Welcome to Krigskirkegården!
(“The War Cemetery”)
represents a very special chapter in Fredrikstad's burial ground history. Here commanding
officers, city dwellers and foreign war victims rest side by side. Krigskirkegården
provides an exciting insight into how people and society have remembered their
dead at different times over the years.
The cemetery was established as the garrison cemetery in 1789. The existing garrison cemetery in Vaterland (closer to the garrison) had no longer space for new graves due to epidemics. The name Krigskirkegården followed from the cemetery in Vaterland.
Krigskirkegården was, already after a few months, opened for civilian burials as well. The military "upper class" preferred to have their family members buried here instead of in the cemetery surrounding the church, which was inside the Fortified Town. Very soon Krigskirkegården also became the burial ground for civilians from the urban fields outside the Fortified Town.
During the Napoleonic Wars, Norway experienced naval blockades, failing crops and famine, resulting in high mortality. In addition, in the years 1808 and 1809 there was an epidemic among the soldiers in the garrison. 84 soldiers died each month in December 1808 and January 1809. At most 10 funerals were held on one day at Krigskirkegården. A total of 336 soldiers and civilians were buried in Fredrikstad in 1808, and in 1809 a total of 597!
In 1809 the cemetery had to be extended to the west. This part of Krigskirkegården today houses the war graves from World War I and II, and is otherwise overgrown.
Krigskirkegården is still available for new graves, but there have been few burials here since the 1960s.
The war memorials
On May 31st 1916 a huge naval battle, the Battle of Jutland, was fought between German and British warships off the west coast of Denmark. Of the nearly 9,000 dead, the bodies of 18 British and 11 German naval personnel had drifted ashore in the Hvaler archipelago. They were buried side by side within their two rectangular burial sites. In 1962, the German graves were moved to the German common memorial ground at Alfaset in Oslo, but the original memorial remained here, along with the British memorial and graves.
The most striking feature here is the burial ground for British war victims in Norwegian waters from World War I, with the granite column "The Cross of Sacrifice" and 64 graves. These graves were moved from around Norway to Krigskirkegården in 1961. This burial ground is owned and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. See their information sign at the cemetery for further information.
Closest to the gate is the common grave of two Russian soldiers from World War II. They had survived the German captivity on Rauøy together with 377 other Russian prisoners of war, but died in May 1945 - right after the declaration of peace - and got their common burial ground here.
The development of burial sites
Graveyard inside the town around the church and, until 1779, under the church floor for the most affluent.
In use until 1832.
Circa 1660 Cemetery for the poor inside the town by the hospital/poorhouse until the 1740s.
1663 Fredrikstad became a garrison and
the fortified town.
Garrison cemetery on Isegran until 1741
garrison and poor people’s cemetery at Vaterland, «Christi Kirkegaard»,
referred to as the "War Cemetery" (Krigskirkegården).
1788-89 Mass graves on Øra towards the Haborn hill
present Krigskirkegården established as garrison cemetery.
A few months later opened for the burial of civilians.
1809 Krigskirkegården expanded to the west with its own department for the poor
1832 Østre (East) Fredrikstad burial ground built, in accordance with state order from 1805 prohibiting burials inside cities.
1834 and 1853 Cholera Cemetery just outside the moat
1877 Vestre (West) Fredrikstad burial ground established