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Statue of the week: number 29

May 4, 2011

This week we venture out of Oslo to Fredrikstad.  More on the trip in another post.  Standing proudly over the main square of  Fredrikstad’s gamlebyen (old town) is Frederick II who, and I quote directly from page 124 of the Rough Guide to Norway, “appears to have a serious problem with his pantaloons” 🙂 

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Frederick was a Danish king  and had the original Fredrikstad built in 1567.  Danmark ruled Norway for a long, long time (were talking centuries here) but Sweden wanted Norway and so there were many wars from the early 16th century until the early 18th century. Norway and Sweden share a border and Oslo was at huge risk of an attack from Swedes traveling up the Oslo fjord.  Fredrikstad lies on the eastern side of the Oslo fjord by the river Glomma. Frederick II built a fort out of wood.  Sweden attacked and it was burnt to the ground.  The fort was rebuilt out of wood, Sweden attacked, it was burnt to the ground.  The fort was rebuilt….  I guess you get the picture now.  Eventually the fort’s defences were strengthened in the 17th century and it became the “strongest fortress” in Norway and remains in military use.  It’s use has contributed to it’s preservation, as has the fact that the new town of Fredrikstad was built on the other side of the river Glomma.

Fredrikstad has another claim to fame – the last woman in Norwayto be executed was beheaded here. Her name was Sophie Johannesdatter and she was rather fond of giving people arsenic!

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