Some common Norwegian words in the narratives
bnr. (bruksnummer) farm number
bruk(et) (the) single farm
bustadhus private dwelling
gard(en) (the) farm, group of farms
hus house, building
husmannsplass cotter´s farm
mot nord, sør, aust, vest towards the north, south, east, west
klyngjetun(et) (the) cluster of farm houses and outbuildings belonging to two or more farms
sett [...] frå viewed [...] from
tun(et) (the) cluster of houses and outbuildings, courtyard
In this section of Vikjavev.com I have gathered photographs of several farms in Vik.
The aim is - besides the project itself - to try to show how the farms and agricultural landscape in Vik really look -
perhaps especially dedicated to Norse-Americans with roots in Vik. I have used maps and overview pictures and
partly 360º panorama pictures to show how the farms are located in the topography, and
photographs from different angles to show how the houses and outbuildings are situated.
Many of the pictures are shot with a powerful zoom-lens from a nearby mountain,
which gives them an aerial-photo-like look. On the photos I have blurred houses that do not belong
to the specified farm.
Farm vs. single farm
The term 'farm' may be confusing in this setting, in English as it is in Norwegian. In Norwegian
gard can mean both a small group of farms bearing one name, like Hønsi, Hove and Orvedal and
all the other farms on the menu to the left, or
it can mean one single farm within such a group. The terms namnegard 'name farm' or matrikkelgard
'listed farm' is used exclusively for groups of farms bearing one name, while bruk
exclusively means one single farm. The origin of this confusion is explained below.
Houses and house clusters
Today's overall picture with farms and private dwellings distributed evenly over the cultural
landscape differs greatly from the situation 200-150 years ago. At that time the houses were
much smaller and fewer, furthermore the houses and outbuildings of neighbouring farms were gathered in klyngjetun,
house clusters. The background for this is that each 'name farm', like Hønsi, Hove, Orvedal etc.
originally was one single farm. Over the generations, this farm was divided repeatedly between
siblings, so that for example Hønsi, which was one farm in the 16th century, in the 19th century
was divided into six single farms or bruk. When two siblings divided the farm between them, maybe one of them
built a new house while they continued sharing the outbuildings. Over the years they
built their own outbuildings by the other houses, and eventually the farms were totally
separated. Another unfortunate situation that emerged during the centuries, was teigblanding, the
mixing of small pieces of land belonging to different single farms. When a farm was
divided, it would not be fair
if one of the sons got a productive piece of land suitable for grain cultivating, while the
other got a poor piece of land 500 m above sea level. Therefore, each piece of land was divided evenly.
Eventually over the generations, the farmlands of Vik consisted of thousands of minute fields. The
same situation is known today for example in the Andes. To break out of this ineffective system,
the farmers of each 'name farm' organised jordskifte, shifting of land, during the late 19th
century. Each single farm now got fewer and larger fields, and the farmers moved their houses
out of the house clusters to settle on their own land.
The spelling of the farm names may differ somewhat from what is usual in surnames, especially in
American surnames. The American surnames are generally based upon older danish orthography as
danish was the official language in Norway at the time most people emigrated. However,
on this website the official modern spelling is used, based upon the way the place names are
traditionally pronounced in our Norwegian dialect.