Eidet, an old shortcut

If you are familiar with the Norwegian name Eid or Eidet, you may also be aware of the reason behind it. In Sarpsborg exists such a place.

I found the subject at an old traffic junction in the local area. I’m talking about «Eidet», just below the Eidet Inn, for those who remember it. It was in the bend by the old European route E6, about one kilometre from the hospital at Kalnes, in the Sarpsborg municipality. It had a panoramic view over the Visterflo lake, a part of the Glomma delta.

Eidet tunnel with the plaquette of king Haakon VII

This tunnel was established in 1909 for floating timber from Vestvannet lake to Visterflo lake. As a result, they avoided the Sarpefossen waterfall, which represents an obstacle on the Glomma, Norway’s biggest river.

That way, they provided timber for the many sawmills downstream, all the way to Fredrikstad and the ocean.

Then I will provide you with three photos of Visterflo lake before we move to the end of this story.

Since the Viking Age, and indeed long before that, boats were taken overland, right at this spot, precisely for the same reason – to get past the rough current above and below the Sarpefossen waterfall.

So here it has been a busy traffic point for time immemorial. The ancient Norwegian «highway» to Europe. Maybe with an inn, too, for all I know.

Almost in shuttle traffic, I imagine oxen pulling Viking ships on carts on the steep hill at Eidet. Back then, Norway had hardly any roads except for the waterways. So presumably, there must have been a lot of people and activity here.

The word «Eidet» derives from eid, an isthmus, which means a narrow part of the land between two watersheds. In older days, eid meant a place where you could pull your boat over land. Many sites throughout the country still have «Eid» in their name. «Eidskog» in Hedemark is one example.

Today «Eidet» is a calm and quiet place. But its name and these buildings bear witness to its former heydays. So I just had to paint it on a canvas.

Eidet. Acrylic on canvas 80 x 80 cm

Thank you so much for your company, and please feel free to read more on my blog. You can also subscribe if you wish to follow me. Sincerely,

Tom Thowsen