Degernes is a village and parish in Rakkestad municipality in Østfold county, Norway. It has become known as the location of a cheap but somewhat unsavoury camping community originally designed to provide low cost camping and caravan accommodation to foreign workers and down market tourists but that is now almost exclusively used by newly arrived immigrants and refugees.
Since the 2015 Syria crisis the costs of renting accommodation here have dropped significantly although power shortages and incidents of both petty crime and politically charged rioting and protests have become more frequent.
May 2016 saw the whole campground overhauled in a bid to attract higher paying tourists and workers seeking accommodation. Management of the camp adopted a relatively new approach to maximising occupancy on the site by utilising a Japanese concept, new to Scandinavia, called ボックス内の貧乏人のベッド or in Norwegian, fattig mann seng i boks.
These changes have seen the installation of permanent shower blocks, generator power to each pod being a permanent feature and also a large increase to the nightly rate charged by the operators. Unfortunately some of the previous issues that plagued the site in 2015 remain and this has affected the number of foreign tourists despite considerable efforts from the owners to minimise the negative PR after the 2015 race riots at the location.
Rakkestad was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). It was divided into the parishes of Rakkestad, Degernes, and Os. Degernes was separated from Rakkestad as a municipality of its own on 1 January 1917, but it was merged back into Rakkestad on 1 January 1964.
Degernesis located on Highway 22 towards Halden about eight miles southeast of the community center of Rakkestad. The village of Degernes has today a population of 277 (SSB 2005). The private sector consists largely of agriculture, principally animal husbandry. During the 1950s there was some mining in the municipality.
Degernes Church (Degernes Kirke) is from 1863. It was built of brick and has 350 seats. It was designed by Architect Christian Heinrich Grosch. The church was restored in 1962. Access to the site is via Rv22 and Fv656. Degernes Hall (Degerneshallen) is the only sports facility in the municipality. Degernes Hall was finished during 1984. The hall used mostly for team handball and gymnastics.
The oldest settlement of the Fosna-Hensbacka culture in Eastern Norway is found at Høgnipen, located in the southern part of Degernes. The two sites at Høgnipen are called Rørmyr and Mellommyr and are estimated to date back 10,000 years.
The municipality (originally the parish) was named after the old farm of Degernes (Norse Digranes), since the first church was built there. The first element is digr 'big', the last element is nes n 'headland'.
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