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Norway Hidden History: Famous Norwegian playwright, famous hotel

Oslo’s Grand Hotel & Henrik Ibsen. Storting entrance at right.
Hidden Norwegian History…
This famous Norwegian playwright is linked to this landmark hotel

Hint: Clearly, the hotel is far larger than a Doll’s House.

Are they:

  • Roald Amundsen and the Baked Alaska served at Hotell Bondeheimen.
  • Edvard Greig and the Peer Gynt Suite at the Hotel Continental.
  • Fridtjof Nansen and the stunning views from Aker Brygge.
  • ♫Henrik Ibsen and afternoon coffee in Oslo’s Grand Hotel.

At left, Grand Hotel Oslo, a landmark gathering place for many decades.  At right, Henrik Ibsen, the internationally honored Norwegian playwrite and author, in 1898.

The Fladvads were proud of Ibsen and were very familiar with his work.  Marie had several photographs of him, including this one which she probably acquired during her 1898 visit to see her parents in Christiania.

Flavors of the Fjords explains Marie Fladvad’s empathy with Ibsen, particularly with Nora in A Doll’s House.   “Ibsen, like Wagner and Manet, has lived down his commentators,” H.L. Mencken wrote, “and is now ready to be examined and enjoyed for what he actually was, namely, a first-rate journeyman dramatist, perhaps the best that ever lived.”  One of the “Ideas” Ibsen had, Mencken pointed out, was that it is “unpleasant and degrading for a wife to be treated as a mere mistress and empty-head.”

The Grand Hotel in Oslo, Norway.  Ibsen was often seen in its Grand Cafe after his return to Christiania in 1891.  He could be found there from precisely 1.20 pm-2 pm and 6 pm-7.30pm each day.

Occasionally, Marie and her friends would see him there when they went in for frokost.  Of course, they saw his plays when they were presented at the nearby National Theater.

The Grand Hotel Cafe was the favored watering hole for a generation of Norwegian artists.  Edvard Munch painted Ibsen sitting by the window with a newspaper.  The Cafe closed for extensive renovations in 2015.  It has reopened.

The entrance to the Storting, Norway’s Parliament, is seen at right.

Why you should savor Flavors 2018 ePub Edition

“Flavors of the Fjords” is a combination of cookbook and family history assembled by the Fladvad and Bjørke family. The book may be the most detailed history of a Norwegian-American family yet published, and it serves as a model of what many Norwegian-American families could do to preserve knowledge of their past and the stories of their ancestors’ immigration.”
News of Norway, Norwegian Embassy, Washington, D. C.

  • Flavors of the Fjords is the largest, most comprehensive history of any Norwegian-American family yet prepared, including authentic, traditional holiday recipes, travels, photographs, and correspondence, over 400 pages (depending on browser used).
  • Explore and Celebrate Norway’s history, culture, and breathtaking beauty.
  • Follow the Fladvad and Bjørke family through over 400 years of illustrated history and documented survival. “…the most detailed history of a Norwegian-American family yet published…”
  • Family history is interwoven with fascinating images of Norwegian “must-see” locations such as Maihaugen, Slottet, Storting, Sunndal and social history, including explanations of Norwegian Holiday traditions and customs, many of them kept alive to this day by millions of Norwegian-American families.
  • Share and understand the Norwegian-American Experience from Norway-to-Newport–See the other side of Newport’s Gilded Age through the history and struggles of the Cottrell family.
  • Recreate the aromas of your Bestemor’s kitchen at Christmas, National Day, or other holidays, with over 100 authentic, traditional Norwegian cakes and cookies.  “History has never tasted so good!”
  • Recipes for over 100 holiday cookies, cakes and breads, toppings, and puddings.
  • Includes a 1,800-word Norwegian-English glossary, with useful terms for foods and cooking, but also family, kinship, home, and utensils. The Glossary is the first designed specifically to help readers wishing to translate their family Norwegian recipes.
  • Numerous links to authoritative external sites provide quick, convenient additional information for e-Publication readers.
  • Flavors includes rare letters and photographs from family members describing the trials of life in German-occupied Norway during World War II.
  • Recipes are really interesting and fun to read. The Authors have included copious notes on Norway, its people, and its cooking. In addition, many of the recipes pages include period photographs of family members who were connected with the recipe.




