the Sarpsborg region. Glommastien (The Glomma Trail) is a 35 kilometer path running between the town of Sarpsborg and Fredrikstad along the banks of Norway’s longest river, Glomma. While cycling this trail you can experience the vibrant river culture of the Glomma. You’ll pass great fishing spots, harbours full of boats and of course some ‘feed stations’ if you are in need of refreshment. The path also takes you through Northern Europe’s best preserved fortified town – Fredrikstad’s Old Town.
A 1000 years – a 1000 experiences
In Sarpsborg you are spoilt for choice, if you want to get out into the open air and experience nature and the environment. The proud and ancient history of the town is being celebrated in this year, a 1000 years after the town was founded by Viking king, Olaf Haraldsson – later Saint Olaf, whose shrine was one of the most sites most visited by pilgrims throughout the Middle Ages. But don’t lose sight of the fact that it is a town in energetic development: From Saga to Science, as we like to say. Yes, we have Norway’s most stimulating Science Centre – read about INSPIRIA above! But we also have some of Europe’s most jaw-dropping rock carvings from the Bronze Age, we have handfuls of churches from the Middle Ages, stunningly beautiful manor farms, museums, parks and forests.
For everyone interested in seeing the world from a bicycle seat, Sarpsborg is an Eldorado. Our coast stretches across 80 kilometres, there are huge forest areas with well-signposted trails, skiing trails and alpine slopes to suit every taste and ability. In summer the population moves out to the coast, for here you are quickly and completely absorbed by the unspoilt maritime environment, with relaxed boating activities and wonderful and secluded beaches.
Sport and physical activity is given primary focus by the municipal council. Sarpsborg is famous for its national achievements in football and ice hockey, but most of our civic investment in sport is in nurturing a love of the outdoors and in physical activity in our schoolchildren. A large and growing cycling community is in evidence everywhere in our region.