If you’re out strolling the inner city of Oslo, you’ll probably pass a huge sign sooner or later, by Karl Johans Gate. That’s the Freia sign (seen in the photo above).
Perhaps it’s the first time you hear the name, and if that’s the case, it’s no wonder. The company is since a couple of years back, owned by Kraft General Foods. But once upon a time, it was the biggest chocolate factory in Norway. It was founded already in 1889 but became successful first when Johan Throne Holst took leadership. He realised that the Norway market was missing one thing, and it wasn’t the dark chocolate that they already manufactured; it was milk chocolate. Quickly they became the country’s number-one supplier of chocolate.
The factory was located in the city district of Grünerløkka. As the success rose, they also started a chocolate factory in Sweden, none other than Marabou, which to this day is the biggest supplier in the country. However, the biggest legacy (well, if you ask us) is probably the fact that Freia the chocolate factory was the inspiration for writer Roald Dahl to write the children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His parents were Norwegian from the beginning, thus the connection. Nowadays, the passed Roald Dahl remains world famous for the book, that has been filmed twice. Now that’s something a knowledge to brag about next time you’re in Oslo!