The Fladvad and Bjørke Families

 Oline Bjørke’s family was from Furnes, about six miles north of Hamar and about 30 miles south of Lillehammer, the site of the 1994 Winter Olympic games.
Oline Bjørke’s family was from Furnes, about six miles north of Hamar and about 30 miles south of Lillehammer, the site of the 1994 Winter Olympic games.

Marie Theresa Fladvad emigrated from Christiania (Oslo), Norway to the United States in 1895. She left behind in Oslo, her father Tron Fladvad and mother, Oline Bjørke Fladvad, plus several sisters and brothers. Settling in Newport, Rhode Island, she soon married and began a new life. The Fladvad and Bjørke families from which she came have been established in Norway since before written records were kept. This is their story.
To better understand and appreciate the history of these two old Norwegian families—the Fladvads and the Bjørkes—we will begin with a brief overview of the historical background and the circumstances in which they lived.

Tron’s family had lived on three neighboring farms in Western Norway near Sunndalsøra for several hundred years. Oline Bjørke’s family was from Furnes, about six miles north of Hamar and about 30 miles south of Lillehammer, the site of the 1994 Winter Olympic games.

In many important respects, these two families and the land which they farmed represented the majority of Norwegians who emigrated to the United States. By following their story in so far as possible, we get a much better understanding of these families and times in which they lived.

The following is a broad outline and summary of Norway’s history and events—including some interesting information explaining different systems of taxation, weights, and money.

Throughout these posts we will mention historical events ranging from military actions to changing customs, in Norway, Scandinavia, America, and elsewhere. We have added these to provide perspective and comparison between events at the farms and in Norway with trends, developments, and changes taking place around the world.

Fladvad Brunsvika estate in Kristiansund is sold after 153 years

Bjørn Fladvad
Bjørn Fladvad

Flavor’s author Bjørn Fladvad recently provided an important update to the ongoing story of the Fladvad family, one of Norway’s oldest families.

One branch in Nordmor has maintained its ancestral home and properties for over 400 years. Another branch, with deep roots in Kristiansund, has maintained its home at the estate Brunsvika for 153 years. Clearly, the Fladvad Family has deep roots with branches of the family tending to keep homes and property for long periods of time.

Bjørn provided the background to help readers put the Fladvad/Brunsvika estate into historical context.

“Trond Fladvad (1831) , father of Marie Fladvad Cottrell, had three brothers and three sisters,” Bjørn explained.

Endre took over the farm (in Sunndal, near Sunndalsøra).

Ivar was a goldsmith who immigrated to Østersund in Sweden and married Maria Johanna Bergmann, 20 years younger.  Ivar and Maria are the ancestors of a large family in Sweden.

Bjørn’s research included correspondence with other family members, including Lars Fladvad (Swedish), in 2004. Based on this information, we now have a better picture of Ivar Olsen Fladvad, nicknamed the “Gammelnorsken” (The Old Norwegian). There seems to be a connection between his nickname and the fact that age 35 he married a much younger girl, aged 20.

Ivar studied at Klebo school in 1854-55, learning to be a church singer. He also took a position as a teacher at Romfo elementary school. However, after four years he taught himself to be a goldsmith and watchmaker.

Family stories suggest that Ivar after an unhappy romance determined to leave Norway. Together with a friend he walked to Ragunda, Sweden in 1860, where they established a gold- and watch-shop.

After about five years he left the shop and from 1865 – 67 educated himself at an agricultural school. At age 35 he started dating Maria Berman. He was considered old by her family and soon acquired the nickname “Gammelnorsken.” Eventually they married in 1969. They would have nine children. Some of them died very young.

Ivar took a position as manager at a farm and had an annual income of 1000 riksdaler which was considered as high income.  Ivar was considered as a generous person.  In 1869 he gave two riksdaler to the warship Småland, and a poor grandmother got one riksdaler. He spent 6.25 riksdaler on Christmas gifts, and in January 1869, he spent 9 riksdaller for the wedding. His relatively high income also allowed him to buy things for himself and his household which were not obtainable for most people at that time.

