Arendal is a city and municipality in the county of Aust-Agder, Norway. It is the administrative center of Aust-Agder county, and belongs to the geographical region of Sørlandet. The municipality is bordered in the southwest by Grimstad, in the northwest by Froland, and in the northeast by Tvedestrand municipalities.
Arendal claims to have the best weather in Norway and a lovely coastline with many small islands. It is a popular tourist town and has a lively evening life in the summer.
Points of interest
"Lille Torungen" Lighthouse
Lille Torungen LighthouseThe "Little Torungen" lighthouse is situated on a small island outside of Arendal. The lighthouse is 28.9 meters high. The station was established at the same time as the "Large Torungen" and has a functional and visual connection with this. The Large and Little Torungen was made as twin lighthouses, and both are located in the Arendal shipping lane. The station was discontinued in 1914.
"Store Torungen" Lighthouse
Store Torungen LighthouseThe "Store Torungen" lighthouse is situated on an island outside Arendal. It was constructed in 1844 and electrified in 1914. It is 34.3 meters high and contains a 2nd order lens. This is a rather large station according to Norwegian standards. It is reachable by a 55 minute boat trip from the city centre. The lighthouse is still in use.
The island of Merdø, one of the islands furthest from the coast, facing the Skagerrak, was a major outport in the 17th and 18th centuries and now has a museum, a kiosk, several beaches and beautiful scenery. There is regular boat service from Pollen to the island every day during the summer season.
The heart of Arendal (inner harbour), where you will find fishermen selling crabs, the fish market, pubs, restaurants, ducks, and benches where you can sit down for a rest. Nothing is like a sunny day in Pollen.
Right in the city centre you’ll find an area with wooden houses dating back to the 1600s.This area is called Tyholmen, and is what’s left of the old buildings since the great fires this town had during the 1800s. Spend half an hour on Tyholmen enjoying the architecture and imagine how things must have been when there were canals between the houses instead of streets. Follow the streets of Nedre Tyholmen and Øvre Tyholmen, and see how both rich and regular people used to live.
The institution "Canal Street - Arendal Jazz and Blues" was established in 2001, but has been arranged since 1996, at that time by the name of Arendal Jazz and Blues Festival. The popularity of the arrangement has been steadily increasing.
Apart from being a port city, Arendal lies immediately southeast of the E18 highway. The Arendalsbanen branch line runs to Nelaug where it connects with Sørlandsbanen.
Arendal was established in the middle of the 1500s, and was then called Arendall. At that time it had no formal town status.
When Kristiansand was founded by King Christian IV in 1641, he granted the citizens a monopoly on all trade in Aust-Adger and Vest-Agder. This grant, intended to subsidize Kristiansand and its fortifications, placed existing towns in a difficult position. Both towns and the peasants in the up country protested the hardships this caused. As a result, Arendal received royal permission in 1622 to continue as a loading-place for timber until a means could be found to transfer its trade to Kristiansand.
The town was given market city privileges in 1723. However the peasants in the surrounding district, who by law were to sell their goods only at Arendal, were smuggling their goods out on cutters and selling them in Denmark, in the Baltic, and Britain.
This continued until 1735, when Arendal was granted a full town charter. This charter, combined with Danish imposition of a monopoly on corn imports, caused great poverty and starvation among the peasants in the surrounding districts, leading to several famous rebellions.
As a result of the rebellions, the age of privileges for towns like Kristiansand and Arendal came to an apparent end in 1768 by royal proclamation. But the problems did not end then; a farmer, Kristian Jensson Lofthus, in Vestre Moland led a rebellion in 1786 which resulted in the government actually remedying some of the most repressive trade policies, but Lofthus died in prison. The charges against Lofthus were that he dealt in corn and other commodities to the detriment to Arendal’s privileges.
Shipping, shipbuilding and timber trade as well as mining and ironworks were important branches of industry in Aust-Agder county for many centuries, especially in the Arendal region. Frequent contacts with the world abroad put their mark on our culture and traditions. In 1880 it was the land's biggest port in terms of tonnage handled. At the end of the 19th century Arendal was recognized as a major shipping centre with many wealthy shipowners. And in 1939 it had the 4th largest Norwegian tanker fleet; only Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger were larger.
Today the town has small boat manufacturing, mechanical industry, electronics industry as well as one of the world's largest silicon carbide refining plants.