The landscape in this very particular part of Norway is relatively flat and was once below sea level. As the enormous amounts of heavy ice melted after the last ice age, the seabed slowly rose to become dry and fertile land. In places, the landscape moved up by as much as several hundred metres.
Whether it be on a rainy day – or a beautiful summer’s day like this one – the coastal paths take us through some pleasing stretches of Norwegian scenery. It is a journey through the now – but also through history. Since time immemorial, people have utilised these surroundings to eke out a living: farming, hunting and fishing.
The cultural landscape
Many farms in this area of the country have kept the old barns – built a hundred years ago or more. Sadly, except for a fairly significant number of riding horses, the domestic animals that lived in them are more or less gone. The soil and climate in Østfold is perfect for the cultivation of food-plants, and therefore best utilised for that purpose. Other parts of Norway are only really suited for grass production – and there you will still find cows and sheep in abundance.
In recent years, we have seen the return of the sheep to some Østfold farms. They are mainly there to keep the non-cultivated sections of the old cultural landscape open and free from the otherwise rapidly expanding natural growth.
Exploring the secrets of a beautiful landscape
The landscape surrounding the Oslofjord is a summer holiday hotspot. With its many islands and islets, beaches, and forests, it is an exciting world, eagerly explored by generation after generation of Norwegian children.
After a long and cold winter, the Norwegian summer is the perfect time for roaming the land and enjoying the warmth of the sun. On a hot summer’s day, the playing children may well find the secret entrance to the abandoned home of trolls inside a mountain – or build a makeshift cabin under an exciting rock formation.
And if the day is cold, they just put on some more clothes – and keep on running.
Recommended read: History timeline | from stone age to modern era | Norway
Main photo: LA Dahlmann – cc by-sa.