A well-kept oasis of history and culture

Here do I live, and I feel privileged to live here, next to Northern Europe’s best-preserved fortified town. Gamlebyen, as we call old town Fredrikstad.

Founded in 1567 by the Danish king Frederick II, this is Norway’s first renaissance town. And it has a strategic location in the delta of Glomma — Norway’s largest river. Not far away from the Oslo fjord, too. Or Sweden for that sake.

For me, as an author of articles and fiction books, is this environment a gold mine. Hence, I often stroll along these ancient walls. As a matter of fact, this is an oasis for many artists, and the town has a few galleries and cafes, well worth a visit.

The Fortified Bridge and the Glassworks Factory.
Photo: Tom Thowsen
Old Fredrikstad and Glomma river. Photo: Xalzlos (Wikipedia)
Sunset through one of the small gateways.
Photo: Tom Thowsen
One of the Portals.
Photo: Tom Thowsen

Thick walls of rocks and bricks, dark, narrow gateways, moats, and wooden bridges – once a robust defence system from the past, built after Dutch standards.

A section of a map from 1776
Along the walls by the riverside.
Photo: Tom Thowsen
The Main Gate.
Photo: Tom Thowsen

Fun with literature

A reused telephone booth where people can change books – the sign says: take a book, give a book.
Photo: Tom Thowsen

Since I am an author, I could not resist taking a picture of this funny little thing. Next time I make sure that it also contains at least one of my fiction novels. Perhaps the Sea Lion, where some of the action takes place in this town. During the Napoleonic wars in the 1800s.

Here is the current assortment of books. Photo: Tom Thowsen

More fun

This is a private home where the owner obviously had something to tell you and me.
Photo: Tom Thowsen

I do not know exactly what the person meant by this sign. Maybe not to take things too seriously. Humour is nonsense, it says.

Another private home with a creative soul.
Photo: Tom Thowsen

Art galleries and cafes

Some of the galleries and cafes. Photo: Tom Thowsen

These old military buildings serve today as art galleries and cafes. Under normal circumstances, there would be many people here. Sometimes even with musicians entertaining. But this photo is taken in early May, where the situation was influenced by the covid-19 restrictions.

Fancy ceramic art leading to the open door.
Photo: Tom Thowsen
One of the city’s clothing stores.
Photo: Tom Thowsen

Here you can apparently dress like a royal. Kong Fredriks damer, says the sign. King Frederick`s Ladies. Hm, quite impressive.

The town square.
Photo: Tom Thowsen

A statue of King Frederick II himself, throning high on his pedestal, in the midst of the town square, with a proud expression on his face. That old Dane! We owe him some gratitude and respect, I guess.

Photo: Tom Thowsen

There is an easy escape through one of these gates on the riverside for those who eventually get enough of all that ancient stuff. The modern Centre lies on the other side, and you can reach it by some ferries.

One of the ferries.
Photo: Tom Thowsen

The best thing about these ferries is that they are free. They take you right into the modern world in just a few minutes.
But I have only shown you a glimpse. There`s so much more.

Thank you so much, and please subscribe if you will join me on another trip.


Tom Thowsen