Åsgårdstrand is a small port town in Horten municipality, Vestfold, Norway. It is also the name of a former independent municipality and a center of trade. The town is situated 10 km south of Horten, 10 km north of Tønsberg and 100 km south of Oslo by the west coast of the Oslofjord. On 1 January 1965 Åsgårdstrand and Borre municipalities, plus a part of Sem were merged into the new municipality of Borre. By the time of the merger Åsgårdstrand had 488 inhabitants and was the smallest municipality in Norway.[1]

Landeveien, Åsgårdstrand
painted by Hans Heyerdahl (1890)

Åsgårdsstrand is a summer resort destination[2] with a number of restored old homes. It is home to various cafés, galleries, and a beach. Edvard Munch’s former home is now owned by the municipality and open to the public. It is also home to Borre Kystled, a hiking trail which leads to Borre National Park.[3]

The nameEdit

The meaning of the name is the strand (beach, waterside) belonging to the farm Åsgård (Norse - Ásgarðr). The first element in the farm's name is´ás meaning 'mountain ridge' (the usage here referring to its position on Raet), the last element is garðr meaning 'farm'.[4]


Summer Night at Åsgårdstrand
painted by Edvard Munch (1904)

Åsgårdstrand was ladested (center of trade) from 1650 under Tønsberg, from 1660 under Holmestrand. In 1752 the center of trade was given the rights of doing business with national goods. From the beginning of the 19th century, Åsgårdstrand, was a lively export harbor for lumber, of which most was exported to the Netherlands. By the end of the sail ship era, the trade stagnated. The municipality was founded as Åsgårdstrand formannskapsdistrikt in 1837. Merchant and ship owner Anders Riddervold was elected as the first mayor.

Dating from the 1880s, the town had been increasingly known as an important center for artists and painters. A number of internationally noted painters has either visited or lived in the town including Edvard Munch, Christian Krogh and Hans Heyerdahl. In 1898 Edvard Munch bought a house in Åsgårdstrand where he spent the first of many summers. The house is now operated as a small museum which is associated with the Vestfold Museum (Vestfoldmuseene).[5]

Since the 1920s Åsgårdstrand has been a popular vacation and recreational spot. Visitors come to the small town each summer and spend their holidays in one of the four hotels. From 2007, the town has had the classification of a Tourist Town, which gives the shop owners in the oldest part closest to the sea the right to keep open every day of the week. In order to become a Tourist Town the number of visitors needs to greatly exceed the number of residents throughout the year. In June every year, Åsgårdstrand celebrates Midsummer - the longest day of the year - with a large fire on the shore.

Notable people from ÅsgårdstrandEdit

Edvard Munch's house


  1. ^ Sten Lundbo. "Åsgårdstrand". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  2. ^ Fodor (1987). Fodor's Scandinavia 1988. Fodor's Travel Publications. Page 279. ISBN 9780679015581.
  3. ^ Nickel, Phyllis and Hans Jakob Valderhaug (2017). Norwegian Cruising Guide—Vol 2: Sweden, West Coast and Norway, Swedish Border to Bergen. Attainable Adventure Cruising Ltd. Pages 85-86. ISBN 9780995893962.
  4. ^ Haugen, Einar (1967) Norwegian-English Dictionary A Pronouncing and Translating Dictionary of Modern Norwegian (University of Wisconsin Press) ISBN 978-0-299-03874-8
  5. ^ "Edvard Munch´s house in Åsgårdstrand". Innovation Norway. Retrieved September 1, 2017.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 59°21′N 10°28′E / 59.350°N 10.467°E / 59.350; 10.467