In 1872 the family moved to Bodsjø where he took the posiition as forrest inspector with the company “Skønvik AB.” He worked for them for 32 years, until he retired in 1904.

Ole (b. 1827) was deeply religious and belonged to the religious movement “Haugianerne.”

Estate Brunsvika in Kristiansund.
Estate Brunsvika in Kristiansund.

There were many at that time who considered the Church of Norway to be too formal and lacking in what we might today consider evangelical spirit. As a result of the advocacy and lay preaching (forbidden at the time) of Hans Nielsen Hauge, a democratic folk movement was launched and more of the rural population became interested in politics. Understandably, tensions between the common folk and the more privileged classes rose. The movement was also recognized in Norwegian drama and music. A character in Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (Solveig) is a member of a Haugean family. And, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson presented his heroin “Synnøve Solbakken” as a Haugean. The Haugean movement influenced Lutheranism in America, with several new synods being established.

“Ole Flatvad moved to Kristiansund in 1860, perhaps because he had met Marie Evensdatter Ødegaard, whom he married in October 1860.  Ole bought the estate Brunsviken in 1860 for 4000 kroner, and soon became a prominent member of the Haugianer-movement in Kristiansund. Sadly, Marie died soon after in 1864.”

The Germans occupied Brunsvika during WWII. Expecting an Allied invasion that never happened, they built this “pillbox” on the adjoining lot in Kristiansund.
The Germans occupied Brunsvika during WWII. Expecting an Allied invasion that never happened, they built this “pillbox” on the adjoining lot in Kristiansund.

“After losing his wife, Ole travelled throughout nearby districts districts bringing the religious message from Hans Nielsen Hauge to the people. Meanwhile, after his sister, Anne, had been widowed, she and her two children moved to Brunsvika and took over the household.”

“On one of his evangelical journeys Ole became ill. He spent some time on a farm where he was cared for by the daughter of the farms owner, Marit Olsdatter Resell. They were married in 1867 and had 9 children together.  The estate Brunsviken has remained in the family until now,” Bjørn explained.

One of Ole’s great granddaughters, Astrid Mollan of Kristiansund recently advised Bjørn that the estate Brunsviken which had been in that family for 153 years has been sold. Further, she is writing an article about Brunsvika and the Fladvad family that is planned for publication in the annual report of the Nordmøre Historielag (Historical Association of Northern Møre County).

© Copyright 2015 BelleAire Press, LLC



Kransekake or Crown Cake, is Norway's most famous cake. It consists of concentric rings of almond paste dough decorated with Norwegian flags and drizzled with vanilla cream icing.
Kransekake or Crown Cake, is Norway’s most famous cake. It consists of concentric rings of almond paste dough decorated with Norwegian flags and drizzled with vanilla cream icing.
Sample Glossary entries from Flavors of the Fjords

abbor – Perch

absint – Absinthe

aftens – Evening meal

agurk – Cucumber

agurksalat – Cucumber Salad

aftensmat – Evening meal, usually 8-9 p.m.

altfor velernært – Overfed

alminnelig brød – Light rye bread

ål -Eel

ananas – Pineapple

ananassaft – Pineapple juice

and – Duck

andestek – Roast duck

anis – Anise or anise seed

ansjos – Anchovies

antikvitetshandel – Antique shop or store

åpner – Opener

appelsin – Orange

appelsinmarmelade – Orange marmalade

appelsinsaft – Orange Juice

appetitt -Appetite

appetittvekker – Appetizer

aprikos – Apricot

aquavit – Akavit

årfugl – Woodcock

årestue – Traditional log house with an open hearth. A smoke vent in the roof allowed smoke and bad air to escape

artisjokkbunn – Artichoke heart

arvesølv – Family silver or silver heirlooms

arvestykke – Heirloom

aske, oske – Ashes

asparges – Asparagus

att til – Alongside; Drikke øl att til maten, drink beer with one’s food; Spise brød att til kjøttet, eat bread with one’s meat

aure – Trout

avokado (pære) – Avocado

avkjølet – Cooled

avlang vannbakkels med vaniljekremfyll og sjoko-ladeovertrekk – Éclair

avlange former – Oblong baking form or pan

avling – Harvest or the crop

avrime – Defrost

avrunde – Round off