• Nynorsk
  • English

Universitetet i bergen logoUniversity of Bergen

Search form

Hellisøy lighthouse, Fedje

Hellisøy lighthouse was the second cast iron lighthouse to be built in Norway. (Svein Nord).

Hellisøy lighthouse was lit for the first time in 1855. The characteristic red cast-iron tower with two white belts is 33m high and a light height of 46m above high tide.

In 1828 the Lighthouse Commission proposed to place a lighthouse on the northern sailing entrance to Bergen at Holmengrå. But the Lighthouse Commission of 1851 meant that Hellisøy was better suited. The lighthouse director was however sceptical to the site itself: “…if one is not to experience an unusually good summer, it presents so many difficulties that I have not seen its equal since starting in the service of the Lighthouse Authority”.

Hellisøy lighthouse was the second cast-iron tower built in Norway. The lower part was delivered by Bærums verk, and the upper part by Horten Mek. Verksted. The technique of building lighthouses in cast iron was copied from Great Britain at the beginning of the 1850s. In all, the lighthouse authority built 34 towers of this type in Norway.

Hellisøy lighthouse is made out of 1 inch iron sheets and is lined with brick. The two lower storeys are practically filled with bricks. The brick walls gradually diminish to a single brick width in the top storey. Up to 95 men worked on the lighthouse installation.

Living quarters were also provided for the lighthouse keeper and his family, and the lighthouse assistant. The keeper made meteorological observations, and in addition he kept a few sheep and a couple of cows.

In 1903 a new house was built following a fire the previous year. Now a lighthouse guard was employed as well as lighthouse assistant and reserve assistant at the lighthouse.

In 1954 the lighthouse was electrified. At this time the operation of the lighthouse was also changed, so that the lighthouse keeper’s family no longer needed to live at the lighthouse. A hundred years after the lighthouse was built, time no longer allowed such arrangements; life at the lighthouse became too lonely. In 1992 the lighthouse was automated. In cooperation with the Coastal Directorate the municipality has now facilitated the possibility for visits by the public.

  • Original drawing from 1852 of Hellisøy lighthouse.

Original drawing from 1852 of Hellisøy lighthouse. (owner: Kystdirektoratet)

  • The Leie rock on the northwest side of Fedje.

The Leie rock on the northwest side of Fedje. (Svein Nord).