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The green house in Strømstad

You can't miss it. The large house with the green roof that thrones over the rest of Strømstad is a landmark both on land and at sea. But what is it really?

Strømstads stadshus om natten

The short answer is the town hall - Strømstad town hall. The whole answer is full of drama, symbolism and mystery.

Ordførersetet i rådhussalen

The building was put into operation in 1917, but was first formally opened a hundred years later, in 2017. This was not due to forgetting, but a dispute between the politicians and the donor who had financed the building.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Strømstad was depleted by two major city fires. The city was unable to maintain its town hall and was at risk of losing its city privileges. This prompted the rich businessman Adolf Fritiof Cavalli-Holmgren to act, as he read local newspapers from Strømstad in his residence in Stockholm.

Trappeoppgangen inne i Strømstads stadshus

He offered to help the city by making a financial contribution. The politicians cheered and hired an architect to set up a new building where the old town hall was near the harbor.

Kunstverk i Strømstads stadshus

But the project was subject to time-consuming political tugging. Their plans were also unacceptable to Adolf Fritiof. It ended up with him taking over the management and financing everything.

Utsikt fra toppen av Strømstads stadshus

The politicians had to accept this although they did not like it, because without the gift of Adolf Fritiof, no town hall. Adolf Fritiof decided that the building should be erected on a hill with a nice view of the city where his childhood home and his father's goldsmith shop had been before the city fire.

Spiret på toppen av Strømstads stadshus

The politicians raged because they thought this was too far away from the city center, but they should soon find more reasons to complain. Adolf Fritiof was a kind and generous, but also odd person. For example, he participated in meetings and answered letters only four days a year - on his father's birthday the 27/1, his mother's birthday the 14/5, their weeding day the 7/3 and their engagement date the 12/12.

Utsikten fra toppen av Strømstads stadshus

He was so keen to honor his parents' memory that these numbers formed the basis of the entire architecture of the building. All measurements for room size, the number of windows, stairs and the like may in some way consist of or be summed into any of these magic numbers.

When the building was finished, the politicians were so furious about all the donor's claims that some argued that the city had not really received any gift at all. On the contrary, the donor had received a gift from the city as he was allowed to raise a memorial to his parents. In the report from the first board meeting the board hardly thanked Adolf Fritiof Cavalli-Holmgren for the donation.

It is said that the lack of gratitude led to the donor never getting peace, and that his ghost therefore still wanders around in the building at night time.

More excursions:

Excursion of the week: Strømstads Stadshus.

Get there: You'll find it on the right side of the river when you drive into the center of Strømstad. There are some parking spaces on the outside, but you can also park at COOP's parking lot located right next door. If you shop there, you'll get free parking as well.

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