Hamn i Senja
From being an active fishing village for generations, Hamn in Senja is now a fairy tale of a holiday centre. Surrounded by spectacular landscapes, it has become an attractive destination on the west coast of Norway’s second largest island and draws visitors from all over the world.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: Reiner Schaufler
Here at 69.4° north, which is above the Arctic circle, guests can see the northern lights in the winter and the midnight sun in the summer. Senja is like a miniature Norway with idyllic lakes, waterfalls, rolling hills and dramatic mountains. Perfect for a walk, fishing or paddling in turquoise mountain lakes and enjoying lazy summer days on long, white beaches. Some are also attracted by the island’s good conditions for paragliding and base jumping.
Hamn in Senja is in one of the richest fishing waters in the world. The name Hamn means port, and Hamn has indeed been a safe haven for many fishermen for hundreds of years. The enterprising merchant Adolf Lund bought Hamn in 1896 and provide a fishing dock, steam ship quay, general store, bakery, fish oil facilities, ice house, boat houses, barn and a courthouse with guest rooms. But Hamns history isn’t just about fishing, because in 1869 nickel ore was found in Hamn, and led to a hectic 14 year period of mining in the area. In 1876 a total of 650 people lived at the nickel works, which were considered one of the biggest and most modern in the land.
From fishing village to holiday centre
Fishing at Svennsgrunn increased immensely towards the end of the 1890s. Hamn became an important hub for this fishing, and in 1906 a 63 metre long pier was built to protect the harbour. After Adolf Lund many others ran businesses and fisheries here, and in the 1920s Hamn had become one of Norway’s biggest fisheries. However in 1990 Hamn stopped being an active fishing port. The site was bought, restored and opened again in 1994 as a holiday and conference centre, owned and run by the Fredriksen family. After a tragic fire in 2005 the site was rebuilt, and after the reopening in 2008 Hamn has again established its position as one of Norway’s most attractive destinations.
The site has 29 comfortable apartments with a total of 65 rooms. Guests can book rooms within each flat, or small or large suites depending on the size of the group.
In Hamn there is also an eatery, conference and meeting facilities and function rooms. The Cognac salon is a lounge unlike anything else in Hamn, bringing you back to the 1880s with its period interior. The bar in the salon is happy to serve something delicious for afternoon tea, and is perfect for a good conversation, a cup of coffee or of course a nice cognac. The lighthouse has a wonderful panoramic view of the midnight sun, northern lights and the ever changing moods of the weather. The Storbrygga Spiseri restaurant is in what used to be the fish cleaning room when it was a fishery, and has magnificent views of the harbour basin and majestic Sukkertoppen mountain. The kitchen often serves regional seafood and traditional dishes in fantastic surroundings, depending on the season and availability.
Hamn in Senja has a sauna and gym, but also an outdoor hot tub with a very special twist. The hosts bought a genuine fishing boat, and instead of launching it and keeping the water on the outside, they made it a tub with water on the inside. Undoubtedly the world’s first combined outdoor tub and fishing vessel! Not just a unique concept, but also a unique and fun experience. The tub fits up to 15 people, and no matter the season or weather the heated water will ensure a relaxing and wonderful feeling of well-being. After the bath you are only a few metres from the sauna – or the Atlantic Ocean, if you prefer. Out by the historic nickel mining site there is a lavvo or Sami tent which is available to groups, and where the guests can enjoy a good meal while they listen to the story of Hamn, the local area and Senja. Great for teambuilding activities or as a base for watching “Lady Aurora” dancing across the sky.
Whether you choose winter, with snow and Arctic winter light, or summer, with bright nights under the midnight sun – Hamn in Senja is a place you will long to go back to.