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The boathouses at Svåsand.

The boathouses at Svåsand. (Svein Nord).

Down by the fjord at Svåsand, close to the main highway, there is a long row of boathouses, one of the well-preserved, older boathouse locations along the Hardanger fjord. It is the farms at Svåsand that have their boathouses here, four main farms with origins far back in time.

The buildings in the farmyard at Svåsand also have a cultural historical value. One of the old smokehouses is still there as well as two fine two-storey bed-lofts (sengebu), a storehouse on stilts and a scullery. The two bed-lofts each belong to a farm unit. Several of the buildings were moved to new sites after the land reform in 1933; the old common farmyard at Svåsand was built more tightly together.

Smokehouse and bed-loft– the two dwellings on the farm- represent one of the classical traditions in the building customs in West Norway. The smokehouse, the house with the open fireplace – is the farmhouse through 600 years – up to the middle of the 1800s – in the inner fjord settlements. The bed-loft is another type of building going back to the Middle Ages. In the 1600s this building is often called window-house, buildings of two storeys, with small windows and room for beds, chests and finer clothes in the loft. In many settlements the smokehouse and the bed-loft were often joined together, in others, as here in Svåsand, they stand separately. And there have been competent craftsmen in these settlements in West Norway, house builders and boat builders. Fine details in doors and mouldings bear witness of skilful craftsmen.

  • Kolltveit, O. (1943) Gjestgjevar- og handelsstaden Herandsholmen. I: Hardanger. [Utne], Hardanger historielag, s. 1-17.
  • Storaas, A. (1969) Herandsholmen: ein minnekrans om min barndomsheim. Oslo.