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 Glomma river

Kongsvinger Fortress (Kongsvinger festning) is located in the city and municipality of Kongsvinger. It is situated on a hill west and north of the Glomma river, standing astride the ancient Vinger Royal Road, which connected Norway and Värmland, Sweden as well as on the north-south Norwegian route along the Glomma. As Kongsvinger formed a key junction point for these routes, fortifications were constructed there to protect against invasion from the east.

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.

Later, in 1814, the most bloody battle between Swedish invaders and defending Norwegian forces during the Napoleonic Wars took place at Matrand, a short distance from Kongsvinger on the Eidskog road. The Swedish lost 337 men, compared with 139 killed and wounded on the Norwegian side.

Aasmund Olavsson Vinje (1818–1870) was a famous Norwegian poet and journalist who wrote in his Ferdaminni fraa Sumaren 1860, "One of the finest views in the country is to stand at Kongsvinger Fortress and gaze down the Glomma."

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 national socialist ideology opened for the Germanske SS Norge at Kongsvinger Fortress. Several classes graduated there.



 Kongsvinger
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