Kongsvinger Fortress

Kongsvinger, Norway

A rather desultory war between Sweden and Denmark-Norway, often called the Hannibal War, resulted from 1643 to 1645. Vinger was the staging area for several minor Norwegian invasions into Sweden as this final episode of the Thirty Years' War was completed. The most important consequence of this war was that the royal governor identified the need for fortifications at Kongsvinger (then Vinger) and elsewhere along the border and initiated a tax for the purpose. Since there was great discontent, this tax burden was lifted in 1646 by Christian IV of Denmark and Norway; as a result no fortification construction was begun at that time.

In 1673, Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve wrote that construction was underway on a defensive structure on top of a hill. Once completed, it would dominate the river and the existing sconce by the ferry crossing. This structure was called Vinger Sconce or Gyldenborg and was a precursor to Kongsvinger Fortress. It was never attacked during the Scanian War, which broke out in 1675, but it did fire its cannons against a Swedish reconnaissance unit. An attack was launched from Vinger in February 1679, but it was unable to penetrate deep into Sweden due to insufficient artillery.

Following the war, fortifications were improved along the border toward Sweden. Plans were made for a star-shaped fortress and construction began in 1682 on the site of the old Vinger Sconce. The new fortress was named Königs Winger, which has since become Kongsvinger, both meaning King's Vinger. Today, Øvrebyen, the old Kongsvinger uptown area around the fortress is dominated by wooden buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, laid out in the typical right angle square plan - by architect Major General Johan Caspar von Cicignon - popular in this period.

In 1709, during the Great Northern War, Norway was mobilized and by the end of October 1709, 1,500 men were stationed at Kongsvinger. When in 1716 it became apparent that the Charles XII of Sweden intended to invade, three fortresses along the Swedish border were again extensively manned: Kongsvinger Fortress, Basmo Fortress and Fredriksten Fortress. The attack fell on Basmo and Kongsvinger was bypassed.

Although a significant part of the Norwegian border fortification during several wars with Sweden, Kongsvinger never saw attack. The closest offensive occurred in 1808 during the Napoleonic Wars, when a Swedish column advanced against the fortress of Kongsvinger. They reached the Glomma River after a victory at Lier on 18 April, but did not cross the river and invest the fortress. On 10 March 1809 an interim armistice was signed at Kongsvinger.

In 1905, when the union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved, a neutral zone was established in which all fortifications were to be demolished. Kongsvinger lay just outside of this zone and the fortification survived.Nazi Germany invaded Norway on 9 April 1940. Although not invested, Norwegian fortresses fell under German control. In August 1942 a school providing four-week course in political ideology opened for the Germanske SS Norge at Kongsvinger Fortress. Several classes graduated there.

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Founded: 1682
Category: Castles and fortifications in Norway

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Ria Montemayor Jonsson (2 years ago)
Close to centrum , good service and nice ambiance
Uwe Prions (2 years ago)
Nice view thru the valley...
melinda mendez (2 years ago)
I love it here! A nice tourist spot where you can take the visitors to see some views like the glomma river and take pictures. Often used by photographers for wedding shoots. There is a nice restaurant too.
Remy Brändefalk (2 years ago)
Beautiful place with a long history in time. Can highly recommend if you are in the area
Iuis Hernando Cruz Galleego (2 years ago)
It's a very interesting place rich of Norwegian culture , and history
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