In the early 1600s many Finns moved to the area around the Swedish-Norwegian border. They settled in the forests and lived off slash-and-burn agriculture. Tracts of the forest were cut down and then burned, and rye was sown in the ashes. The fields could only be cultivated for a few years, so new areas were continually being cut and burned. This way of farming eventually came into conflict with the Norwegian farmers' use of  the forest and outlying wilderness. During the 1700s the Finns gradually gave up slash-and-burn farming practices, but they held on to their special customs and architectural traditions. In addition to the border area, Finns also settled in other forested areas as far west as Buskerud.

Finnskogen 1957. Photo: Gunnar Vold

Finnish Immigrant House, Ampiansbråten, Kolbjørnsrud, Vinger, ca. 1800

The house is similar to Norwegian three room houses, but the antechamber here is narrower. A large smoke stove of  cemented stone dominates the living room. This type of stove differs from the west Norwegian røykovn; it is much bigger and only needed to be lighted once a day. A hollowed tree trunk acts as a flue, leading the smoke through the ceiling and out the smoke vent in the roof. One side of the stove is covered with panel and against this wall stood the bed. The kitchen also had a fireplace. The use of the log flue is one of many indications that the builders of the house came from eastern Finland, from Savolaks, and had a Karelian background.

The House at Ampiansbråten at original location. 1926.Two Finnish brothers, Mattis and Johan, came to Vinger with their families in 1681, and leased part of Kolbjørnsrud farm. In 1700 the farm changed hands and each brother was able to have his own holding instead; Mattis leased Hammer and Johan leased Ampianstorpet. Five generations of Johan's descendants lived at Ampianstorpet. The last was Guttorm Johannessen who died in 1900.


Shoes made of birck bark from Finnskogen.