Sarpsborg is the administrative centre of the municipality of Østfold, Norway. Together with Fredrikstad, Sarpsborg forms the fifth largest urban area in Norway. As of 1 January 2010, the population of Sarpsborg was 52,159.
Borregaard Industries, which specializes in bio-refinery has historically been the most important industry in the city, and remains so today. The city is also the home of Borg Bryggerier, part of the Hansa Borg Bryggerier, Norway's second largest brewery group.
In the 1960s, Sarpsborg was famous for its football (soccer) team, Sarpsborg FK. The municipality is now known for its highly successful ice hockey team, Sparta Warriors. In football, Sarpsborg 08 FF currently plays in the highest national league. Sarpsborg 08 FF has a women's football team that was promoted to the top national women's division in 2011, the same year the club's under-19 girls team reached the Junior Cup Final. Sarpsborg is also famous as the home of two floorball teams, Sarpsborg IBK and Greåker IBK.
The Twinning between Sarpsborg and Bethlehem has been a fruitful, consistent and productive bond, bringing together coordination across a range of activities.
In addition to regular annual contributions for the Bethlehem Christmas market, there have been many generous financial contributions from the people and municipality of Sarpsborg to the Municipality Bethlehem. These have included:
In addition, there have been many cultural exchanges between the two municipalities, such as a visit by nine dancers and one leader from Dalal Center of Culture and Art, who performed at the Olavsdagene festival in Sarpsborg. In December 2008 a delegation of 25 people from Sarpsborg joined the Bethlehem Christmas market with items for sale from Norway, making waffles and arranging a workshop for children making Norwegian Christmas trimmings.
In December 2007 a delegation of 29 people from Sarpsborg visited Bethlehem to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Twinning, among them musicians who entertained people in Bethlehem for seven days and two chefs who served Norwegian food. In October 2005 Three Women Speak, a group consisting of one Jewish woman from Jerusalem, one Muslim woman from Ramallah and one Christian woman from Bethlehem, held speeches about the consequences of the occupation in Sarpsborg.
There have also been several exchanges and visits in the field of education and youth exchange, such as a visit to Sarpsborg by Bishara Awad, leader of Bethlehem Bible College, in December 2010. In April 1999 students from Bethlehem University visited Sarpsborg and there have been several mutual tourist events. Partners involved in cultural and educational exchange have included many organisations, such as Bethlehem Peace Center, Arab Women’s Union, Bethlehem Academy of Music, ICB, The Syrian Orthodox Church and Dar Al Kalima School.