The House of Literature in Fredrikstad (Litteraturhuset Fredrikstad) opened on 25 January 2013 and is one of the largest facility of its kind in Norway. We occupy a modern four-storey building in the heart of Fredrikstad on the banks for the Glomma/Vesterelven river, with a total of 3 000 square metres of floor space.
Organised as a non-profit foundation, our most important job is to ensure a good and meaningful content for the building and to secure activity in its rooms – activity which benefits cultural life, the building, the city and the region.
Our statutes state: “The purpose of the foundation is to communicate and arouse interest in literature, reading, debate and culture by running the House of Literature in Fredrikstad”.
From the start, we have been a regional and local powerhouse for experience, learning, debate and literature. We attract a large and varied audience from Fredrikstad, Østfold district county and the whole of eastern Norway
The underlying philosophy of the House of Literature has always been to create activity and culture in the city centre and the region. Our aim is to strengthen the attractiveness of Fredrikstad, Østfold and the whole region by providing a venue for culture, experiences, vigorous and healthy social debate, and disseminating knowledge.
We address a national audience through our digital communication channels. Our content will meet high quality standards.
Our building was constructed after a major fire reduced a whole city-centre block to ashes. Fredrikstad-based property company Fredriksborg Eiendom AS was responsible for this development.
Fredriksborg Eiendom owns the building and lets out premises to the various tenants in the building. This company has strong local roots dating right back to the 1940s, and is owned and operated by the Fredriksen family. We occupy more than 800 square metres of the building.
About the House of Literature in Fredrikstad
Since opening in January 2013, we have become an important arena with a programme covering literature, history, philosophy, politics, children and travel. Special provision is made for school pupils and young children.
We have hosted major events, such as the live party leader debate transmitted by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) during the 2015 local government election, NRK’s Debatten, Brenner & Bøkene and DOK:13-18 programmes, and the Fredrikstad Animation Festival.
Three rooms are available for events:
- Egalia, accommodating 320 people
- Thygesen, accommodating 120 people
- Ompalompaland, accommodating 40 people.
In addition, events and meetings are held in the Joker bar, the book cafe and the restaurant – as well as in Hagerups Hage, our panorama terrace with a view of the whole Vesterelven and the city.
Local and regional issues receive much attention. Public meetings have become an important arena, where residents can raise and discuss matters directly with politicians and opinion-formers in society.
National and international questions are highlighted with a mix of foreign and local voices. We have hosted appearances by a number of authors and speakers since our opening, including John Irving, Sir Antony Beevor, Fay Weldon, Suzanne Brøgger, Nuruddin Farah, Jonathan Safran Foer, John Dickie and Amr Hamzawy.
Over the past five years, we have staged almost 1 300 open events with audience numbers totalling 140 000. In addition come all the people attending meetings, courses and conferences, and visiting the restaurant.
Well over 500 000 people have visited us since we opened in 2013.
All the events we produce ourselves are free of charge to all students with a valid ID.
We have accommodated 1 100 closed events, from small board meetings to large conferences extending over several days. Our goal is to strengthen our position as a conference centre and to acquire a reputation as one of the best in the region.
To implement our programmes, we collaborate extensively with publishers, authors, media, journalists, photographers, government ministries, organisations and educational institutions.
Operations are pursued by an independent non-profit foundation, where nobody can take a dividend. All income is devoted to operations, and not least to creating good content and programmes for the general public in the region and in Fredrikstad.
We have three main sources of income: ticket sales, leasing of rooms, and support from private and public bodies.
Our annual turnover is NOK 10 million (aprx 1 mill EUR)
We have a viable financial foundation today through support from such sources as the Ministry of Culture over the central government budget, Fredrikstad city council and Østfold county council. The Fritt Ord foundation, another of our backers, is an important contributor with an annual grant of NOK 500 000.
Nevertheless, private sponsors are crucial for our ability to offer such a good provision as we have done so far. Private companies contribute more than NOK 750 000 per year in all. Right from the start, a key concept has been to finance our activities through both public and private contributions.
Having private organisations on board ensures sound and efficient financial management. Our staff, which corresponds to 4.5 work years, handles planning, execution of open and closed meetings, operations, sales and accounts. In other words, we offer a big product at a low cost.
We combine a small administration with a high level of activity and production.