– A magical and atmospheric Viking adventure

The artists who play at Horg Culture House are displayed on the wall of fame. Photo: Maren Sandbakk

It all started as a joke in a small wood shed in Lunde, but rumors of the world’s smallest culture house have spread in music circles. In just one year, Horg Kulturhus (culture house) has gained a solid fanbase, and several artists contact Helge Strand asking him if they can come and play their music in the intimate and special venue.
– I like to make things happen, he says.

After the official opening with an art exhibition on October 6th last year, Tove Bøygard, Stig Ulv, Caroline Bonnet, Randi Tytingvåg Trio and Enok Amrani have played at Horg Kulturhus. In addition, Theater Fabel has played the performances Voluspa’ and Master Jakel.

-I’ve always been going to a lot of concerts. We lived in Bergen for 20 years, and there it was a concert almost every weekend. So when you come here, you miss it. Then I had to create it myself, says Strand about how Horg Kulturhus was created.
The word “horg” is a Norse word for a gathering place. The choice of name stems from the desire to create a meeting place for people in Lunde.
-There is a need for people to come out and meet each other. I think this place helps to fill this need, he says.

The concept is to give people a cultural and musical experience, preferably in Norwegian, performed in a small and intimate space. With room for only 20 guests the music experience becomes special, close and intense.
-I sit here and smile by myself every time there is a concert. There has been a real feel-good atmosphere at all the concerts up until now. People who go to a lot of shows actually say it is the greatest they have ever experienced. Getting that feedback from people who have been to maybe 300 concerts in their lives, and then they say this is the best !!! says Helge Strand happily.

Screenshot from Instagram

In addition to creating his own concert experiences, Strand is committed to supporting other cultural actors. That’s why he started the tradition “Horg drar på bortekamp” (“Horg goes away”), where he and guests from Horg Kulturhus travel and see the artists who have played in Lunde at other concert venues.

The aim for next year is six new concerts. The first two artists have already been published; in May 2020 Tom Roger Aadland and Ottar Kåsa play the first two concerts at Horg.
-I get a lot of positive feedback from people in Lunde who think it’s cool that something is happening and that it’s a little different. Because there aren’t many places like this around, Strand says.

Hege Strand presents one of the first artists to play at Horg in May 2020. Photo: Private

I am so lucky!!!!! Yesterday I played in the soulful and very special Horg culture house in Lunde. That house is like going into a magical and atmospheric Viking adventure, with Culture House managers Helge Strand and Berit Reknes welcoming you with open arms and warm cheeks, thank you very much for everything you do for people and culture! And the nicest crowd, with their heart on their sleeves.”

– Artist Tove Bøygard on Instagram after playing at Horg Culture House

Breakfast and business

Project Manager Marit Svalastog informs representatives from different businesses in Central Telemark about the CUPIDO project. All photos: Maren Sandbakk

In the KRAFT project in Nome we work, among other things, to link companies together, because we know that collaboration between different actors can lead to completely new ideas and products, and that through collaboration we can strengthen each other. The project will look at culture and heritage as a driving force for increased business development, but that does not mean that other companies have nothing to contribute. So-called hard industries (IT, technology etc.) have a completely different view of culture and can contribute with technology into the cultural industry.

Lill and Odd Wollberg from Lerkekåsa vineyard in Gvarv tell about their work.

Therefore, it was important for us in KRAFT to inform about the project at a breakfast meeting for businesses at Aarnes cafeteria, arranged by Midt-Telemark Business Development (MTNU), where we could reach several different players in Nome and the surrounding area. We asked the question “can small, sustainable cultural companies attract young people?” and we asked for input on how we can work together on this.

Business development, more migrants and an attractive place to live and work are several sides of the same issue. Attracting people to live and work in Nome requires a good reputation. That’s why we also took the opportunity to come up with a call to action: Talk nicely to each other! Raise each other, tell customers where to find other great services in Nome and brag about each other. #togetherforNome

Finding Nome – Destination development

On our way into the artist home Villa Lunde. All photos: Maren Sandbakk

Since the University of South-Eastern Norway in Bø is a partner in the CUPIDO project, we have involved the students from the course Destination development this fall. The students will use Nome as a case in their assignments. To find inspiration, we visited two culture businesses who shared their experiences with us.

Elisabeth de Lunde is telling the story of Villa Lunde and what kind of experiences the want to give their guests. The large painting on the wall is one of her works.
What used to be an old garage is now a concert hall and shop, decorated with Elisabeth’s paintings.
The manager of Øvre Verket, Mette Sanden, explains the development they have had the last five years.

Over the past five years, Øvre Verket at Ulefoss has been in a process of restructuring with the aim of becoming a meeting place for the locals. Øvre Verket has both challenges and opportunities, and is working hard to become a full-year concept. The preserved environment with factory worker homes is unique in its kind and forms a strong part of Ulefoss’ cultural history. But how can it be developed into a sustainable year-round concept?

Heidi Elise Kvale is head of the department for Culture, Leisure and Public Health in Nome municipality.

Nome municipality has many challenges, but also great potential for development as a tourist destination. The head of Culture, Leisure and Public Health in Nome Municipality, Heidi Elise Kvale, discusses the challenges and opportunities in Nome, which must be taken into account when designing concepts for development of Nome as a destination.

The students are testing Øvre Verket in Ulefoss.

