HOLMEN AND THE KØLLE FAMILY 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.
Freezing and thawing are processes that influence plant cover, move enormous blocks, stretche long mounds of earth, break open bedrock and create patterns in stone and earth.
They rest there, all as one, the silent witnesses of Western Norway's saga of creation: Precambrian basement, phyllite and thrust sheet. In the end came the glaciers and sculptured the vast landscape. Along the ground or on the horizon, from bicycle or on foot - the landscape tells its story - and it tells it clearer on Rallarvegen than many other places.
The ice cap that covered the land during each of the 40 past ice ages over the past 2 million years of Earth's history pressed down the crust of the earth - like a finger on a rubber ball. And when the ice finally loosened its grip 11,000 years ago, the earth's crust rose again, most where the ice was thickest, least where it was thin, quickly in the beginning, and later more slowly. To this day, the land in the inner part of Norway continues to rise by perhaps one millimetre per year. By and large, however, the crust in Hordaland has again reached equilibrium after the weight of the ice was removed.
Down by the fjord on the farm Berge in Tørvikbygd, is Stekkavika – a sheltered eastward facing harbour, protected against the fjord by headlands and rocks, even manifest in the name. Here is also a comprehensive milieu of coastal industry, with boathouses and sea-sheds that belong to the farms Berge, Heradstveit and Halleråker. Belonging to the farm Berge there is also a mill-house, circular saw, workshop for sloop building, and – a little further up into the woods – the old water-powered sash-saw.
From his loft window on the doctor’s farm at Tangarås the young Hans Ernst Kinck had a view of the fjord and the Mauranger mountains. The fjord settlements in West Norway made a strong impression on the young boy when his family moved from Setesdal, from “the stifling mystique of the ballad”, to Strandebarm in 1876. The new district doctor bought the old captain’s farm at Tangarås, which had for some time been a military head farm after Håbrekke further into the settlement.
Through Adolph Tidemand’s detailed close-ups of smokehouses in Kvam, the vicarage in Vikøy, where he lived during his painting trips through Hardanger, has obtained a central position in the Norwegian national romanticism.