Prospectus of Bukken 1808. From an early work by J.C. Dahl. The picture has the following text on the back: “Two Danish privateer ships bringing up an English vessel. The signal being raised by the man on the hill means: Our warships have captured an enemy vessel.” (owner: Universitetsmuseet i Bergen (B.7375h)).
In Christian IV’s diary from Norgesreisa (trip to Norway) in 1599, we find the reference or anecdote that is the origin of the name Bukken. A Dutch full-rigged ship once passed the mountain outcrops on the island with the guesthouse so close that a ram grazing there jumped down on a yardarm (rånokk), thus the name “Buch van Raa!”
Bukken is situated in the Ramnefjord between Lerøy and Bjelkarøy, on one of the small islands in Bukkasundet; in the middle of the main route towards the north. As early as in the 1600s Bukken was one of the key guesthouse sites on the route to Bergen. In the first years of 1700s the bishop of Bergen, Nils Smed, owned the place. He himself lived in Bergen. Later on most of the owners settled at the guesthouse site. Among them was Cornelius Pettersen who bought Bukken in 1793, and Jacob Von Krogh who took over in 1800. At this time there was a certain amount of competition between Bukken and Godøysund in Tysnes. Folk from Hardanger and Sunnhordland stayed mostly at Godøysund, while travellers from the communities in Midthordland largely frequented Bukken. When travelling southwards through the main thoroughfare through Austevoll and Fitjar, it was common to stay in Bukken to wait for the right wind, before venturing out on the rough sea across the Korsfjord.
In 1811 Bertil Olai Wilhelmseen bought the guesthouse location at Bukken, and this family ran the place right up until 1897. It was during this time that the place was expanded with a country store. The trade in Bukken ended in 1901, and the guesthouse activity was brought to an end a few years later. The new steamship route went outside Bukken.
Today the place is protected and well looked after. The main building is representative of the building traditions around the turn of the century in 1800, as does the warehouse with the covered passageway, and the taproom. The “Common room” for the rowers and the local people, is no longer there.