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The state residence at Holmen painted by Catharine Kølle, undated.

The state residence at Holmen painted by Catharine Kølle, undated. (photo: Helge Sunde, eowner: Universitetsmuseet i Bergen (B 2433c(28x41,2))).


Holmen lies by the fjord, innermost in Ulvikpollen. Originally this was a small smallholding or coast dweller’s place belonging to the farm Håheim. Major Johan Henrik Palludan obtained leasehold for a part of Holmen in 1773, and erected a grand house, as he was the head of Nordre Hardangerske kompani. In 1806 Mrs Palludin sold Holmen to the somewhat eccentric theologian Kristian Kølle, and thus the Kølle family came to Ulvik. Today the Kølle house in Holmen is gone, today it is the residence of the principal of the State horticultural school that occupies the ground – a villa in the dragon style from the turn of the previous century.

The state residence at Holmen was the frame around a quiet and retiring life for the prudent Kristian Kølle and his three daughters, Catharine Hermine (1788-1859, Helene Johanne (1795-1877) and Ambrosia (1796-1855). They took over the farm after their father in 1814 and remained in Ulvik all their lives. They had industrious hands, they embroidered chest pieces for the folk costumes and were well liked by the local community. They were locally known as “Holmajomfruene” (The Holma Virgins). Catharine was the most distinguished of them; “Norway’s first female tourist”. With a rucksack and a walking stick she wandered all over Scandinavia and Europe; she kept a diary of her travels and made sketches in her sketchbook. At home in Ulvik she worked out beautiful, coloured prospectus, accurate in detail, one of our foremost topographical landscape painters in the 1800s. (Storegraven and Granvin church, Helleland, Ullensvang, Eidfjord church)

  • The old village mill in Ulvik

The old village mill in Ulvik is in good condition today (Svein Nord).

  • Ryall, A. & Veiteberg, J. (1991) En kvinnelig oppdagelsesreisende i det unge Norge: Catharine Hermine Kølle . Oslo, Pax.