painted town


is a town and municipality in the county of Aust-Agder, Norway. The town of Tvedestrand was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipalities of Dypvåg and Holt were merged with Tvedestrand on 1 January 1960.

The town has a picturesque, white-painted town center with irregular streets climbing steep hills around the harbour. The natural beauty of the area makes it a popular tourist destination. The municipality includes numerous islands, which makes it a very popular place in the summer for boaters, who can easily find an island or an inlet for themselves which provides peace and quiet. The number of people in the county at least double in the summer, due to vacationers. There are approximately 1,700 summer cottages ("hytter") around the fjord. Tvedestrand has over 2,000 buildings that are more than 100 years old.

General information


The first element is the genitive case of the name of the old Tveite farm (Old Norse: Þveitar) and the last element is strond which means "strand" or "beach". The name of the farm is the plural form of þveit which means "small farm".


The coat-of-arms is from modern times. They were granted on 4 April 1986. The arms show a tern, a typical seabird, which was chosen as the village is dependent on the sea for its economy.


Tvedestrand is a town and municipality that lies between Arendal to the west and Risør to the east. The municipality also borders on Froland, Åmli and Vegårshei. The municipality assumed its present borders in 1960 with the consolidation of Dypvåg and Holt municipalities and the port at Tvedestrand.

Tvedestrand belongs to the geographical region of Sørlandet. The town itself lies at the end of a picturesque fjord, Oksefjorden (originally Ufsefjorden, meaning the fjord with steep, rocky sides), while the municipality also encompasses the lovely islands Borøy and Sandøy as well as the unique village of Lyngør. Lyngør was acclaimed "Europe's best preserved village" by Europa Nostra in 1991.

The Storelva, one of the Southern Coast's best salmon and sea trout rivers, flows past Nes Ironworks, in Tvedestrand. Tvedestrand municipality includes 162 islands, with a collected coast line of 214 km.


A number of rare minerals are found in Tvedestrand:


The church at Holt probably dates from the twelfth century and has an ancient font. The interior was decorated by Torsten Hoff.

Around 1600 Tvedestrand was mainly a harbour for the Berge and Tveite farms’ boats, hence the name Tvedestrand (strand means beach or coast in Norwegian).

Lyngør was the site of the Battle of Lyngør between English and Dano-Norwegian forces during the Napoleonic wars resulting in the sinking of the last great battleship of the Dano-Norwegian forces, Najaden by the large British ship Dictator in 1812.

The town as it now exists was built in the 19th century as a harbour for Norway's longest existing iron works, Næs jernverk. Lying in the parish of Holt, Næs jernverk has one of the largest and most significant of the surviving mansions in Sørlandet, built by Ulrich Schnell. Schnell bought up various iron works in the neighborhood and set up several sawmills in the district. He obtained a special license to export timber directly from Tvedestrand, establishing the basis for an international harbor.


  • The 18th century Nes Iron Works are 7 km from the town center.
  • Tvedestrand is recognized as a book town, a small village with a large number of second-hand or antiquarian book shops.
  • Interesting Places in Tvedestrand municipality:

* Lyngør, a cluster of offshore islands which have been described as the 'Skagerrak Venice' and proclaimed by the European Commission to be “Europe’s best preserved village.”
* Sagesund
* Sandøya
* Borøy

Famous residents


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