Fredrikstad is a municipality in the province of Østfold in Viken county in eastern Norway. It has 82,000 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2020). It is thus Østfold's largest, Eastern Norway's third largest city and Norway's seventh largest municipality in terms of population.

Fredrikstad is often characterized as Norway's first Renaissance city (see Renaissance), with blocks bounded by streets laid out in a regular pattern. Fredrikstad municipality's area is 559 square kilometers. It borders in the north to Råde, in the east to Sarpsborg and in the south to Hvaler.

The urban community Fredrikstad and the urban community Sarpsborg are statistically often considered the urban area and the double city Fredrikstad / Sarpsborg, which had 116,373 inhabitants as of 1 January 2020. 68,876 of these live in the part of Fredrikstad municipality that is an urban area. The town of Fredrikstad is located at the mouth of the Glomma.



Fredrikstad was founded in 1567 by King Frederik II of Denmark and Norway. It happened during the Nordic Seven Years' War. During this war between Denmark-Norway and Sweden, the Swedes burned Sarpsborg, which King Olav the Holy had founded in 1016. The population of the burnt city therefore wanted to make the new city less vulnerable to future attacks. In 1569, the new name "Fredriksstad", named after the king, was used after the old "Sarpsborg". Therefore, the founding of Fredrikstad can be seen as a rebuilding of Sarpsborg. The Gleng area, where the old town had been located, was legally and administratively added to Fredrikstad.

In addition, Fredrikstad at about the same time got its own Latin school in line with the Oslo Latin school, later called Fredrikstad higher general school. Until 1567, there had probably been such a school in Sarpsborg. At the king's death in 1588, it was the then principal of the Latin school, Jacob Jacobsen Wolf, who held the obituary over him, an obituary Wolf himself had written. In the 17th century, the city gained increasing military strategic importance due to geopolitical conditions (see below).

During the Great Nordic War (1700–1721), the archipelago fleet was based in Fredrikstad from 1709. It was under the command of Admiral Peter Wessel Tordenskiold (1690–1720). Halden was a charging station under Fredrikstad until 1665, and Moss was a charging station under Fredrikstad from 1670 to 1720. Gleng was part of Fredrikstad from 1567 to 1825, while the Sarpsborg area was part of Fredrikstad until 1839. The restoration of Sarpsborg took place partly on Fredrikstad's expense.

Despite the city's importance as a defensive structure, the population remained low, around 2,000 inhabitants, until the Swedes' invasion and occupation (in 1814–1815). During this occupation, the Moss Convention was signed by Sweden's then Crown Prince Karl Johan in Fredrikstad. The abolition of sawmill privileges in 1860 led to Fredrikstad's most important period of growth. In a relatively short time, the small trading and shipping town was transformed into one of the country's most significant industrial towns with industries related to sawmills and brickyards as the most important industries. Due to this, Fredrikstad was nicknamed "Plankebyen". Later, the stone industry and mechanical workshops also became very important for Fredrikstad's growth. The city's population doubled, and urban settlements spread to adjacent areas in the neighboring municipalities. In 1964, Glemmen became part of Fredrikstad. Thirty years later, in 1994, Borge, Kråkerøy, Onsøy and Rolvsøy became part of Fredrikstad.

Along the banks of the Glomma, one constantly encounters Fredrikstad's history through brickworks and sawmills, which usually lay side by side. Narnte brickworks on Selbak, for example, once delivered the red brick in which the university buildings on Blindern in Oslo are built. Another example is Valle Bruk on Rolvsøy. Nylende is located in the municipal part of Rolvsøy. The name Nylende comes from the Norse nýlenda which means «new land», meaning newly cultivated land or new place of residence. Hans Nielsen Hauge, nationally known as a lay preacher and industrial entrepreneur, comes from Hauge on Rolvsøy. On Rolvsøy you will today find Østfoldhallen, where a number of sports activities are conducted. In recent times, it has been renamed Østfoldhallene, as several shops have been established in the same area. This was previously a large open landscape, but has since become a large commercial area. Three Viking ships have been found on Rolvsøy: Valleskipet, Rostadskipet and Tuneskipet.

Today's center is located on the west side of Glomma. The historic center, the Old Town, is located on the east side, and is today considered Northern Europe's best-preserved fortress town. The old town is thus Fredrikstad's foremost landmark.