Friday, April 17, 2015

Norway 2015 - Halden 350th Anniversary

ISSUE DATE: 10 April 2015
PHOTO: © Lisa Gustavsen
Halden is a border town located at the mouth of Tista River on the Iddefjord, the southernmost border crossing between Norway and Sweden.
Evidence of early human settlements in this region of Norway have been found, particularly in the Svinesund area of the municipality where evidence of early settlements from the Nordic Bronze Age have been found. Named after a small farm Hallen (English: "rise" or "slope") first mentioned in 1629, "Halden", became the city of Fredrikshald in 1665, named after Frederick III of Denmark.

Halden served as a garrison during the Hannibal Wars from 1643 to 1645. From 1644 it was fortified with a wooden stockade. In the 1658 Roskilde Treaty between Sweden and Denmark, Norway lost its Bohuslan province (and Bohus fortress), and Halden was left exposed as a border outpost requiring heavy defences. When attacks by Swedish forces in 1658, 1659 and 1660 were scarcely repelled, the need for better fortification became apparent, resulting in the fortress, which was begun in 1661.

In the midst of it all, in 1659 and 1716, the Halden resistance resorted to fire to drive out the enemy, a sacrifice honoured with a mention in the Norwegian national anthem, which includes the lines: ....we chose to burn our nation, lest we let it fall'. The fires also serve as a centrepiece for a museum in the fortress on the town's history. Further attacks from the Swedes continued into the 19th century. 

In the first few years of the 20th century, Fredriksten Fortress was armed with increasingly powerful modem cannons, turret guns and howitzers. However, this firepower was removed during the 1906 negotiations for the dissolution of the Swedish-Norwegian union and the town nestled into life as a quiet seaside village. 
(thanks to: "Lonely Planet Norway"
 Anthony Ham, Stuart Butler, Donna Wheeler)

The Gud med oss (God be with us) coat-of-arms created in 1665 shows a knight standing on a mountain, yellow on a blue background, and was inspired by the bravery of the citizens of the city in the Dano-Swedish War (1658–1660).

Despite it's age Halden is very modern and progressive city. The slogan, Halden, IT- og Miljøbyen (Halden, IT and Environment City), is a reference to Halden's large number of IT companies. In the late 1960s, the most powerful mainframe computer in Norway at the time was located at the Institute for Energy Technology's facilities in Halden.

The title Environment City is kind of symbolic win over the pollution which made Halden (in)famous from 60's to 80's. Pollution largely originating from the Norske Skog Saugbrugs paper mill (part of Norske Skog since 1989). As a result of projects initiated by both Norske Skog-Saugbrugs and the city authorities, the polluted fjords and rivers of Halden have been cleaned up and the city was dubbed Norway's Environment City in 1996.

stamp images thanks to:


Halden 350th Anniversary  

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