The visit during our cruise of the Western Coast of Norway that made the greatest impression on me was to the home of composer Edvard Grieg and his wife Nina.
Troldhaugen is a suburb of Bergen, the hill on which the house stand was named by Grieg and it means in Old Norse, Knoll of the Troll. I would say a well to do neighbourhood with expensive homes surrounded by forests and lakes. When the house was built it was by the standard of the time an expensive house. It is wonderful to see how well preserve it is and gives the impression that the owners have just stepped away for a few minutes.
as you walk towards the house you will see this grassy mound which in fact is the roof of the small concert hall, said to be one of the best in Europe for acoustics.
Here is an old photo taken from a framed photo inside the house. It shows a gathering at the front of the house with Grieg in the middle, he is the little man in the light suit. He was about 1.5 meter talls and had one lung. He died at 61 from respiratory complications.
The house has remained as it was when Grieg and his wife Nina lived there. After his death in 1907 she moved to Denmark but the house remained in the family and both of them are buried in a rock face below the cliff by the lake. The house became a Museum in 1928 while Nina was still alive. The house built by Grieg’s cousin Schak Bull had no electricity nor indoor plumbing. Also on the property just a few steps away is the composing chalet where Grieg worked, a simple hut really with a work table and a piano with a beautiful view of the lake.
the house toilet or out house, also preserved.
Here is Grieg in a dark coat on the walk towards the house with playwright Henrik Ibsen, today you can stand on the same spot nothing has changed.
Grieg’s piano a gift from admiring fans brought into the house one morning as a surprise, notice how the legs are short, made so to accommodate Grieg’s short stature. A beautiful instrument still in perfect working order. The house is all wood, plain wood floors, walls etc, rustic and charming.
The view from the living room of lake Nordasvannet and surrounding area.
The composer’s hut at the bottom of a short flight of stairs. It is not open to the public being quite small, but you can look through the door window.
His working table the piano not seen here is to the left of the desk.
inside the concert hall, with the window looking unto the composer’s hut and the lake. We had a wonderful concert with pianist Rune Alver who played Morgenstemning from Peer Gynt, Rigaudon from Holberg Suite, Rotnamsknut from Norwegian Peasant dances, and selected Lyric pieces that Nina Grieg, soprano would sing at recital with Grieg accompanying her on the piano. It was quite beautiful and evocative.
We walked down to the Lake to visit the tomb of Grieg and Nina, a very peaceful place.
Though you come down and it is indicated, it is somewhat hidden from view. On the funeral stele his inscribed simply Edvard and Nina.
During our visit to Bergen we also visited an old church which had to be extensively renovated and rebuilt.
The old stave church at Fantoft, originally built in Fortun in Sogn in 1150 and moved to Fantoft in 1883, burnt down on 6 June 1992. Fantoft Stave Church has been rebuilt exactly as it was before the fire.
The church was originally built in Fortun in Sogn, a village near inner or eastern end of Sognefjord around the year 1150. In the 19th century the church was threatened by demolition, as were hundreds of other stave churches in Norway. The church was bought by consul Fredrik Georg Gade and saved by moving it in pieces to Fantoft near (now in) Bergen in 1883. Outside the church stands a stone cross from Tjora in Sola.
On 6 June 1992, the church was destroyed by arson; the first in a string of church burnings by members of the early Norwegian black metal scene. At first, the fire was thought to have been caused by lightning or an electrical failure. In 1994, Varg Vikernes of the one-man band Burzum was found guilty of murder and of burning Åsane Church and Storetveit Church in Bergen, the burning of Skjold Church in Vindafjord, and the burning of Holmenkollen Chapel in Oslo. He was also charged with the burning of Fantoft stave church.
After the fire, re-building was soon begun and was finished in 1997.
It is an all wood construction and the roof is covered with tar to repel the water.
The quality of the photos I took inside are not very good due to the very poor light, the little church has no electricity and no windows. The day light comes in from the open door. It is quite beautiful and gives an insight in early Christianity in Norway in the age of Vikings.
The Church stands in a forested grove.