Destination development – we have got students!

Ready for destination development! Photo: Maren Sandbakk

Three of the partners in the CUPIDO project are universities: the University of St Andrews in the United Kingdom, the University of applied sciences HOWEST in Belgium, and the University of South-Eastern Norway, campus Bø. Their task is to contribute to research on business development in rural areas.

The bachelor’s degree in International marketing and tourism contains the subject of Destination Development, where students will learn about sustainable destination development. Throughout the fall, students will use Nome as a case study for the assignments. Can they come up with new business ideas related to culture and heritage? Do they have ideas for new products and concepts based on Nome’s DNA? Do they have ideas for which companies and players can collaborate?

A taste of culture and cultiral heritage in Nome. Photo: Anne Gry Sturød

Musical magic along the Telemark Canal

A different stage for opera singer Emil Solli-Tangen from Porsgrunn. All photos: Maren Sandbakk

Our aim with the CUPIDO project is, among other things, to strengthen the existing companies in Nome. A key word here is collaboration – can new concepts and products be born when different players come together? The answer is YES!

An excellent example of this is the meeting between Villa Lunde; the artist home of painter Elisabeth de Lunde and opera singer Jakob Zethner in Lunde, and the traditional canal boats that carry many thousand passengers up and down the Telemark Canal every summer. The result was two musical cruises, from Ulefoss to Skien, and a truly unique way to experience the landscape and the canal. Imagine sitting on the deck in the August sun from blue sky, experiencing cultural heritage and cultural landscapes while listening to classical tones!

– We want to make this a permanent tradition every summer, says Janne Lindgren, head of the canal boats M / S Victoria and M / S Henrik Ibsen. The first concert was called “Showboat” where Hilde Norland Gundersen, Andreas Hoff and Jakob Zethner along with chaplain Espen Gundersen sang gems from the musicals “Showboat” and “The Phantom of the Opera”.

Emil Solli Tangen (t.v.) og Magnus Dorholt Kjeldal singing a duet.

The Sunday after, where the pictures in this post are taken, the concert got a more classic feel.
– It was more fun than I thought, says opera singer Emil Solli Tangen from Porsgrunn, who along with opera singer Magnus Dorholt Kjeldal from Lunde and pianist Dorina Komani sang classical gems from opera and operetta, but also Grieg and Erik Bye. A somewhat unconventional concert scene gave way to an intimate and close concert experience, which ended with standing applause as the boat sailed in to the dock in Skien.

Magnus Dorholt Kjeldal, Emil Solli Tangen og Dorina Komani.
A little break on the deck for pianist Dorina Komani (far right in blue).

Large speakers outside gave the audience the opportunity to enjoy the concert upstairs – which also brought listeners on land. And the feedback from the audience?
– Fantastic!

What is KRAFT?

Sailing along the famous Telemark canal on M/S Victoria. Photo: Maren Sandbakk

In Norwegian, KRAFT is short for “Culture and Cultural Heritage as a Resource for Work, Profit and Belonging”. It is a three-year Interreg North Sea Region project. The name of the project in the EU is actually CUPIDO, which means “Culture Power: Inspire to Develop Rural Areas”. But here in Norway, people associate the name CUPIDO with something completely different (it is the name of an erotic magazine), so to avoid confusion we translated it to KRAFT.

In other words, KRAFT is about using local culture and heritage – the site’s DNA – to create jobs and a viable society that people will live in and can be proud of.

There is a trend around the world that cities are magnets of expertise and social opportunities. The participating regions in CUPIDO share a common challenge: the young people leave, and the remaining population grow older. Can an active cultural life help create jobs and attractiveness? And can this lead to more people choosing to settle in the countryside? How can we in Nome work toward this? With KRAFT, we want to promote culture as a driving force in local and regional development.

An overarching goal is to develop new business opportunities related to culture and cultural heritage, as well as to strengthen existing businesses.

We are 16 partners in the project; from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Each region will contribute to five new small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during the project period and develop new cultural products. The partners in the project share experiences, learn from each other and contribute to research on business development within culture in rural areas.

The project started in September 2018 and will last until June 2021.

You can download the project application (English) and the project description (Norwegian) below:

Our partners

Nome Municipality og University of South-Eastern Norway participate in the project from Norway.

Our partners in other countries are:

Partners from all countries met in Marstrand, Sweden in June 2019.

Welcome to our blog!

Project manager Marit Svalastog and trainee Maren Sandbakk. Foto: Hege Dorholt

KRAFT is our norwegian translation of the project name CUPIDO – Culture Power: Inspire to Develop Rural Areas. CUPIDO is an Interreg North Sea Region project, lasting from September 2018 till June 2021.

Nome Municipality and the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) are participating in this project along with 14 partners from six other countries around the North Sea. What we have in common is an aging population and lack of jobs. The goal is to lift forward culture as a driver in local & regional development policies and to explore its potential.

We who work on the project in Nome are project manager Marit Svalastog and trainee Maren Sofie Sandbakk. On this blog we will show what we do and who we meet. People who have made things happen, people who want to make things happen, and what happens in the project. Do you or anyone you know have a business idea related to culture? Do you have the idea, but don’t quite know where to start? Do you wish you could work with someone on an idea? Maybe KRAFT can help you along the way.

Follow our project here on our blog, on Facebook and Instagram.

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