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Discover Støtt Top of Helgeland, which once operated as a rustic 19th-century trading outpost that traversed along the shoreline of the northern Helgeland archipelago.  

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Støtt Top of Helgeland, a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide, dates back to 1897.  


Located within the picturesque Helgeland archipelago, the hamlet of Støtt was founded generations ago as a quaint fishing village. Its inhabitants historically supported themselves collecting all kinds of seafood, including halibut, cod, and whale. The shoreline of Støtt was regularly filled with rows of wooden drying racks—known as “hjell” in Norwegian—that used the cold, polar air to preserve the meat. Over time, those dried goods started to attract the attention of mariners who passed the settlement on their way further north into the Vestfjord. Purchasing the town’s available supplies in greater numbers, the sailors subsequently began to treat Støtt as an important waypoint along the route. In fact, a group of locals eventually started operating a trading post within the town called the “Støtt Brygge” by the early 19th century. The shop continued to entertain hundreds of visiting sailors over the following decades, making it an incredibly prosperous business. The store was so successful that its owners were even capable of financing shipments of excess fish to distributors in places far away like Bergen. Then in 1897, members of the Andersen family obtained the trading post and reconstructed it. Watching over the Støtt Brygge for many years thereafter, both residents and visitors alike grew to deeply appreciate the attentive management that the Andersens provided.   

As the regional maritime industry changed during the mid-20th century, so did the needs of those who arrived at the trading post. The demand for dried goods had ultimately gone into an irreversible decline, prompting the Andersen family to shut down the business and use its attending buildings for other purposes. However, the facility eventually received a new lease on life when a descendant of the Andersen family—Eva Andersen—began resurrecting the historic site in 2012. Traveling to Støtt by train with just her three small children a year prior, Eva initiated an expansive restoration that saw the Støtt Brygge complex brilliantly transformed into a fantastic holiday retreat. The work proved to be an incredible undertaking, requiring the support of multiple heritage organizations scattered throughout Norway. But the construction nonetheless succeeded in crafting an amazing vacation facility that also preserved the wonderful history of the location. Since the official debut of the revitalized Støtt Brygge—now rebranded as “STØTT -Top of Helgeland”—this unique historic hotel has given visitors a memorable experience deeply rooted in the area’s fascinating culture. Central to this success has been the continued guidance of Eva Andersen and her family, who remain deeply committed toward protecting the site’s special heritage. 

  • About the Location +

    Støtt and the surrounding Helgeland archipelago are located within the historic region of Northern Norway. One of the country’s five special cultural areas, Northern Norway was first inhabited millennia ago by the indigenous Sami people. Initially settling within the region’s densely mountainous wilderness, the Sami founded a myriad of isolated communities that specialized in raising reindeer. However, other Sami gradually moved toward the coast of Northern Norway, establishing a rich network of fishing villages and familial farms. Together, the Sami eventually created a unique cultural identity that distinguished them from the neighboring Norwegians located further south near the Skagerrak strait. Indeed, the native Sami wore different clothing styles and spoke a separate language that had more in common with Eastern European dialects. In fact, the rustic, remote lifestyle of the Sami helped preserve their distinctive culture for generations! The population of Northern Norway remained largely confined to the Sami, although some disparate bands of Norwegians began founding their own communities across the region during the Middle Ages. Their towns were typically small, too, and were largely confined to the headwaters of the area’s numerous fjords. Over time though, those settlements coalesced into a loose confederation of tribal chiefdoms referred to as the “Hålogaland” in various historical accounts. (The general area of the Hålogaland essentially constituted the current borders of modern Norway’s Nordland County, which is home to Støtt village.) 

    The chiefdoms of the Hålogaland developed impressive reputations for their warriors and seafarers, especially once the Viking Age dawned throughout Scandinavia in the 9th century. Like other Norwegians further to the south, the Norwegians of the Hålogaland formed fleets of slim, single-mast vessels known as the “Scandinavian longship.” The boats enabled the Northern Norwegians to navigate the dense waters of the North Atlantic, reaching locations as far away as Great Britain and even Iceland. One of the most noteworthy sailors to emerge at the time was Ohthere of Hålogaland, who had famously traveled all around Europe. Perhaps his greatest journey involved an arduous trip to the Artic Circle that ultimately ended in the White Sea and Kola Peninsula. But the Hålogaland also experienced a fair amount of isolation, which instilled a fierce sense of independence among its people. This perspective often brought the Hålogaland into periodic conflicts with the rest of Norway. In the 11th century, for instance, the leading chiefs of the Hålogaland had ardently resisted the final attempts to unify Norway under one monarch. They ultimately staged an ill-fated revolt that nonetheless succeeded in slaying a Norwegian king in battle, Olaf II Haraldsson. Some historical sources even allege his death came at the hands of Thorir Hund, one of the Hålogaland’s most powerful and iconic Viking chiefs. 
    In the years following Europe’s medieval era, the most northern parts of Norway—called the “Finnmark”—were gradually obtained through various wars with Sweden and Russia. Meanwhile, the people of the region prospered, mainly through the proliferation of the local fishing industry. Cod fisheries in particular flourished during the Early Modern period, with their various dried goods sold to Hanesatic merchants headquartered in Bergen. But this prosperity was not destined to last forever, as monopolistic mercantile policies reduced prices in the 18th century. Even though the region’s fishing industry would rebound after the Napoleonic Wars, other trades—such as shipbuilding and mining—became more dominant in Northern Norway. The newfound economic activity subsequently inspired more Norwegian immigration into Northern Norway, which lasted well into the 20th century. Northern Norway today has since remained one of the nation’s most culturally vibrant destinations. This spectacular region has been particularly celebrated for its wealth of fantastic natural landmarks, like the Nordkapp, the Lofoten, and the UNESCO-recognized Vegaøyan. (Northern Norway itself is a fantastic place to witness the aurora borealis, otherwise known as the “northern lights.”) Contemporary travelers have also enjoyed experiencing the historic Sami heritage in towns like Karasjok and Kautokeino. Some communities are even the site of engaging Sami cultural productions ranging from museums to festivals!  

  • About the Architecture +

    Støtt Top of Helgeland today stands as a terrific example of Norwegian vernacular architecture. Norwegian vernacular building themes—referred to colloquially as “byggeskikk”—specifically drew inspiration from generational construction techniques that harkened back centuries. Until the onset of the 20th century, most structures throughout Norway were agricultural in nature. They typically resided deep in the wilderness and made use of whatever resources were available. Norwegian families thus developed hardy log cabins that were tightly latched together with corner notches to protect against the elements. Those houses also featured rustic architectural designs inside, including open-hearth fireplaces and stone chimneys. However, a few communal structures spawned more eloquent designs, such as the iconic medieval “stave church.” Stave churches were typically designed using a type of wooden timber framing known as “post and lintel” construction, in which widely spaced vertical posts supported horizontal ones. Steeply pitched roofs reinforced by several intricately laid beams further characterized the overall design of the stave churches. Prominent dormers and steeple towers occasionally crowned the structures, too, in a manner reminiscent of more conventional Romanesque-style churches seen elsewhere throughout Europe. Great portals even guided visitors into the interior, which instilled a sense of awe with a variety of rich ornamentation connected to Norse iconography and the local alpine landscape. Some of the symbols employed drew upon ancient motifs centered around dragons and serpents. (Perhaps the greatest example of a surviving Norwegian stave church is the UNESCO-recognized Urnes Stave Church.)   

  • Film, TV and Media Connections +

    People of the North (2023)