In 1660 Flekkefjord was granted the status of town without full
urban status under the administration of Kristiansand. Since the 1500s
Flekkefjord had an "export-harbour" for timber to be shipped
to Holland. During 1600s the Dutch came here to ship granite back to Holland
for the dikes, roads and harbour. Around 1750 herring became an important
part of the economic life of the town. Flekkefjord was then considered
the largest export harbour for herring on the South coast of Norway. The
herring catch created an economic boom in the period 1826-38.
In 1842 Flekkefjord was granted "self-governing status" as a town and from then an experienced a period of growth and prosperity. During these years the town acquired the essential shape it has retained since. Tanneries were built and alongside shipbuilding and shipping they became the most important industry. But as to shipping Flekkefjord lost out around the turn of the century, as sails gave way to steam. The sea gradually lost its importance, as can be seen in the way the town was built. Up till 1900 new housing was concentrated in the town center. After the turn of the century new houses grew up on the east side, "Sunde". A bridge across the river was built in 1839. After the town fire in 1878 "Brogaten" was laid out, and gradually this street developed into a main street. The town has been spared from any extensive town fires after 1878 and the pattern streets and buildings therefore look more or less the way they did a century ago.
In 1904 a railroad connection to Egersund was finished. The railroad station was built on the east side, Sunde. The Flekkefjord railroad was closed down in 1990.
After a new municipality zoning arrangement in 1965, Flekkefjord also included the former surrounding counties of Nes, Hidra, Bakke and Gyland.
We start our town walk at the Town Hall (1) (the left picture). This building
was originally a furniture factory, which was rebuilt as the Town Hall in 1990.
All municipal branches are here, except the health and welfare office.
Past the new Town Hall we reach Rådhusbryggen (2). This block includes a lot of buildings from Flekkefjord`s "Golden Age". Today this area includes cultural institutions like the library, the Music School, the Museum and the Music House (Brass Bands).
On our right is the old Town Hall (the right picture). This building is one of four buildings preserved by law in Flekkefjord. Is was built around 1830. We continue to the Museum (3). The old building is preserved by law and has been furnished to look like an upper middle class home from the beginning of the 19th century and up to World War 1. The two sea- warehouses are new buildings, reconstructed according to drawings of old sea-warehouses that burned down on New Years Day 1981.
Continuing down Dr. Kraftsgate towards Hollenderbyen (marked on the map), we notice Fjellgaten no. 9 (4) which has been renovated. It has been painted in the manner of 150 years ago. The custom of painting houses white was introduced only in the early part of this century.
We continue through "Holland town" to Nesgaten (5). Here we can make two side trips - to Flikkestø (A) or to (B).
(A) Flikkestø was originally a landing place for people coming to town from the neighbouring area. Several of the boat houses had a storage room in the loft where farmers stayed when they brought their goods to town. Here we also understand how the sea-warehouses have dominated the harbour area. This is where the Dutch ships moored, and this part of town had a busy trade with the Dutch, hence the name "Holland town".
(B) This side trip leads upstairs to Lilleheia where there is a viewpoint from where you can have a look at Flekkefjord from the air.
We continue down Nesgaten, while looking at details of the house fronts and how the streets run. We also take a look into one of the back yards, which is amazingly big considering how close together the buildings are placed. These back yards once contained cow barns, work shops etc. Some barns are still standing, but the animals and the craftsmen are gone. There are rules about what changes the owners of the houses are allowed to do in "Holland town". The houses are small and simple and stand apart both in size and shape from houses in other parts of the town. Near the northern part of the Park is the old Nes farm (6). This was the main farm in the area where we find the present town. We continue down Anders Beersgate, stopping on the way to admire the Grand Hotel (7), built in the Swiss fashion in the latter part of the last century, with a lot of the characteristic traits of this building style in the house front. In Anders Beersgate se can easily see how the town fire of 1878 changed the town. This street was originally quite narrow, as we can see from Goldsmith Peersenïs store, one of the buildings that did not burn down.
When the block was rebuilt, this street was expanded considerably. If there is time for another side trip, try Sirdalsgaten (C) the picture is from Sirdalsgaten).
We take a right turn in Kirkegaten and turn into Brogaten. This intersection, named "Lundsen", which was built after the town fire in 1878, is a meeting place for the whole town. Earlier there was a narrowing of the street here, called "Nåløyet" (8), which was changed in 1982 to make traffic easier to Brogaten.
On our way to the bridge we may take a side trip to the riverbank (D). Here we can easily see the town pattern with the warehouses closest to the sea, the gardens between the warehouses and the houses where people lived, and the street.
At the bridge we turn into Elvegaten and pass Flekkefjord Church (9). It is an octagonal wooden church drawn by the architect H. F. D. Linstow (who also drew the kastle in Oslo!!!). It was built in 1832 and was renovated in 1905, in 1933 and 1971. Several churches have been built at this site earlier, the oldest one in 1460.
If we continue down Elvegaten, we may take a side trip (E) to Tollbodbryggen. Stopping at the corner between Elvegaten and Vollgaten we can look at the house between Elvegaten and the sea. These buildings were made before people gave much thought to the idea of a harmonious combination between old and new. Even if we now may not find these buildings very attractive, they are nevertheless a part of our towns history and should be considered as such. We walk by "Helsehuset", one of the largest buildings in Flekkefjord. By the way it is built it has been adapted to the older houses in the center of town, in that size has been made less conspicuous.
Turning right into Vollgaten we may stop for a moment near Bondeheimenïs "Glasshouse" (10). This building stands out in contrast to the neighbouring houses and has become a new landmark. Even though the building material that has been used id different there are similarities to the other buildings as to size and shape.
We turn right into Kirkegaten, the busiest shopping street n town. Prosperous shopowners owned these houses, usually having the shop on the groundfloor while they lived themselves on the first floor above the shop. At Gaven (11) we enter Nordre Kirkestredet. This was the original connection between the Nes farm and the Church. The narrow alley still shows the old street pattern between the farm and the activities connected to the river.
We continue down Brogaten and pass the Upper Park, where there once was a potato field. Across the street on our right we can see "Hestens Bøn" (the horse's prayer) (12), a house built in the so called "dragon style" from the turn of the century. This house is the only one in town built in the "dragon style". The building has been well preserved, however, the dragon heads unfortunately have been removed. The name "Hestens Bøn" originated from a popular verse urging kindness to work horses. It was often nailed up on walls. The houses along Øvre Voll (13) were built in the 1930s and differ from the old houses in the town center in the way they are spread out giving more space between the houses. We continue our walk down Allegaten. Earlier there was a brook running through this street and as late as 1890 you could fish trout here! We stop one moment at the intersection with Parkgaten (14) to take a look at the houses built just before World War 1, all built in brick. No 15 (15) has been awarded "Arkitekturvernprisen" for the way it has been renovated.
Continuing down Strandgaten we notice the new buildings between this street and the fjord (16), they have been built like old seawarehouses to keep up the traditions of the older buildings in the area. We continue down Strandgaten and turn left into Hidragaten. We can take a side trip into Vestre gate (F), an area similar to Holland town. Hidragaten used to be the most important shopping street in town. In no 17 beer was sold and in no 18 there was a brewery. Hidragaten connects to Brogaten which we follow, crossing to Kirkegaten to end up at our starting point - the Town Hall.