State government officials have chosen the Norwegian city they think warrants the distinction of being the country’s most attractive in 2017, and the winner is an historic place built up on the timber industry.
Fredrikstad, also known for its landmark fortress, beat out two other southern cities (co-finalists Egersund and Arendal) for its successful efforts to revive its downtown and riverfront. “Fredrikstad has consciously worked in a goal-oriented manner for years to strengthen its central core,” said government minister Jan Tore Sanner of the Conservative Party. He’s in charge of local governments and modernization in Norway.
“I’m impressed over what the city and the business community have managed to create, with a lively downtown and good neighbourhoods,” Sanner said. The state specifically noted Fredrikstad’s decision four years ago to start running ferries free of charge along the Glomma River that flows through the city. The ferry service was later expanded and now carries an estimated 1.25 million passengers a year.
Fredrikstad Mayor Jon-Ivar Nygård of the Labour Party told state broadcaster NRK that he was delighted by the prize, which includes a state grant of NOK 250,000, a plaque and diploma. Nygård said the money will most likely be used to stir up more activity downtown, preferably for children and youth.
For photos, see NRK’s coverage here (external link, in Norwegian).